A retinal origin of infantile nystagmus
A position for a Master student is available in the retinal signal processing group.
Vision is our main sensory input, on which we depend strongly in our daily lives. When vision is malfunctioning, the quality of life reduces enormously. One important aspect of vision is the control of eye movements by the oculomotor system. If this system malfunctions, nystagmus (oscillating small amplitude eye movements) occur and vision will be strongly impaired. Finding the cause of the nystagmus is therefore not only of high scientific interest but also of great clinical and societal relevance.
A new ambitious collaborative project of the Kamermans and the De Zeeuw labs studies the cause of nystagmus and the related reduced visual acuity. We recently showed that infantile nystagmus has a retinal origin (Winkelman et al., Plos Biology, 2019; www.kamermans.net/nystagmus.mp4). This discovery led to a paradigm shift in the field. What we do not know is how nystagmus develops, what the cause is of the reduced visual acuity and how we can cure nystagmus and the visual acuity loss. To fill this gap we will use mouse models where we can genetically manipulate the retinal mechanism inducing infantile nystagmus. We will measure eye-movements, neuronal activity in the retina and the brain in various developmental stages and use behavioral test to determine the visual acuity of the mice.