The vision science community at UC Berkeley has a long and distinguished history, having contributed many seminal discoveries in the fields of visual system development, physiology, psychophysics, and pathology. UC Berkeley vision scientists come from many academic disciplines, increasing our understanding of vision at many different levels. Our group consists of 20 CORE investigators, ranging in expertise and interest from molecular mechanisms of synaptic function to human visual perception. We request continued support for our CORE grant to ensure further success in vision research through shared resources and services. We seek funding for four modules which will support current faculty and attract new faculty to investigate the visual system. The modules are:: (1) Gene Delivery (Xiaohua Gong &John Flannery, co-directors), designed to provide molecular biology expertise and support in the use of viral vectors for delivering genes into tissues of the visual system and for creating transgenic animal models of ocular disease. (2) Microscopic Imaging (Maria Feller, director), which will apply and develop advanced imaging methods for vision research - facilitating the use of shared-access microscopes on the Berkeley Campus and customizing microscopes in the labs of participating investigators. (3) Software Development (Marty Banks, director), which will provide custom software solutions for shared use by visual system investigators using psychophysical and physiological methods. (4) Translational Research, to promote translation of scientific knowledge into clinical applications by supporting design, data collection, and data analysis of experiments involving human subjects. To build on our current strengths, the UC Berkeley Depts. of Molecular &Cell Biology, Psychology, Optometry, and the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute have all targeted vision research as a priority area for new faculty hiring. Further demonstrating their commitment, these administrative groups and the University Administration have committed to collectively provide resources equivalent to $800,000 over the next 5 years to support the Vision Science CORE.
The research activities supported by the Vision Science CORE grant are critical for advancing our understanding of the basic mechanisms of vision, and remain essential for our long-term goal of understanding, treating, and ultimately curing visual disorders.
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