Columbia University has a large and vibrant vision research community supported by the National Eye Institute, with 20 qualifying grants. Vision research at Columbia ranges across a huge gamut of topics, from genetic studies of retinal and visual brain development in Drosophila and mice to epidemiological studies of the behavior of patients with eye disease. Computational, neurophysiological, light and electron microscopic, genetic, biochemical, and clinical techniques focus on a range of problems including the development of the eye and the visual brain, the mechanisms of ocular angiogenesis, the systems neuroscience of visual and oculomotor behavior, and the pathophysiology and treatment of retinal diseases such as macular degeneration. To support this vision research we are requesting the establishment of a National Eye Institute supported set of Core Facilities for Vision Research, to provide services that could not be provided by individual research grants. The proposed core will have three modules: a instrumentation fabrication and design module which will be the successor of a similar module which was funded by an NEI program which cannot be renewed;a computer support module which will include offsite data backup, support and maintenance for the hundreds of computers, including an X-grid cluster, used by the vision research community, and a microscopic imaging module which will provide histological and in vivo and fluorescent microscopy services. This core will also facilitate collaboration among members of the Columbia vision research community, and encourage scientists not currently engaged in vision research to use their expertise to solve problems related to vision.
Vision is a unique process, depending upon both the eye and the brain. This Core Facilities grant will support work on basic and clinical aspects of vision research, from understanding how the eye and the visual brain develop, to the treatment of macular degeneration and the behavior of patients with ocular disease. By providing technical support, this core will enable its investigators to work effectively on problems related to the causes and treatment of blindness.
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