The long-term objectives of my research are to understand the visual signaling function of the retina and to exploit this knowledge for the treatment of blindness. The major goal of the proposed work is to develop techniques for precise, patterned multi-electrode stimulation of the retina, with the purpose of advancing the development of high-resolution retinal prosthetic devices to replace the function of retinas damaged by degeneration.
The specific aims i nvolve (1) evoking electrical activity in the major high-resolution ganglion cell types of the primate retina, as well as several ganglion cell types in the degenerating rat retina, (2) selectively stimulating individual cells to achieve the elementary spatial and temporal resolution of normal visual signals transmitted to the brain while avoiding stimulation of axons, over a range of retinal eccentricities, and (3) evoking spatial and spatiotemporal patterns of activity in populations of ganglion cells that can mimic the complex visual signals normally transmitted to the brain. We will apply our unique technology to simultaneously and independently stimulate and record from many ganglion cells in vitro, using an array of electrodes comparable to but much smaller and denser than those used in current retinal prosthetics. We will exploit this technology to develop new methods for focal and patterned stimulation to mimic visual signals, including development of novel technologies to target the central retina. We will also leverage our experience with the primate retina and the P23H mutant rat model of retinal degeneration to maximize the relevance of the findings for treating blindness. Our vision is that the work will aid the design of the next generation of retinal prosthetic devices to support advanced visual functions such as object recognition and motion sensing in human patients.

Public Health Relevance

The goal of the proposed work is to advance the development of high-resolution retinal prosthetic devices to treat blindness, using electrophysiological recording and stimulation of the primate and degenerating retina in vitro. Our approach leverages a specialized multi-electrode recording and stimulation technology designed to resemble future prosthetic devices, with an emphasis on emulating naturalistic visual signals and interfacing with the parallel pathways for high-resolution vision in primates. This unique approach will further the design of the next generation of retinal prostheses -- devices that can support advanced visual functions such as object recognition and motion sensing in human patients.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institute
National Eye Institute (NEI)
Type
Research Project (R01)
Project #
5R01EY021271-02
Application #
8309927
Study Section
Central Visual Processing Study Section (CVP)
Program Officer
Greenwell, Thomas
Project Start
2011-08-01
Project End
2016-07-31
Budget Start
2012-08-01
Budget End
2013-07-31
Support Year
2
Fiscal Year
2012
Total Cost
$436,252
Indirect Cost
$183,361
Name
Salk Institute for Biological Studies
Department
Type
DUNS #
078731668
City
La Jolla
State
CA
Country
United States
Zip Code
92037
Jepson, Lauren H; Hottowy, Pawe?; Mathieson, Keith et al. (2014) Spatially patterned electrical stimulation to enhance resolution of retinal prostheses. J Neurosci 34:4871-81
Jepson, Lauren H; Hottowy, Pawel; Weiner, Geoffrey A et al. (2014) High-fidelity reproduction of spatiotemporal visual signals for retinal prosthesis. Neuron 83:87-92
Jepson, Lauren H; Hottowy, Pawel; Mathieson, Keith et al. (2013) Focal electrical stimulation of major ganglion cell types in the primate retina for the design of visual prostheses. J Neurosci 33:7194-205