Professor Trevor Lamb, Eccles Institute of Neuroscience, The John Curtin School of Medical Research, The Australian National University
Our sense of vision is initiated by electrical responses in the rod and cone photoreceptors of the retina lining the interior surface of our eye. The underlying mechanisms that give rise to this process of ‘phototransduction’ are now well-understood at a molecular level, and rely on a variant of classical G-protein cascade signalling. The seminar will begin with an introduction to rods and cones, and a description of our current understanding of the molecular mechanisms of phototransduction. Cones mediate daylight vision, whereas rods mediate night-time vision, and interestingly these two classes of closely-related cells express completely different isoforms for most of the protein components of the cascade. How this came about, as well as how the ancestral phototransduction cascade evolved, will be addressed by presenting the results of an investigation into the molecular phylogenetics of the genes for phototransduction.
Trevor’s first degree was in electronic engineering at Melbourne. In 1971 he moved to Cambridge to do a PhD in neuroscience, and he remained there in the Department of Physiology for 31 years, before coming to JCSMR in 2003. Although he took early retirement in 2011, he continues his research on photoreceptors, with a particular interest in their evolution.