Reyna I. Martinez-De Luna, PhD
Retinal Ganglion Cell Development and Connectivity
The goal of the Martínez-De Luna laboratory is to understand the genetic and environmental factors that regulate the development and connectivity of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs). Retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) connect the retina to the brain through their axons that comprise the optic nerve. As such, the loss of RGCs due to injury or disease impairs vision, first locally, and then if completely unchecked results in blindness. Thus, protection of RGCs following injury is critical and a possible long-term therapeutic strategy would be the successful regeneration of RGCs. To achieve regeneration, it is first necessary to have a thorough understanding of the developmental mechanisms regulating RGC formation and maturation. Our research aims to elucidate how laminins, essential components of the milieu of proteins that surround cells, regulate the retinal organization of RGC subtypes and the guidance of their axons to the brain.
Dr. Martínez-De Luna is a Developmental Biologist with postdoctoral training in Retinal Development and Regeneration. She closely collaborates with Dr. William J. Brunken, Professor and Vice Chair of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences and Neuroscience and Physiology at Upstate Medical University, to elucidate the role of the extracellular matrix in retinal ganglion cell development. Dr. Martínez-De Luna’s work has been published in Development, Developmental Biology, Cold Spring Harbor Protocols, and the Journal of Ophthalmic and Vision Research, among others. She is a member of the the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, the American Society for Matrix Biology, Society for Developmental Biology and Society for Neuroscience. Dr. Martínez-De Luna’s work is funded by a Research to Prevent Blindness Career Development Award and a Fight for Sight Grant-in-Aid.