Montana State University

Eye disorders to be discussed during Oct. 23 lecture at MSU

October 12, 2012 -- MSU News Service

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MSU News Service
Tel: (406) 994-4571
msunews@montana.edu
BOZEMAN -- A free public lecture about the biology of vision and its relationship to eye disorders will be given on Tuesday, Oct. 23, at Montana State University.

Jay Neitz, the Bishop Endowed Professor in Ophthalmology at the University of Washington Medical School, will present "Reweaving the Rainbow: Gene Therapy and Its Potential to Treat Vision Disorders" at 4 p.m. in the Procrastinator Theater in the Strand Union Building. A reception will follow in the Leigh Lounge.

Neitz, who is a neuroscientist, will discuss how color vision can be used as a model for understanding how the human brain constructs a representation of the world and how that representation can be changed by modifying an organism's genetic makeup. His research team has discovered how genetic mutations play a part in many of the most common vision problems that affect modern humans, and has successfully added a third type of cone pigment to dichromatic retinas using virally mediated gene transfer. The demonstration that new visual capacities can arise from the addition of a single therapeutic gene provides a positive outlook for the potential of genes to be used to cure vision disorders.

Neitz grew up in Laurel and is an alumnus of MSU.

Neitz's lecture is presented by the Kopriva Science Seminar Series, which is funded through an endowment created by Phil Kopriva, a 1957 microbiology graduate from MSU. Kopriva, who died in 2002, also created an endowment to fund the Kopriva Graduate Fellowship Program, which provides support and opportunities for graduate students in the College of Letters and Science, particularly in the biomedical sciences. The series features four to six seminars annually, with talks provided by MSU graduate students, faculty members and guest speakers. For more information about this and other Kopriva lectures, visit www.montana.edu/lettersandscience/kopriva.html.

Evelyn Boswell, (406) 994-5135 or evelynb@montana.edu