Stewart Bloomfield PhD
SUNY Optometry, Biological and Visual Sciences
Current Position: Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Research
Keywords Research Areas: retina; neuroscience; neuronal circuitry; gap junctions; glaucoma; ischemic retinopathy; apoptosis
Research Focus:
  • Fundamental Retinal Processes
  • Glaucoma and Optic Neuropathies
  • Retinal Diseases
  • Retinal Neuroscience
Clinical Relevance:
  • Diabetic Retinopathy
  • Glaucoma
  • Hereditary Eye Diseases
  • Retinitis Pigmentosa/Retinal Degenerations
  • Vascular Diseases
Synopsis Of Research:

Our research focuses on the physiology and pathology of the retina. In particular, we study the role of gap junctions, the morphological substrate of electrical synapses, in the encoding and propagation of visual signals.  Gap junctions are expressed by nearly all retinal neurons and our data indicate that they play critical roles in a number of visual processes including adaptation, dim light vision, direction selectivity, optokinetics, encoding of global stimuli, and the information bandwidth of the optic nerve.  In addition, gap junctions underlie secondary cell death under a number of pathological conditions including RP, glaucoma, ischemic and diabetic retinopathies, and trauma.  Our data indicate that secondary cell death can lead to significantly more cell loss in the retina than caused by primary insults. Therefore, gap junctions form important therapeutic targets to reduce progressive cell death and thereby provide neuroprotection under a number of retinal diseases. 

Current Or Representative Publications:
  1. Deans M, Völgyi B, Goodenough D, Bloomfield SA and Paul D (2002) Role of gap junctions in the transmission of rod signals in the retina: an electrophysiological study of a connexin36 knockout mouse.  Neuron 36:703-712.
  2. Ackert JA, Wu SH, Lee S, Abrams J, Hu E, Perlman I and Bloomfield SA (2006) Light-induced changes in spike synchronization between coupled ON direction selective ganglion cells in the mammalian retina.  Journal of Neuroscience.  26:4206-4215.
  3. Bloomfield SA and Völgyi B (2009) The diverse functional roles and regulation of neuronal gap junctions in the retina. Nature Reviews Neuroscience 10:495-506.
  4. Hu EH, Pan F, Völgyi B and Bloomfield SA (2010) Light increases the the gap junctional coupling of retinal ganglion cells.  Journal of Physiology  588:4145-4163.
  5. Farajian RF, Pan F, Akopian A, Völgyi B and Bloomfield SA (2011) Masked crossover excitation between the ON and OFF visual pathways in the mammalian retina.  Journal of Physiology 589:4473-4489.

State University of New York Medical Centers & College of Optometry Consortium

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