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Pearring Lab Research

As a scientist, I am inspired when the molecular intricacies of a cellular process are understood in the broader context of an organism’s physiology. In my own research, I explore the mechanisms underlying organelle biogenesis and cellular polarity in photoreceptors, the light-sensing cells of the vertebrate retina. Light is captured by the rod and cone-shaped outer segment organelle, which is the largest primary cilium in the human body. While most vertebrate cells contain a primary cilium, photoreceptors have modified theirs by filling it with hundreds of tightly stacked double membrane discs that provide more membrane surface area to pack with visual signal molecules and thus improving light sensitivity. Importantly, defects associated with the structure and/or function of the primary cilium often result in photoreceptor dysfunction or death leading to human blindness. My research program emphasizes studying both ciliary and photoreceptor-specific proteins and how they impact formation and function of the outer segment by applying the quantitative precision of biochemical and molecular approaches with new advanced imaging techniques. In addition to research, I am passionate about academic mentorship and issues of diversity and inclusivity in STEM programs. I find one-on-one mentorship highly rewarding and enjoy opportunities to engage with trainees at all levels and I strive to be a supportive mentor to the next generation of scientists. 


Open Tenure-track Faculty Position

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