Dr Lin, Bin 林彬
Dr. Lin is currently an Assistant Professor in Departments of Anatomy and Ophthalmology, University of Hong Kong. He received his PhD training in neuroscience at the University of Sydney, Australia. After that, he moved to Harvard Medical School, where he was a Research Associate in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), associated with the laboratory of Dr. Richard Masland, and then an Instructor before taking up my present position in Hong Kong.
Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is an eye disease caused by mutations in more than 100 different genes. Because of loss of rods and cones, the eye’s main photoreceptors, RP typically manifests as night blindness and progresses to tunnel vision and sometimes complete blindness. At present, no treatment is available for restoring vision once rods and cones have been lost due to degeneration.
We developed a novel treatment strategy, which focused on genetically converting light-insensitive inner retinal neurons into photoreceptor cells, thus restoring light-sensitivity to retinas that lack photoreceptors. We used a virus to induce widespread melanopsin expression, the photosensitive pigment melanopsin, within these cells in mice with degenerated photoreceptors. The treatment allowed the animals to respond to light and dark for long periods. The melanopsin-based gene therapy has great potential to restore an individual’s light perception.
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