Phone: (208) 885-8963
The Stenkamp lab is interested in the cellular and molecular
mechanisms of vertebrate retinal development and regeneration, with
specific focus on the differentiation and aging of photoreceptors and
ganglion cells. Zebrafish are the primary experimental models used in
the lab, since they develop rapidly, have multiple photoreceptor
subtypes that can be easily identified, continue to grow new retinal
tissue throughout life and can be manipulated genetically.
The lab's major area of investigation currently is the involvement of
specific factors such as the signaling protein, sonic hedgehog and the
Vitamin A derivative, retinoic acid, in regulating the differentiation
of rod and cone photoreceptors. The aim is to better define the sources
of these factors in the developing retina and determine their effects on
photoreceptors and other retinal cells by using gain-of-function and
loss-of-function approaches, including the examination of specific
zebrafish mutants and the creation of transgenic zebrafish with
inducible genes. This project receives funding from the National Eye
Two other projects in the lab are receiving support from two
foundations: The Glaucoma Foundation, for the study of ganglion cell
regeneration in zebrafish; and The American Health Assistance
Foundation, for the pursuit of a zebrafish model for age-related macular
degeneration. These are both exciting new directions for the laboratory
as they apply knowledge of factors involved in development of retinal
cells to the analysis and treatment of human visual disorders.
The laboratory also participates in an NSF-funded Research Experience
for Undergraduates program emphasizing computational neuroscience. This
program is highly interdisciplinary, involving faculty from Biological
Sciences, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. In summer 2004,
16 undergraduates from around the Northwest participated in the program.
Dr. Stenkamp is the director of the Neuroscience Graduate Program at UI,
and is on the Editorial Review Board for Molecular Vision,
peer-reviewed and award-winning online journal of vision research.
Deborah L. Stenkamp is a Northwest native (Boise, Idaho), and earned her
BA degree in Biology from Whitman College in Walla Walla, WA (1987), and
received her Ph.D. degree in Neuroscience from the Johns Hopkins School
of Medicine in Baltimore, MD (1993). From 1993-1997 she worked as a
postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Anatomy & Cell Biology, at the
University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, MI. In 1997 she joined the
Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Idaho in Moscow,
ID, and has been adjunct faculty with the IPN Neuroscience graduate
Prabhudesai SN, Cameron DA, Stenkamp DL
. 2005. Targeted
effects of retinoic acid signaling upon photoreceptor development in
zebrafish. Developmental Biology. 287(1):157-67
, Calderwood JL, Van Niel EE, Daniels LM,
and Gonzalez-Fernandez F. 2005. The interphotoreceptor retinoid binding
protein (IRBP) of the chicken (Gallus gallus domesticus). Molecular
Shupe JM, Kristan DM, Austad SN, Stenkamp DL
. 2006. The
eye of the laboratory mouse remains anatomically adapted for natural
conditions. Brain, Behavior and Evolution. 67:39-52
and Frey RA. 2003. Extraretinal and retinal
hedgehog signaling sequentially regulate retinal neurogenesis in
zebrafish. Developmental Biology. 258(2):349-63
, Frey RA, Mallory DE and Shupe EE. 2002.
Embryonic retinal gene expression in sonic-you mutant zebrafish.
Developmental Dynamics. 225:344-350.
, Powers MK, Carney LH and Cameron DA. 2001.
Evidence for two distinct mechanisms of neurogenesis and cellular
pattern formation in regenerated goldfish retinas. Journal of
Comparative Neurology 431:363-381.