The research interests of the Gross Lab are mainly focused on the GPCR rhodopsin-mediated retinal degenerations and molecular mechanisms of photoreceptor membrane biogenesis; in particular, the molecular interactions necessary for formation of healthy photoreceptors. Studies are currently focused on understanding those interactions that are defective when rhodopsin lacks the proper structure at its carboxy-terminus, as is the case in several of most forms of the blinding disease autosomal dominant retinitis pigmentosa. Knock-in mice and transgenic Xenopus laevis bearing rhodopsin carboxy-terminal mutations are being used and new ones constructed to aid in the detection of binding partners to the C-terminus of rhodopsin implicated in rhodopsin trafficking. In addition to studying naturally occurring mutations that cause human disease, the Gross lab has constructed rhodopsin with photoactivatable GFP fused to its C-terminus to monitor trafficking of the GPCR in vivo for the first time.
Alecia Gross earned a B.S. from the University of New Hampshire in Biochemistry and a PhD in Biochemistry from Brandeis University in Waltham, MA in 2002. Prior to joining the UAB faculty in the Department of Vision Sciences in 2006, she was a Postdoctoral Fellow at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX. She joined the UAB faculty in 2006.