Timothy W. Kraft, Ph.D.
Primary Department Affiliation: Vision Sciences
Primary Research Area: Neurodegeneration and Neurodegenerative Disorders
Systems Neuroscience and Vision
My laboratory works on the physiology and biophysics of photoreceptors, the retinal cells which convert light energy into electrochemical signals. By studying the properties of rod and cone cells one can understand how the responses of these nerve cells shape and influence human visual behavior. We use isolated retinal tissue from normal and diseased animals to directly measure the electronic response of photoreceptors to light.
Transgenic animal models of retinal degeneration provide an opportunity to investigate precisely how photoreceptor response properties are altered in physiologically challenging environments. By studying diseased tissues we hope to gain new understanding of normal phototransduction mechanisms as well as learn about the progressive loss of photoreceptor signaling ability in retinal diseases.
Other experiments are aimed at developing novel therapies; these may involve the insertion of new genes targeted specifically at the rod photoreceptors. We are exploring the differences between rod and cone phototransduction and are seeking to identify the key molecular components which determine the electrical response properties.
Kraft, T. W., Allen, D., Petters, R., Hao, Y., Peng, Y.-W., and Wong, F. (2005) Altered light responses of single rod photoreceptors in transgenic pigs expressing P347L or P347S rhodopsin. Molecular Vision 11:1246-1256.
Rubin, G. R., & Kraft, T. W. (2007). Flicker assessment of rod and cone function in a model of retinal degeneration. E-pub 08.03.07, Documenta Ophthalmologica.115: 165-172.
Hancock, H.A., & Kraft T.W.(2008). Human Oscillatory Potential: Intensity Dependence of Timing and Amplitude E-pub 04.30.08, Documenta Ophthalmologica. 117 (3): 215-222.
Zhang, Y Molday, L.L., Molday, R.S. Woodruff M. , Fain GL, Kraft, T.W., and. Pittler, S.J., (2009) Knockout of cGMP-gated channel &[beta]-subunit and GARPs disrupts disk morphogenesis and rod outer segment structural integrity. Journal of Cell Science 122:1192-1200.
Wen Y.E., Niculescu, D.M., Wotring V.E., Kraft T.W. (2009) Patho-Physiology of Rod Photoreceptors Under Stress -Retinal Degeneration Reshape the Light Responses of Surviving Rod Photoreceptors. Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science,Suppl. 50 (4). Poster Session.
Kraft, T.W. Rubin, G.R., ,Zhang Y., Pittler S.J. (2009) Age-Related ERG Changes in Cngb1-X1 Knockout Mice: Cone Survival Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science, Suppl. 50 (4). Invited platform presentation.
Sarfare, S, Rubin,GR, Rockwell, JD, Kraft, TW., Pittler S.J. (2009) Characterization of Transgenic Mice Overexpressing GARP2 in the Retina) Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science,Suppl. 50(4). Poster Session.
Simultaneous probing of retinal physiology in-vivoin a rat model with electrical and optical recordings at 1060nm. Moayed, A.A, Dracopoulos, A., Hariri, S, Hyun, D, Kraft, TW, Doran, B, Boyd, S., and Bizheva, K (2009). Optical Coherence Tomography and Coherence Domain Optical Methods in Biomedicine XIII (Conference BO112), BIOS 2009, oral presentation.
A combined ERG and UHR OCT system for simultaneous recordings from the rat reinta in-vivo. Boyd, S., Hariri, S., Dracopoulos, A., Moayed, A.A., Hariri, S, Hyun, D, Kraft, TW, Doran, B, and Bizheva, K (2009). Ophthalmic Technologies XIX (Conference BO107), BIOS 2009, oral presentation.
Timothy W. Kraft, Associate Professor, Department of Vision Sciences and Scientist in the Vision Science Research Center (VSRC). He received his undergraduate degree in biology from M.I.T. and a Ph.D. (1985) in Physiology from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. His research into the neurobiology of color vision began at M.I. T. and shifted to primate retinal tissue during his postdoctoral years at Stanford and the Ophthalmology Department at the University of California at San Francisco. That work included the first electrophysiologic recordings from individual human rod and cone photoreceptors. His association with Ophthalmology Departments at UCSF and as a former Assistant Professor in the Department of Ophthalmology at UAB, have lead him to incorporate the pathologies of photoreceptor degeneration and acquired color vision losses into his studies of the physiology of retinal signal processing.