Christianne E. Strang, Ph.D.
Research Instructor, Vision Sciences


Contact Information
Office – 205.975.7222


Physical Address
341 Volker Hall
1670 University Boulevard


Mailing Address
1530 Third Avenue South
VH 341
Birmingham, AL 35294-0019



Ph.D., University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama


Administrative Responsibilities:


Secondary Appointments:

UAB Graduate School


Scholarly Activity:

Teaching -

GBS 714, Developmental Neuroscience
Course Co-director
Neuroscience/Cell and Molecular Biology

GBS 730, Introduction to Neurobiology
Course Co-Director
University of Alabama at Birmingham/Dauphin Island Sea Lab

IBS 700, Cutting Edge Biotechnology
Lectures: Microscopes, fluorescence, imaging and applications

VIS 429, Introduction to Neurobiology (undergraduate)
Course Co-director
University of Alabama at Birmingham/Dauphin Island Sea Lab

VIS 456/756, Visual Neuroscience
Lectures: Horizontal, amacrine and ganglion cells

VIS 743, Optics and Imaging
Lectures: Microscopes, fluorescence, imaging and applications

VIS 744, Ocular Anatomy, Physiology & Biochemistry I
Lectures: Anterior chamber, trabecular meshwork, iris, and pupil

VIS 745, Biology and Patholofy of the Posterior Segment
Lectures: Inner Retina Anatomy/Cell Biology, Retinal Development


Research -

My research has been focused on identifying the complement of functional neuronal nicotinic and muscarinic acetylcholine receptors (AChR) in the retina, describing the expression patterns of these receptors and determining how the activation of the cholinergic system in the retina shapes ganglion cell responses. It has been known for more than 30 years that acetylcholine (ACh) is synthesized and released in the retina. However, ACh in the retina has been mostly studied in terms of its involvement in directional selectivity and the role of nicotinic acetylcholine receptor activation in early stage retinal waves.  That ACh release affects the response properties of many types of ganglion cells through the activation of both nicotinic and muscarinic AChRs has also long been established, but until recently little has been known about the receptors involved, or the mechanisms by which these effects are mediated.   Our research is focused on understanding the role of ACh as modulator of GC outputs.   Understanding the fundamentals of visual processing in healthy retinas will allow for insight into the effects of decreased ACh in Alzheimer's disease and the use of cholinesterase inhibitors in treatment of disease.

Specific research questions that I have addressed include defining which physiologically and morphologically defined ganglion cell types express nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs); which subtypes of nAChRs are expressed in the retina; to what extent receptor activation changes the response properties of the ganglion cells; and whether the receptors are confined to synaptic locations.  I published the first report clearly demonstrating that the a7 nAChR subtype is functional in adult mammalian retina.   More recently my research has explored how modulation of bipolar cell and amacrine cell responses through both the nicotinic and muscarinic cholinergic systems can contribute to the shaping of ganglion cell responses.


Publications -

Hannibal L,  Kankipati L, Strang CE,  Peterson BB,   Dacey D, Gamlin PD. (2014). Central projections of intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells in the macaque monkey. Journal of Comparative Neurology.  522 (10), 2231-2248. DOI: 10.1002/cne.23555. PMCID: PMC3996456

Lu RW, Li YC, Ye T, Strang C, Keyser K, Curcio CA, Yao XC. (2011) Two-photon excited autofluorescence imaging of freshly isolated frog retinas.  Biomed Opt Express.  Jun 2(6):1494-503. doi:  10.1364/BOE.2.001494

Li  Y-C,  Strang C, Amthor FR, Lui L. Li, Y-G, Zhang Q-X, Keyser K,  Yao X-C (2010) Parallel optical monitoring of visual signal propagation from the photoreceptors to the inner retina layers. Optics Letters. 35(11)1810-1812

Strang CE, Renna JM, Amthor FR, Keyser KT. (2010) Muscarinic Acetylcholine Receptor Localization and Modulation of Ganglion Cell Responses. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci.   51: 2778-2789

Keyser, KT, Wotring VE, & Strang, CE, (2010) Nicotinic receptor expression in the retina. 204.  in Encyclopedia of the Eye,  Vol 4 p 153. Besharse, J., Co- Editor,  Dartt, D, Editor-in-Chief.   Elsevier, Oxford, UK.  ISBN-13: 978-0-12-374198-1

Keyser, KT & Strang, CE, (2009) Optical Imaging of Cancer: Enhancing Detection and Resection. in Optical Imaging  in Cancer, Rosenthal EN & Zinn, KR, Eds. Springer, New York..  

Lui, J,  McGlinn, A.,  Fernandes, A., Milam, AH.,  Strang CE, Andison ME, Lindstrom JM, Keyser KT, Stone, RA (2009) Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptor Subunits in Rhesus Monkey Retina. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 50: 1408-1415

Cimini, B,  Strang, CE, Wotring, VE ; Keyser, KT  Eldred, W, (2008) The Role of Acetylcholine in Nitric Oxide Production in the Salamander Retina. Journal of Comparative Neurology. 507(6):1952-1963

Siegwart, JT & Strang CE (2007) Selective Modulation of Scleral Proteoglycan mRNA Levels During Minus Lens Compensation and Recovery. Molecular Vision. 13:1878-1886

Strang CE, Renna JM, Amthor FR, Keyser KT. (2007) Nicotinic acetylcholine receptor expression by directionally selective ganglion cells. Visual Neuroscience. 24 (4) 523-533.

Renna JM, Strang CE, Amthor FR, Keyser KT. (2007) Strychnine but not PMBA inhibits neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptors expressed by rabbit retinal ganglion cell. Visual Neuroscience. 24 (4) 503-511.

Dmitrieva N, Strang CE, Keyser KT, (2007) Expression of alpha 7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors by bipolar, amacrine and ganglion cells of the rabbit retina. J Histochem Cytochem. 55 (5): 461-76 

Strang CE, Andison ME, Amthor FR, Keyser KT. (2005). Rabbit retinal ganglion cells express functional a7 nAChRs.  AJP: Cell Physiology.  289: C644-C655

Strang CE, Amthor FR, Keyser KT. (2003) Rabbit retinal ganglion cell responses to nicotine can be mediated by b2-containing nicotinic acetylcholine receptors. Visual Neuroscience. 20:651-662

Blute TA, Strang CE, Keyser KT, Eldred WD. (2003) Activation of the cGMP/nitric oxide signal transduction system by nicotine in the retina. Visual Neuroscience. 20:165-176


Additional Information:


Dr Jillian Meadows presents her research during the VSGP Student Seminar Series
Sponsored by the UAB VSRC, the Helen Keller Art show honors students with visual impairments for their artistic abilities and creative works.
Vision Science PhD trainee Katie Bales presents her research during the VSGP Student Seminar Series


UAB School of Optometry
1716 University Blvd
Birmingham, AL 35233
P: (205) 975-2020



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