gavin 150x150Associate Professor
Assistant Dean
Faculty Onboarding
School of Medicine Director, Cellular, Molecular and Developmental Biology Graduate Theme

Research Areas
Molecular mechanisms of retinal degenerations due to genetic mutations and/or light damage; protein trafficking in photoreceptors and neurons; rod and cone disk cytoskeletal regulation

Publications

Biography

The Gross lab studies the biochemistry and cell biology of signaling processes that enable vision and those that cause retinal degenerations. More specifically, we study photoreceptor proteins, their trafficking, the role of rod cell formation and maintenance as well as the genetic basis of rod cell degeneration in blinding diseases.  The Gross lab employs several biochemical assays on heterologously expressed proteins and mutants as well as state-of-the-art cell biological techniques ex vivo and in vivo with retinal tissue to monitor the function of photoreceptors.  Additionally, we utilize animal models to study rod morphology as this is the best way to study morphologically intact photoreceptors. Our group has major strengths in the generation of transgenic Xenopus laevis and the preparation conditional and congenital knock-out mouse models to monitor the effects of the ablation of the gene in rods.  We also prepare knock-in mouse models expressing designed mutant rhodopsins mimicking human disease, enabling us to cross these animals with existing transgenic and knock-in mouse models with ciliary defects. We subretinally inject rAAVs encoding genes to monitor protein function in intact photoreceptor cells.  We are proficient in high-throughput protein expression and purification, DNA and RNA purification, epifluorescence, spinning disc and laser scanning confocal microscopy, transmission and scanning electron microscopy, and live cell imaging of retina to monitor protein localization, overall retinal health and histology.

Education

Graduate School
Ph.D.,, Brandeis University
Postdoctoral Fellowship, Baylor College of Medicine

Contact

Email
agross@uab.edu