Retinal Cell Biology

David Williams, PhD, Director
Retinal Cell Biology splash

Research Areas
Cell biology of normal and disease mechanisms in photoreceptor and Retinal Pigment Epithelium (RPE) cells


Dr. Williams’ laboratory focuses on the cell biology of photoreceptor and Retinal Pigment Epithelium (RPE) cells. His group is especially interested in cell biological studies of the retina in relation to retinal function and inherited retinal disease.

Basic science investigations in the laboratory include identifying how proteins and organelles are transported and targeted within the photoreceptor and RPE cells. Photoreceptor and RPE cells offer unique perspectives in cell polarization and the underlying mechanisms that are critical for establishing and maintaining this polarization.  Studies also include how metabolism drives cell differentiation and underlies many of the important cellular functions of the photoreceptor and RPE cells.

Studies on retinal disease include the use of stem cells to generate disease-in-a-dish models for Usher syndrome, Choroideremia, and macular degeneration.  They also involve cell culture and in vivo studies on gene therapy, using gene augmentation, and, more recently, gene editing.

Contact Information
Phone: (310) 825-9546
Email: [email protected]

Location Address 
Jules Stein Eye Institute
100 Stein Plaza, UCLA
Los Angeles, CA 90095

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