Robert E. Marc is Distinguished Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Utah. He is also Calvin and JeNeal Hatch Presidential Endowed Chair in Ophthalmology and Director of Research at the John A. Moran Eye Center.
The Marc laboratory has developed high-speed transmission electron microscope imaging with molecular tagging for brain and retinal mapping. The goal is to build hundreds of connectomes: canonical wiring diagrams for brain areas. Our immediate goals are to build complete wiring diagrams for the mammalian retina, including the human macula. Our research also focuses on the pathways involved in vertebrate retinal processing and their disruption in retinal degenerations. Retinal pathways using ionotropic kainate, AMPA and NMDA receptors are visualized with organic cations that permeate activated receptor channels. These probes of excitation history can also be used in living, behaving organisms to map endogenous patterns of visually-driven excitation. Photoreceptor degenerations trigger large-scale tissue remodeling and rewiring of the retina, and we studying the molecular mechanisms of this pathologic neuritogenesis. We are currently exploring retinoic acid signaling as a likely candidate.