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Living optical elements in the vertebrate retina

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact John Mollon.

While cells are mostly transparent they are phase objects that differ in shape and refractive index. Any image that is projected through layers of cells will normally be distorted by refraction, reflection, and scattering. Strangely, the retina of the vertebrate eye is inverted with respect to its optical function and light must pass through several tissue layers before reaching the light-sensitive photoreceptor cells. I will discuss our recent findings about specific adaptations at both cellular and nuclear level to improve the light transmission through the retina. These findings ascribe a new function to glial cells, demonstrate the first nuclear adaptation for an optical function, and shed new light on the inverted retina as an optical system.

This talk is part of the Craik Club series.

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