Glenn P. Lobo, PhD
Associate Professor & Principal Investigator
Academic Background: Dr. Lobo was awarded his PhD degree from the University of Technology Sydney, Australia. He then completed his Postdoctoral training at Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH. Dr. Lobo was recruited from the Medical University of South Carolina and joined the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Neurosciences at the University of Minnesota in April 2021.
Current Lab Interests: The current research interests of Dr. Lobo’s laboratory focuses on two fundamental processes that control normal visual function in humans. The first area focuses on understanding dietary Vitamin A transport to the eye, where the lab investigates the biophysical and physiological role of membrane receptors that facilitate dietary vitamin A uptake and mechanisms influencing its systemic tissue storage and transport to the eye. The second major focus of research is Photoreceptor Opsin Trafficking, where the lab investigates the role of an unconventional motor protein, MYO1C, in the binding and proper localization of rhodopsin protein to the photoreceptor outer segments (OS) for normal visual function. The lab used both zebrafish and mouse models to explore these processes.Background: Dr. Lobo was awarded his PhD degree from the University of Technology Sydney, Australia. He then completed his Postdoctoral training at Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH. Dr. Lobo was recruited from the Medical University of South Carolina and joined the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Neurosciences at the University of Minnesota in April 2021.
Funding: Dr. Lobo’s Lab is currently R01 funded and has been awarded UMN startup funds. Dr. Lobo has previously held grants from the NIH-National Eye Institute (R21), Knight Templar Eye Foundation, EMBO Foundation, DCI, and MUSC startup funds.
- Role of membrane receptors in dietary Vitamin A transport to the eye
- Mechanisms of retinal cell degeneration and regeneration
- Zebrafish and mouse genetics
- Role of Motor Proteins in Rhodopsin Localization and Trafficking
- Genetics of Ushers Syndrome
- Genetics of Retinitis Pigmentosa
Venkat Dronamraju, PhD
Dr. Dronamraju is a recent PhD graduate from University of Louisiana at Monroe. His previous postdoctoral work at the University of Minnesota focused on early intervention and antioxidant supplemental therapy in Neurodegenerative diseases.
Current Research Goals: His current research projects involve investigating the molecular mechanisms of retinal cell degeneration and regeneration in relevant mouse lines. He is involved in generating mouse knockout lines, HPLC analysis of retinoids and small molecules, ERG and OCT visual function analysis of mouse genotypes. Through his projects, he hopes to expand into small molecule drug discovery, retinal organoids, and mechanisms regulating trafficking of proteins in the retina.
Future Ambitions: My career ambition is to lead an independent research team at a premier research institution.
Rakesh Radhakrishnan, PhD
Dr. Radhakrishnan was award his Ph.D. degree in 2018 from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) India. He is a trained molecular biologist with experience in epigenetics and biological sciences in the visual sciences field.
Current Research Goals: He is interested in exploring the transcriptome and epigenetics mechanisms of myosin family proteins in photoreceptor cell development and function.
Future Ambitions: Dr. Radhakrishnan hopes to expand his research aptitude in the visual neurosciences field to eventually secure an independent research position in academics with teaching.
Nicasio Martin Ask, BSc
Nicasio is a recent graduate from the College of Biological Sciences in the University of Minnesota with a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry.
Current Research Goals: He is currently building up his lab skills and scientific literacy to improve his confidence with lab work and eventually pursue graduate school.
Future Ambitions: Move onto graduate school to pursue a PhD in Pharmacology.
Matthias is an undergraduate student in the College of Biological Sciences at the University of Minnesota studying Biochemistry. In the past, he has worked with zebrafish experimentation and cell imaging.
Current Research Goals: At the moment, the skills he is hoping to acquire relate to further understanding the metabolism of Vitamin A and the transporters that facilitate its access to peripheral cells, particularly in the context of vision and the retinoid cycle in the eye. He would also like to explore Myo1C, the motor protein that facilitates Opsin trafficking in photoreceptors.
Future Ambitions: I would like to take the experience I have gained here to expand further into academia, as well as pursuing medical school.
Undergraduate Research Assistant
Andrew is an undergrad student in the College of Biological Sciences at the University of Minnesota, studying Neuroscience, with a minor in Computer Science. He began his college career at the United States Air Force Academy (USAFA) but transferred to Minnesota after a career-ending eye injury, sparking his interest in Ophthalmological Research.
Future Ambitions: Andrew states, “During my time as an undergraduate research assistant in the Lobo Lab, I hope to help advance the field of ophthalmology by exploring retinal diseases and their causes and my ultimate goal is medical school with the intention to rejoin the military as a physician”.