Xiaofeng Zhao, Ph.D., Research Investigator (Giger Laboratory), Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, University of Michigan Medical School
This is an image of a zebrafish eye. Unlike mammals, zebrafish have a remarkable ability to regenerate their damaged retina and restore lost sight. Colored rod-like cells, Müller glia, are the key cell type that responds to retinal injury and can divide to regenerate all lost neurons in the zebrafish eye after injury. Humans have Müller glial cells too, but after injury of the human eye, these cells form scars instead of dividing to promote regeneration. Researchers study the regenerative process in zebrafish to gain insight into what molecular processes are activated in their Müller glia to mediate successful regeneration. The answers to this question could suggest new strategies to “wake up” the Müller glia of the human eye and perhaps improve their regenerative ability.