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Institute of Neuroscience Faculty

Peter ODay
Peter O'Day


Associate Professor, Department of Biology
B.S., 1970, Canisius College
M.S., 1972, Maine, Orono
Ph.D., 1977, State University of New York, Albany

  • Director, NSF REU Site Program in Molecular Biosciences at the University of Oregon (UO-REU) ---NSF Research Experiences for Undergraduates
  • Research Interests
    Cellular signaling; electrophysiological, biochemical, and mutational analysis of visual processing; phototransduction, adaptation, and ion transport; efferent modulation of cellular function.


    Research in our laboratory is directed toward understanding communication and information flow in biological systems. The principal focus has been visual processing in the retina, including the physiology and chemistry of phototransduction and synaptic processing in the retina. The initial stages of visual processing take place within the photoreceptor cells in the retina. We investigate the mechanisms by which retinal cells achieve this information transfer and processing to generate proper visual function. Eyes of Drosophila and Zebrafish are used. Visual transduction and signal processing involve complex cascades of reactions, initiating several other simultaneous intracellular and membrane events that lead to the creation of an intricate electrical response that spreads to the synapse, sending information to higher order visual cells. We adopt a relatively broad experimental approach to examine these events, investigating not only intracellular chemistry but also membrane transport processes, electrical processes, and modulation of retinal function by input from higher CNS centers. Membrane biophysics, electrophysiology, pharmacology, microspectrophotometry, mathematical modeling, mutational analysis, and biochemistry are used. Use of these techniques in combination with genetic and molecular approaches offers a very promising strategy to reveal the orchestration of photoreceptor signaling the roles of specific proteins and protein subunits in physiological events. We collaborate with colleagues who use molecular and genetic techniques to study the Drosophila retina. We expect that this multifaceted approach will help elucidate fundamental processes, not only in vision, but in other cellular signaling systems as well.

    Representative Publications

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    University of Oregon

    Last Updated 9/19/2014 -