UW Researcher Receives Grant to Expand Knowledge of Molecules Regulating Retinal Function

Mrinalini Hoon, PhD
Mrinalini Hoon, PhD

Mrinalini Hoon, PhD, has been granted a $150,000 Research to Prevent Blindness (RPB) Career Advancement Award to support research into the role of retinal molecules that have been linked to macular dystrophy, macular degeneration and night blindness in humans.

The RPB Career Advancement Award supports early- to mid-career vision researchers who have already received their first independent federal grant – the National Institutes of Health R01 – and are collecting new data to apply for a second grant.

“I’m grateful to RPB for supporting this critical research,” said Hoon, an assistant professor with the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences and principal investigator at UW-Madison’s Hoon Lab.

Hoon’s research will examine how nerve cells in the retina – at the back of the eye – communicate with one another at specialized junctions called synapses.

“Little is known about the molecular composition that allows synapses in the retina to function properly,” said Hoon.  “This research will determine the molecular ‘code’ that supports optimal information transfer across synapses in the night vision retinal pathway.”

The RPB Career Advancement Award was established in 2020. Hoon was one of only three vision research scientists across the country to receive this year’s award.