Juan Valdez

Juan Valdez

Biological Sciences

Area of Doctoral Study: Biological Sciences

Undergraduate Institute: University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Research Advisor: Dr. Phyllis Robinson

Description of Research

Vision in animals is made possible due to the expression of light-sensitive molecules called visual pigments. I study the visual pigment melanopsin, which is expressed in a small subset of ganglion cells in the retina and is responsible for the light based regulation of circadian rhythms, sleep, mood, and the pupillary light reflex. Specifically, I’m interested in identifying important residues, structures, or molecular interactions occuring on the C-tail that are critical for maintaining proper melanopsin activation, deactivation, and possibly trafficking.