Chemistry of Vision


NaMeS students are invited to IPC PAS Seminar Lecture:

Prof. Krzysztof Palczewski

Department of Pharmacology | Case Western Reserve University

Cleveland, USA

Tuesday 19th June, 2018, 11:00

Assembly hall of the IPC PAS, Kasprzaka 44/52, PL-01 224 Warszawa


Considerable progress has been made towards understanding how light is converted through a series of biochemical events into neural signaling (phototransduction), and how visual chromophores are regenerated (visual cycle), permitting sustainable visual perception. My laboratory studies both processes through multidisciplinary approaches to obtain a comprehensive view of the visual system in health and during disease. Once elements of these signaling pathways have been identified, key contributions from structural biology at different levels of resolution, as attained with classical and time-resolved crystallography, cryo-electron microscopy, cellular cryo-electron tomography, and two-photon in vivo and ex vivo microscopy, will deliver a precise structural account of the participating retinal cells and their intracellular organization. We can make quantum leaps using innovative approaches unavailable 3 years ago and thereby provide relevant structural information in a relatively short period. Although we are looking beyond “one molecule at a time” approaches, individual proteins of the visual system will nonetheless need to be studied at atomic resolution to understand their mechanism of action and to advance pharmacological interventions. Development of new treatments based on a comprehensive understanding of phototransduction and the visual cycle, including gene expression and transcriptional regulation, will be essential to combat genetic defects, metabolic aberrations, and environmental insults leading to blindness. Our groundbreaking advances for two-photon imaging in the eye to recognize biochemical perturbations for the early diagnosis of ocular diseases and the stratification of patients for treatment will lead to the discovery and validation of such treatments that can prevent retinal degenerative diseases. Involving such approaches as visual chromophore supplementation, detoxification of harmful retinoids, and systems pharmacology, we will be able to advance toward the treatment of common retinal diseases. “Proof of concept” studies in humans are now required to move pharmacological approaches beyond preclinical studies of rodents and other animal models.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 711859.