Wiring the Eye to the Brain for Binocular Vision: Lessons from the Albino Visual System

Carol Mason, Ph.D.
  • Carol Mason, Ph.D., Professor of Pathology and Cell Biology, Neuroscience, and Ophthalmology; and Chair of Interschool Planning at Columbia University’s Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute



  • Washington Room, Hotel Roanoke


In higher vertebrates, proper binocular vision depends on the extension of retinal ganglion cell (RGC) axons to the same (ipsilateral) and opposite (contralateral) side of the brain. Our work has identified a molecular program of transcription and axon guidance factors that determine the ipsilateral and contralateral RGC pathways through the optic chiasm and to thalamic targets in the mouse brain. We now aim uncover the spatiotemporal features of the generation of these two RGC subpopulations. We use the albino as a comparative model, because hypopigmentation of the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) is linked to disruption of retinal ganglion cell neurogenesis, targeting, and consequently, stereovision. The potential role of the melanin-containing retinal RPE in these processes will be discussed.