New ERG method for zebrafish

July 31, 2020

A recent paper from the Hocking Lab describes a simple method for obtaining electroretinogram measurements from zebrafish. Excitingly, it works for larval, juvenile and adult fish. Well done Nate Nadolski on your success following painstaking work to develop the new procedure.

Nadolski NJ, Wong CXL, Hocking JC. Electroretinogram analysis of zebrafish retinal function across development. Doc Ophthalmol. 2020. doi:10.1007/s10633-020-09783-y

PMEL mutations cause pigmentary glaucoma

January 1, 2019

A paper in press at Human Molecular Genetics (Lahola-Chomiak et al., reports the results of a collaboration led by Dr. Michael Walter, and involving the Lehmann and Allison labs. This work discovered the first causative gene for pigmentary glaucoma, a common subtype of glaucoma, which represents the leading cause of irreversible blindness worldwide.

Dr. Walter’s team first identified a mutation in the premelanosome (PMEL) gene in DNA samples from two Mennonite cousins before identifying additional PMEL mutations in a cohort of patients with pigmentary glaucoma. Molecular analyses demonstrate that these mutations alter the function of the PMEL protein, and CRISPR-CAS9 mutagenesis of pmel in zebrafish resulted in both pigment defects and glaucoma-like phenotypes. In parallel, colleagues at Harvard and the University of Flinders (Drs. Wiggs and Craig), identified PMEL mutations in additional pigmentary glaucoma cases, strongly supporting the role of PMEL mutations in PG. Overall, these results improve understanding of the etiology of a major form of blindness, with opportunities for novel approaches for diagnosing and eventually treating this common form of glaucoma.


Figure 1. Typical signs of pigmentary glaucoma (pigment granules on the corneal endothelium, heavy pigmentation of the trabecular meshwork, and iris trans-ilumination defects.





Figure 2. pmel CRISPR-generated zebrafish mutant demonstrating globe enlargement (a feature of congenital glaucoma in infants).







BrightFocus Foundation grant competition

May 23, 2018

The BrightFocus Foundation has an upcoming grant competition for those conducting research on macular degeneration, with a Letter of Intent due June 26th.

Details can be found here:



Nicole Noel received a CIHR Canada Graduate Scholarship

May 10, 2018

Nicole is working on her PhD thesis under two AVN members, Dr. Ian McDonald and Dr. Ted Allison. Congratulations to Nicole for receiving a CIHR Canada Graduate Scholarship to support her during her studies.

AVN researchers identify a novel ocular disease – Superior Coloboma

April 3, 2018

A recently published paper in PLoS Genetics (Hocking et al., March 2018) is the culmination of a long-standing collaborative project by two AVN labs (PIs: Ordan Lehmann and Andrew Waskiewicz). The group identified eight patients with tissue gaps in the superior portion of the iris, retina, and/or lens – a novel congenital disease the researchers termed Superior Coloboma. By using zebrafish to revisit ocular development, the authors discovered the superior ocular sulcus, a transient groove bisecting the dorsal retina and the potential origin of superior coloboma. Moreover, they showed how patterning cues control formation and closure of the sulcus and its developmental function in directing growing ocular blood vessels.


Congratulations to Lance Doucette

April 3, 2018

Lance (MacDonald Lab) recently received a Retina Foundation of Canada Clinical Research Grant that will support his research into novel causes of retinal and macular dystrophies.

Telodendria research from the Allison Lab

January 17, 2018

Telodendria are delicate structures that connect photoreceptor cells to one another and allow for information to be shared laterally between them. Despite their discovery in the late 19th century, telondendria are not widely known or well characterized in vision science. Nicole Noel recently studied these poorly understood features of photoreceptors in the zebrafish retina during her Master’s thesis in the Allison lab. Her work has now been published in the Journal of Comparative Neurology, with one of her beautiful photos featured on the issue cover.

AVN Logo Contest

November 10, 2017

AVN needs a logo! AVN members, it’s time to get out your crayons. We’re having a contest and the winner gets a cash prize and will hopefully have their design displayed as our new logo.

Due: Jan 10th, 2018

Send your logo to:

Prize: $150

Please read these tips before starting: Logo tips



Canada Graduate Scholarship MSc Applications due Dec 1st

November 7, 2017

Good funding opportunity for AVN students conducting basic and clinical research.

See here for further info:

Congratulations to Nicole Noel!

November 7, 2017

Nicole recently received an Alberta Innovates – Health Solution scholarship to fund her PhD research under the joint supervision of two AVN members – Dr. Ian MacDonald and Dr. Ted Allison. Way to go Nicole!