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Bih-Hwa Shieh, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Pharmacology

Research Description

My research focuses on retinal degeneration. Retinal degeneration is characterized by the progressive loss of photoreceptors in the eye leading to blindness or a loss of vision. Specifically, we are interested in exploring the causes in an attempt to find ways to prevent this debilitating disease.

We use Drosophila as our experimental model organism for insights into mechanisms of degeneration. Inherited retinal degeneration in Drosophila has been explored for understanding similar processes in humans. In Drosophila, we employ a multi-disciplinary approach by combining molecular biological, cell biological, biochemical and genetics strategies to uncover the molecular basis underlying the degeneration process.

Currently, we are investigating the contribution of arrestin 1 and arrestin 2 in retinal degeneration. Both arrestins belong to the evolutionarily conserved family that plays a critical role to modulate the function of rhodopsin. In particular, we are exploring whether reversible phosphorylation of arrestins and rhodopsin affects the internalization of rhodopsin, which may orchestrate retinal degeneration.

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Vanderbilt Faculty Profile 

Shieh Lab

Vanderbilt Brain Institute (VBI)