First meeting of the VERU Journal Club

Published: 5 October 2016 at 17:23

The first meeting of the new VERU Journal Club took place on Friday 30 September.

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Juan Tabanero, Reader in VERU, introduced a 2007 paper by Kristian Franze and colleagues which redefined the role of retinal Müller cells. The paper appeared in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, one of the world’s most prestigious scientific journals, which aims to present ‘original research of exceptional importance’. Juan’s account of this paper and the lively discussion the followed certainly echoed this assessment.

The Müller cells, which span the thickness of the retina, were previously believed to serve mainly mechanical and nutritive functions. By a series of elegantly simple experiments, using living vertebrate tissue, the authors demonstrated that the Müller cells actually act as optical fibres, passing light and hence visual information from the inner to the outer retina where the photoreceptors are situated, each cell relating to a single cone and a number of rods. This finding explains, at a stroke, how visual information reaches the photoreceptors without having to be degraded by passing through a mass of nervous tissue, and shows how the vertebrate retina functions despite having become ‘inverted’ during the course of evolution.

The purpose of the Journal Club is to review papers of interest. They can be recent additions to the literature, ground-breaking discoveries, important reviews, your own work, or anything else that you think could possibly be of interest to your colleagues. I should very much welcome any suggestions that you may have, and in particular any offer to introduce a paper.

The VERU Journal Club will meet on the fourth Friday of each month, from 13.30 to 14.30. The next two meetings will be on 28 October and 25 November, followed by a break in December. The first meeting of the New Year will take place on 27 January.

For more details please contact Roger J Buckley, Professor Emeritus of Ocular Medicine, Associate Director, Vision and Eye Research Unit
Faculty of Medical Science, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge