Pattnaik Research Group

Groundbreaking vision research discoveries in the laboratory are essential to advancing therapies for blindness. Dr. Pattnaik is committed to making key discoveries in pediatric blindness conditions that will pave the ground for future therapeutics. Over the years we have made significant progress in our understanding of molecular mechanisms of blindness in children due to either developmental or inherited condition. Our research focus is on cellular communications that are key to life and disease. We discovered a novel cellular signaling pathway between cone photoreceptors and retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) that utilizes oxytocin in the PR and oxytocin receptors in the RPE cells. This established a role for naturally occurring oxytocin signaling in the eye beyond its involvement in labor and sociability.

Another key focus of our laboratory research is channelopathy, defects in ion-channel proteins, leading to inherited and acquired blindness. Ion channels are integrated in the cell membrane and control the passage of specific ions into or out of cells life-long. RPE cells are present in the back of the eye that nourishes neural retina to maintain its health resulting in our ability to see. We have shown that mutations in RPE inwardly rectifying potassium and chloride channels cause blindness such as Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA) and  Best’s disease. We are currently employing several in-vitro (patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells iPSC-RPE) and in-vivo (genetically engineered mouse) models to study cell, tissue, organ, and animal physiology. We use various state of the art techniques like electroretinogram, patch-clamp, biological imaging, molecular and biochemical techniques to repair ion channel defects in the hope to treat blindness.

RPE cell diagram

Recent News & Announcements

OXT-OXTR Pathway Active in Posterior Retina

Oxytocin Expression and Function in the Posterior Retina: A Novel Signaling Pathway

Lab News

  • Investigators collaborating on new R01 from National Eye Institute

    Congratulations to PI Ismail Zaitoun, PhD, associate scientist, Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences (DOVS), and Co-Investigators, Nader Sheibani, PhD, professor, DOVS, Christine Sorenson, PhD, distinguished scientist, Neonatology and Newborn Nursery, and Bikash Pattnaik, PhD, professor, Neonatology and Newborn …

  • Researchers awarded ICTR grant to improve diagnosis of HIE

    Bikash Pattnaik, PhD, Principal Investigator, associate professor, Neonatology and Newborn Nursery, along with Co-PI, Pelin Cengiz, MD, professor, Critical Care, were awarded a $50,000 Basic and Clinical Translational Research Pilot award from the UW Institutive of Clinical and …

  • Bikash Pattnaik and collaborators receive grant from Spotlight Therapeutics

    Co-Principal Investigators, Bikash Pattnaik, PhD, associate professor, Neonatology and Newborn Nursery, and Krishanu Saha, PhD, Department of Biomedical Engineering, and Co-Investigator Pawan Shahi, PhD, assistant scientist,Neonatology and Newborn Nursery, received a six-month $76,352 award from Spotlight Therapeutics for their project, …

  • Bikash Pattnaik, PhD, receives grant from Hubble Therapeutics

    Bikash Pattnaik, PhD, assistant professor, Neonatology and Newborn Nursery, received a $106,823 award from Hubble Therapeutics for his project, “Assessment of ocular function in KCNJ13 conditional knockout mice administered subretinal HUB-101 and assessment of expression of …

  • Members of Pattnaik Research Group awarded travel grants

    Congratulations to three members of the Pattnaik Research Group who were awarded travel grants for upcoming conferences.  Allison Spillane, graduate research assistant, was selected for the Sarla P. Kothary Memorial Travel Grant to present her poster, “Preclinical …

  • More News...