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

  • Bikash Pattnaik, PhD, and UW Investigators Awarded R24 Grant from NIH

    Bikash Pattnaik, PhD, and Co-Principal Investigators, Shaoqin “Sarah” Gong, PhD, Biomedical Engineering and Wisconsin Institute for Discovery, David Gamm, MD, PhD, Department of Visual Sciences and Ophthalmology, and Christopher Ahern, PhD, University of Iowa, recently …

  • Bikash Pattnaik, PhD, Receives Two Awards from the UW Graduate School

    Bikash Pattnaik, PhD (Assistant Professor, Division of Neonatology & Newborn Nursery), has been awarded a $69,096 Fall Research Competition grant from the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education (OVCRGE) for his one-year …

  • What We Published In May 2020

    Al Dhaheri N, Wu N, Zhao S, Wu Z, Blank RD, Zhang J, Raggio C, Halanski M, Shen J, Noonan K, Qiu G, Nemeth B, Sund S, Dunwoodie SL, Chapman G, Glurich I, Steiner RD, Wohler …

  • Meha Kabra, PhD, Receives Research Training Award

    Congratulations to Meha Kabra, PhD, (Post-doctoral Research Associate in the lab of Bikash Pattnaik, PhD), who received a training award from the Stem Cell & Regenerative Medicine Center (SCRMC) for her research proposal, “CRISPR Base …

  • Pediatrics Research Week 2020 Abstract Book Now Available

    The Pediatrics Research Week 2020 Abstract Book is now available. University of Wisconsin Department of Pediatrics faculty, staff, fellows and residents submitted over 50 research abstracts for the virtual conference, which is taking place May 26-29, 2020. …

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