The vertebrate retina forms from a common pool of retinal progenitor cells that give rise to an overlapping but stereotyped temporal birth-order of retinal neurons and the Müller glial cells. Previously, we performed a comprehensive analysis of the changes in gene expression across single cells (>120,000) during mouse retinal development (10 time-points from E11-P14). Using this dataset, we have identified numerous genes that display dynamic temporal expression within retinal progenitor cells and neurogenic progenitors that correlate with changes the temporal specification of retinal neurons and the Müller glia. Included within these candidate genes are both protein-coding and non-coding transcripts. In order to gain a better understanding of the temporal specification of retinal neurons, the goal of my lab is to understand the transcriptional landscape to 1) select an individual progenitor cell to exit the cell cycle, and 2) differentiate as a specific retinal cell type at the appropriate developmental time. Using a suite of both moderate to high-throughput techniques in both mouse and zebrafish, we aim to identify the evolutionarily conserved and divergent pathways that regulate the temporally controlled specification of retinal cell fates.
UMAP-dimension reduction of single-cell RNA-sequencing of mouse retinal cells across retinal development. Cells are colored by annotated cell type as determined by marker gene expression.