Lukasiewicz Lab

Peter Lukasiewicz, PhD, Professor, Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences

Dr. Lukasiewicz’s profile


We are interested in understanding the synaptic interactions underlying visual information processing. The vertebrate retina is ideally suited for studying synaptic interactions. It is an accessible part of the central nervous system, which can be stimulated physiologically with light. The laboratory studies how synaptic signals mediated by subtypes of GABA and glutamate receptors are shaped in specific retinal circuits. A major interest is in how excitatory signals mediated by glutamate are affected by receptor properties and uptake mechanisms. Glutamate transporters and receptor desensitization may play a more significant role in signal shaping in the retina than in most other parts of the CNS, making the retina a model system for investigating these phenomena. We are also investigating how inhibitory signals mediated by GABAA and GABAC receptors affect visual information processing. GABAC receptors are remarkable in that they are abundant in the retina, but sparsely distributed in other parts of the CNS. Using pharmacological techniques and knockout mice, we found that these subtypes of GABA receptors have different functional properties and are differentially distributed on particular types of neurons, where each receptor may shape inhibitory signals in distinct ways. The roles of neurotransmitters in visual processing are studied by making whole-cell patch recordings from morphologically identified neurons in the retinal slice preparation. These studies will help define how the neurotransmitters glutamate and GABA function in specific neural circuits used to process different forms of visual information.


View all Dr. Lukasiewicz’s NCBI publications on PubMed»

  1. Eggers ED, Lukasiewicz PD. Interneuron circuits tune inhibition in retinal bipolar cells. J Neurophysiol. 2010 Jan;103(1):25-37. Epub 2009 Nov 11. PubMed PMID: 19906884; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2807222.
  2. Ichinose T, Lukasiewicz PD. Ambient light regulates sodium channel activity to dynamically control retinal signaling. J Neurosci. 2007 Apr 25;27(17):4756-64. PubMed PMID: 17460088.
  3. Eggers ED, Lukasiewicz PD. Receptor and transmitter release properties set the time course of retinal inhibition. J Neurosci. 2006 Sep 13;26(37):9413-25. PubMed PMID: 16971525.
  4. Sagdullaev BT, McCall MA, Lukasiewicz PD. Presynaptic inhibition modulates spillover, creating distinct dynamic response ranges of sensory output. Neuron. 2006 Jun 15;50(6):923-35. PubMed PMID: 16772173.
  5. Ichinose T, Lukasiewicz PD. Inner and outer retinal pathways both contribute to surround inhibition of salamander ganglion cells. J Physiol. 2005 Jun 1;565(Pt 2):517-35. Epub 2005 Mar 10. PubMed PMID: 15760938; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC1464530.
  6. Ichinose T, Shields CR, Lukasiewicz PD. Sodium channels in transient retinal bipolar cells enhance visual responses in ganglion cells. J Neurosci. 2005 Feb 16;25(7):1856-65. PubMed PMID: 15716422.