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The over all goal of the research in the Wolfrum lab is elucidating the function of vertebrate sensory cell function. Our studies are aimed to understand the basic cellular mechanisms by which cytoskeletal molecules and protein complexes contribute to the function and viability of sensory cells. In our research, we focus on ciliated sensory cells: olfactory cells in the nose, hair cells in the inner ear, but predominantly on photoreceptor cells in the retina. The results of these approaches allow us to elucidate mechanisms of retinal degeneration and evaluate gene therapeutic strategies.
In our projects, we combine molecular biology with protein biochemistry and cell biology to study sensory cell functions. A main expertise of the lab is high resolution immunocytochemistry by light/fluorescence microscopy, confocal microscopy and electron microscopy, which we use as major analytical tools for our approaches.