Participating Faculty

Deborah Stenkamp

Deborah Stenkamp

Department:Biological Sciences, UI
Credentials:1993~Ph.D. Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine–Neuroscience
Mailing Address:Department of Biological Sciences
University of Idaho
PO Box 443051
Moscow, ID 83843-3051

Research Interests

Developmental Genetics, Regeneration, Teratology

Research Summary

The Stenkamp lab is interested in the cellular and molecular mechanisms of vertebrate retinal development and regeneration, with specific focus on the differentiation and aging of photoreceptors and ganglion cells. Zebrafish are the primary experimental models used in the lab, since they develop rapidly, have multiple photoreceptor subtypes that can be easily identified, continue to grow new retinal tissue throughout life and can be manipulated genetically.

Our major area of investigation currently is the involvement of specific factors such as the signaling protein, sonic hedgehog and the Vitamin A derivative, retinoic acid, in regulating the differentiation of rod and cone photoreceptors. The aim is to better define the sources of these factors in the developing retina and determine their effects on photoreceptors and other retinal cells by using gain-of-function and loss-of-function approaches, including the examination of specific zebrafish mutants and the use of transgenic zebrafish with inducible genes.

The laboratory is also interested in applying our knowledge of factors involved in development of retinal cells to the analysis and treatment of human visual disorders. For example, we are also pursuing the role of retinoic acid signaling in the ocular manifestations of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, and the role of sonic hedgehog signaling in the age-related loss of cone photoreceptors.

Research Publications


Stevens CB, Cameron DA, Stenkamp DL. 2011. Plasticity of photoreceptor-generating retinal progenitors revealed by prolonged retinoic acid exposure. BMC Developmental Biology 11(1):51.

Sherpa T, Hunter SS, Frey, RA, Robison BD, Stenkamp DL. 2011. Retinal proliferation response in the buphthalmic zebrafish,bugeye. Experimental Eye Research. 93(4):424-36.

Kashyap B, Frey RA, Stenkamp DL. 2011. Ethanol-Induced microphthalmia is not mediated by changes in retinoic acid or sonic hedgehog signaling during retinal neurogenesis. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research 35(9):1644-61.

Stenkamp DL. 2011. The rod photoreceptor lineage of teleost fish. Progress in Retinal and Eye Research 30(6):395-404.

Nelson SM, Mahmoud T, Beaux M 2nd, Shapiro P, McIlroy DN, Stenkamp DL. 2010. Toxic and teratogenic silica nanowires in developing vertebrate embryos. Nanomedicine : Nanotechnology, Biology, and Medicine 6(1): 93-102.

Nelson SM, Park L, Stenkamp DL. 2009. Retinal homeobox 1 is required for retinal neurogenesis and photoreceptor differentiation in embryonic zebrafish. Developmental Biology 328(1): p. 24-39.

Nelson SM, Frey RA, Wardwell SL, Stenkamp DL. 2008. The developmental sequence of gene expression within the rod photoreceptor lineage in embryonic zebrafish. Developmental Dynamics. 237(10): p. 2903-17.

Sherpa T, Fimbel SM, Mallory DE, Maaswinkel H, Spritzer SD, Sand JA, Li L, Hyde DR, Stenkamp DL. 2008. Ganglion cell regeneration following whole-retina destruction in zebrafish. Developmental Neurobiolology 68(2): p. 166-81.

Stenkamp DL, Satterfield R, Muhunthan K, Sherpa T, Vihtelic TS, Cameron DA. 2008. Age-related cone abnormalities in zebrafish with genetic lesions in sonic hedgehog. Investigative Ophthalmology and Vision Science 49(10): p. 4631-40.

Kashyap B, Frederickson LC, Stenkamp DL. 2007. Mechanisms for persistent microphthalmia following ethanol exposure during retinal neurogenesis in zebrafish embryos. Visual Neuroscience 24(3): p. 409-21.

Washington State University