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Daniel Kerschensteiner, MD

Daniel Kerschensteiner, MD, associate professor of ophthalmology and visual sciences, of anatomy and neurobiology, and of biomedical engineering, is honored for his impactful research investigating the formation and function of neural circuits underlying vision

Using imaging, electrophysiological and molecular genetic approaches, Kerschensteiner’s lab has uncovered networks that generate patterned spontaneous activity, which propagates through the developing visual system and refines its connectivity. His group also has deciphered circuit mechanisms underlying the detection of object- and self-motion in the retina. Kerschensteiner has secured major research funding for his investigations, including two National Institutes of Health (NIH) RO1 grants and numerous private foundation grants. He is credited for discovering the role of neurotransmission in regulating the number of synaptic connections formed between pairs of neurons. He also discovered that activity at a neuron’s axon terminals (output) influences the connectivity of the neuron’s dendrites (input), thereby demonstrating that retrograde signals help guide the assembly of neural circuits. In a recent study, Kerschensteiner and his colleagues identified a central role for an excitatory amacrine cell in object motion detection.

Kerschensteiner’s contributions to the field of visual science are shared with the students working in his research lab, all of whom have published influential papers in peer-reviewed journals.

He earned his medical degree from Georg-August University in Göttingen, Germany, where he completed a residency in neurology. He completed postdoctoral fellowships in neuroscience and biological structure at University College London and at the University of Washington in Seattle before he joined Washington University’s faculty in 2009.

Published: 02/15/2016