Zapping cells with electricity to uncover the retina’s secrets

Imagine thousands of volts of electricity zipping over just a few millimetres. That’s how Dr. Pierre Mattar and his team will push genes and other large molecules into cells, using a nifty tool called an electroporator. A recently appointed scientist at The Ottawa Hospital, Dr. Mattar’s research is focussed on the retina, the part of the eye that is responsible for sensing light. Retinal cell death plays a role in all of the main causes of blindness. Once killed, retinal cells are lost forever. Dr. Mattar’s goal is to understand how the retina develops and how it degenerates in certain diseases. His research could lead to new approaches to regenerate the retina and prevent or reverse vision loss. With donor support, The Ottawa Hospital is investing in a state-of-the-art electroporator to help advance the work of Dr. Mattar and other researchers.