StriatechJournal Club

Postsynaptic Neuronal Activity Promotes Retinal Axon Regeneration

Supraja Varadarajan, Ph.D. - Stanford University, School of Medicine, Huberman Lab

Live date was Jun 21st, 2023

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Supraja’s presentation will provide insights into mechanisms that promote retinal ganglion cell (RGC) axon regeneration in vertebrates. Her work will describe a distal optic tract injury model that can be used to investigate re-connectivity of RGC axons to central targets in the brain. She will also describe how increased neural activity in retinorecipient neurons in the pretectum promotes RGC axon regeneration, and rescues deficits in optomotor function caused by injury. Techniques used include intravitreal injections, chemogenetics, anatomical tracing, optomotor testing, and histology.

Key Topics

  • Key signals involved in visual circuit formation during development
  • New injury model for investigating reconnecting visual circuits
  • Current and future potential therapeutic treatments for restoring vision

Learning Objectives

Attendees will learn about the roadblocks that hinder RGC axon regeneration. They will also learn a brief summary of the advances made in promoting regeneration and hear about new strategies to reconnect regenerating RGC axons with their target neurons.

Background Reading

Postsynaptic Neuronal Activity Promotes Regeneration of Retinal Axons. Varadarajan SG, Wang F, Dhande OS, Le P, Duan X, Huberman AD.
Cell Rep. 2023 May 30;42(5):112476.
doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2023.112476.

Restoration of Visual Function by Enhancing Conduction in Regenerated Axons. Bei F, Lee HHC, Liu X, Gunner G, Jin H, Ma L, Wang C, Hou L, Hensch TK, Frank E, Sanes JR, Chen C, Fagiolini M, He Z.
Cell. 2016 Jan 14;164(1-2):219-232.
doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2015.11.036.

Optogenetic Stimulation of the Superior Colliculus Confers Retinal Neuroprotection in a Mouse Glaucoma Model. Geeraerts E, Claes M, Dekeyster E, Salinas-Navarro M, De Groef L, Van den Haute C, Scheyltjens I, Baekelandt V, Arckens L, Moons L.
J Neurosci. 2019 Mar 20;39(12):2313-2325.
doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0872-18.2018

Neural activity promotes long-distance, target-specific regeneration of adult retinal axons. Lim JH, Stafford BK, Nguyen PL, Lien BV, Wang C, Zukor K, He Z, Huberman AD.
Nat Neurosci. 2016 Aug;19(8):1073-84.
doi: 10.1038/nn.4340


Central nervous system regeneration. Varadarajan SG, Hunyara JL, Hamilton NR, Kolodkin AL, Huberman AD.
Cell. 2022 Jan 6;185(1):77-94.
doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2021.10.029.

About the speaker

Supraja Varadarajan, Ph.D.

Supraja Varadarajan, Ph.D.

Incoming Assistant Professor at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
Stanford University, School of Medicine, Huberman Lab


Supraja obtained her PhD from the University of California Los Angeles and completed her postdoctoral work at Stanford University in the lab of Andrew Huberman. She is primarily interested in the mechanisms that regulate axon growth in both health and disease. To support her postdoctoral work on axon regeneration in the visual system she was awarded a Knights Templar Eye Foundation Grant. Supraja’s future research goals aim to understand the molecular, and cellular mechanisms underlying activity-induced regeneration, with the goal of applying this approach to glaucoma.

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