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About us > Our People > Research Students > Mr. CATRAL Kirk Patrick Carreon
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Mr. CATRAL Kirk Patrick Carreon

Mr. CATRAL Kirk Patrick Carreon
MPhil Student

ORCiD 0000-0001-6458-4875

Title of project:
TAM Expression Patterns in Aging Retinal Pigment Epithelial Cells and Its Implication in the Development of Retinal Degeneration

Retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells play an indispensable role in the diurnal digestion of the ever-accumulating photoreceptor outer segments (POS). New POS is produced on a daily basis to replace its distal ends containing harmful oxidant products created from visual phototransduction. Central to this digestion process are the TAM receptors – a group of three receptor tyrosine kinases that are responsible in identifying apoptotic markers on the POS apical villi and initiating the phagocytic digestion. It is well-established that accumulation of these POS from gene knockout of TAM results in retinal degeneration and eventual loss of vision as seen in retinal degenerative animal models such as RCS rats. However, it is still unclear how the natural process of aging affects the expression patterns of TAM and their associated signalling pathways. My research focuses on providing a deeper understanding of how TAM exerts its role in the RPE cell and molecular level, and to uncover the effects of aging on TAM and their associated pathways. The long-term goal is to identify novel molecular targets for pharmaceutical treatment of retinal degenerations.