Van Hook Lab

Welcome to the Van Hook Lab

Truhlsen Eye Institute 

Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences

University of Nebraska Medical Center

Omaha, NE 68198


Our lab explores synaptic transmission between neurons in the retina and brain in health and during development and neurodegenerative disease. We use a combination of patch-clamp electrophysiology, anatomical and histochemical techniques, calcium imaging, and two-photon microscopy to characterize unexplored retinal synapses with an eye toward the ways that synaptic function gives rise to the unique processing capabilities of retinal circuits. We also make use of mouse genetic tools and models of retinal neurodegenerative diseases, such as glaucoma, to determine how the function of neurons in the retina and the brain are altered at the earliest stages of disease, before substantial loss of neurons. This work is intended to provide a basic understanding of how the retina relays visual information to the brain as well as insight into disease mechanisms in order to inform novel diagnostic and therapeutic strategies for detecting and treating retinal disease.