Portrait: Enrica Strettoi

Camera: Leica Monochrom
Exposure: 1/500
Aperture: f/1.7
Focal Length: 50mm
ISO: 2,500

This is my friend and colleague, Enrica Strettoi.  Enrica also studies the retina and was one of the very first to show changes in retina that occur after photoreceptors degenerate.  Enrica is one of our competitors in this field I suppose you could say, but the beauty of her work and care with which she carries her science out always impress me and help to move the field forward.  I always look forward to reading publications out of her lab as we are very close in how our laboratories are structured strategically.  Both of us want to understand how the retina is normally constructed and wired, but at least half our efforts are designed to understand how the retina changes in retinal disease like retinitis pigmentosa and age-related macular degeneration.

Our first publications in this area came out in 2003, effectively defining the field of retinal remodeling in disease as a concept, but we could not have understood what we were seeing in retinal remodeling, were it not for Enrica’s work.  Her papers, “Modifications of retinal neurons in a mouse model of retinitis pigmentosa” and “Morphological and functional abnormalities in the inner retina of the rd/rd mouse” were critical in our understanding of the generalizable changes that occur amongst neurons and glia in retinal disease.

It is amazing if you think about it, how few people actually work in specific areas of science.  There are currently, probably less than 100 people on the planet that are working in the field that Enrica and I work in, trying to understand how retinal neurons and glia change in disease.  But this seems to be true in almost every field pushing at the ragged edge of understanding which is something to think about when considering science funding.

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