Joseph C. Besharse, PhD, FARVO
Marjorie & Joseph Heil Professor in Ophthalmology
Director of Research, MCW Eye Institute
Medical College of Wisconsin Eye Institute
Email Dr. Besharse
BA, Hendrix College, Conway, Arkansas, Biology and Chemistry
MA, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, Zoology
PhD, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, Zoology and Physiology
Postdoctoral Fellow, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York
The current major focus of the laboratory is the role of ciliogenesis defects and circadian clocks in retinal diseases. This includes a particular focus on hereditary photoreceptor degeneration, macular degeneration and ciliopathies. Click the links for more information about the Joseph Besharse Lab.
- Cell biology of photoreceptor membrane turnover
- Cell biology of the retinal pigment epithelium
- Circadian biology of the retina
- Cilia, ciliogenesis and ciliopathies
- Photoreceptor degenerative diseases and macular degeneration
- Tylor Lewis, Graduate Student (Cell and Developmental Biology Program)
- Sean Kundinger, Research Technologist
- Amira Pavlovich, Research Associate
- Steve Henle, Postdoctoral Fellow
- Amy Ludwig-Kubinski, Research Associate
After postdoctoral work at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, Dr. Besharse joined the faculty at Emory University School of Medicine and became a full professor of Cell Biology in 1984. From 1997 until 2016, he served as chair of MCW’s Department of Cell Biology, Neurobiology and Anatomy, and assumed his current role as director of research at the Eye Institute in 2015. His research has focused on the cell biology of photoreceptor membrane trafficking, photoreceptor disc shedding, retinal pigment epithelium phagocytosis and regulation by circadian clocks. His laboratory demonstrated that the retina and photoreceptors are independent circadian oscillators and that photoreceptor membrane trafficking is controlled through intraflagellar transport, a conserved pathway in virtually all cilia and flagella. The latter work highlights the frequent association of photoreceptor degenerations with syndromic diseases associated with cilia. His current interests are in the role of ciliogenesis defects and circadian clocks in retinal diseases. This includes a particular focus on hereditary photoreceptor degeneration, macular degeneration and ciliopathies.
Funding for this research:
NIH/NEI R01 EY03222-31-36, J C Besharse (PI), The Visual Cell-Pigment Cell Interface and Disc Turnover
This grant is directed at the mechanisms involved in photoreceptor outer segment turnover.
NIH/NEI T32 EY014537-11-15, J C Besharse (PI), Research Training Program in Vision Science
This is a training grant in vision science for a group of senior and mid-level investigators, with active and competitive research programs funded through the National Eye Institute. The objective is to prepare trainees at the pre-doctoral level for research careers in ocular and vision research.