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About Our Research

Frans Vinberg, PhD, works to understand mechanisms in the retina that enable vision over a wide range of light intensities and colors, and how these mechanisms are affected in major blinding diseases including age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy.

Frans Vinberg, PhD.
Frans Vinberg, PhD.

Seeing the Problem

How AMD Affects Vision

Millions of Americans are blind or severely visually impaired, and a majority of these blinding diseases affect the retina. Among the most common retinal diseases are age-related macular degeneration (AMD), diabetic retinopathy (DR), and retinitis pigmentosa (RP). In most cases, there is no treatment, and patients with these diseases can’t live independently or work. 

The Vinberg Laboratory is using the latest technology and experimental approaches to understand how light signaling in the retina is affected in AMD, DR, and RP. This understanding is critical for developing new treatments to cure or slow visual impairment and blindness. 

We use animal models of disease as well as human eye tissue from healthy as well as AMD- and DR-affected donors. We have established unique collaborations with Utah Lions Eye Bank, San Diego Eye Bank, and Life Sharing to get access to human donor eyes within 0–4 hours postmortem. These tissues allow us to study functional aspects of the human fovea and macula.

Discovering New Treatment Strategies to Cure Blindness Caused by Neurodegeneration

One person can’t change the world. In our laboratory, we aim to provide students, postdocs, and staff the environment and resources that allow them to thrive and become successful whether in academia, industry or even starting their own company. 

Let’s not forget that science should be fun. We should be excited to make discoveries while also taking care of ourselves. The physical and mental health of each lab member is one of our priorities. We can be productive in the long term only if we are physically and mentally healthy.

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Lab Research

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Lab Publications

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Utah Lions Eye Bank

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News from the Vinberg Laboratory

Life after Death for the Human Eye

Vinberg Lab scientists are part of a team that revived light-sensing neuron cells in organ donor eyes and restored communication between them as part of a series of discoveries that stand to transform brain and vision research.

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New 5-Year R01 Funded

The Lab in May 2023 received its second R01 grant, “Functional plasticity in retinal degenerative disease.” This work will investigate how signaling downstream of photoreceptors is impacted during retinal degenerative disease, important work for development of sight-saving therapies.

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A New Light on Human Color Vision

Backed by a five-year, $2 million National Eye Institute Research Project Grant, the lab of Frans Vinberg, PhD, at the John A. Moran Eye Center is seeking a deeper understanding of photoreceptors and how major blinding diseases, including age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy, affect them.

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Contact Us

Email Dr. Vinberg at for more information about his laboratory and research projects, or available positions.