KF Online Programs

Chemistry and Biology of Vision - A webinar with Prof. Krzysztof Palczewski

Tuesday, June 23, 2020, at 1:00pm


To see the recording of the webinar with Prof. Krzysztof Palczewski - click HERE


The internationally renowned chemist, pharmacologist, and vision scientist, Prof. Krzysztof Palczewski will present an online lecture: Chemistry and Biology of Vision. He will discuss visual perception and pharmacological treatment of patients suffering from blinding diseases. Prof. Palczewski is the Irving H. Leopold Chair in Ophthalmology, Professor of Physiology & Biophysics at the University of California, Irvine, and a Member of the National Academy of Medicine. The webinar is presented as part of the KF Collegium of the Eminent Scientists Event Series.


Retinal photoreceptor cells can respond to light throughout our lives because they continuously regenerate a light-sensitive chromophore and certain essential structures. This series of reactions takes place in photoreceptor and the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) cells. Defects in many proteins involved in these processes cause photoreceptor degeneration. For example, mutations in the rhodopsin gene may cause human diseases like retinitis pigmentosa (RP) that usually result in late-onset blindness. Our long-term goal is to elucidate the molecular mechanisms of phototransduction and retinal degeneration to discover therapeutics for inherited human blinding diseases caused by mutations in phototransduction genes. This is a necessary prerequisite for developing evidence-based therapeutic approaches for treatment of these pathological conditions. Combining disciplines such as state-of-the art imaging, bioinformatics, genomics, and structural biology with classical histopathological, physiological, and biochemical methods can dramatically increase understanding of causes of inherited human retinopathies and age-related eye diseases.

Prof. Palczewski is the Irving H. Leopold Chair in Ophthalmology, Professor of Physiology & Biophysics at the University of California, Irvine (UCI). In October, 2019, he was elected to the National Academy of Medicine, one of the highest distinctions accorded to professionals in the medical sciences, healthcare and public health. Prof. Palczewski is a member of the Kosciuszko Foundation's Collegium of Eminent Scientists.

Dr. Palczewski has made critical contributions to the understanding of the molecular basis of age-related macular degeneration and inherited retinal degeneration that have led to the development of new vision treatments.

Prof. Palczewski has studied the pharmacology of vision for more than 30 years, and his work has had a tremendous impact on efforts to restore vision in people suffering from retinitis pigmentosa and other congenital mutations that result in blindness.

He is best known for discovering the structure, folding and binding properties of rhodopsin, a light-sensitive photoreceptor protein. His findings have profoundly increased our understanding of the molecular basis of vision and the structure of photoreceptor cells in the retina. His findings have also contributed to the development of new molecular therapies for age-related macular degeneration and other retinopathies.

In 2018 Prof. Palczewski moved from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland to UCI where he established the Center for Translational Vision Research at the Gavin Herbert Eye Institute, which is part of the UCI School of Medicine. There, he collaborates with a team of noted vision scientists to maximize opportunities to translate insights from basic science investigations into clinical treatments.

Dr. Palczewski holds 29 issued and nine pending patents and he has received several prestigious accolades, including the 2015 Bressler Prize in Vision Science and the inaugural 2014 Beckman-Argyros Award in Vision Research.

Dr. Palczewski is the only person to have won both the Cogan Award (1996) for the most promising young vision scientist and the Friedenwald Award (2014) for continuously outstanding ophthalmology research awarded by the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology. His work has been cited more than 46,000 times, with an h-index impact factor of 115, according to Google Scholar.

Dr. Palczewski earned a Ph.D. in biochemistry at the Wrocław University of Science and Technology in Poland.


The Collegium of Eminent Scientists Event Series was founded by the Kosciuszko Foundation in 2016, with the goal of bringing renown U.S. scientists of Polish descent to the Foundation to share their knowledge and research with the Foundation's community. The series features distinguished speakers giving lectures on a verity of topics across science and related fields. Past speakers in the series include: Nobel Prize Winner in Chemistry, Prof. Roald Hoffmann, multiple candidate for the Nobel Prize, molecular biologist, Prof. Waclaw Szybalski and one of the world's foremost researchers in the field of polymer chemistry, Prof. Krzysztof Matyjaszewski. More about the KF Collegium of Eminent Scientists click HERE 

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