Ellen R. Weiss, PhD

Ellen R. Weiss, PhD

Professor
UNC-Chapel Hill 

5340B MBRB
Campus Box 7545
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7545
919-966-7683


Education and Training

Franklin and Marshall College, BA, 1978
University of Tennessee, PhD, 1985
University of Massachusetts Medical Center, Postdoctoral, 1985-1988
National Jewish Center, Postdoctoral, 1988-1989

Areas of Interest

My laboratory has involved in understanding the mechanism of visual signal transduction in the vertebrate retina. Our early studies focused on a structure/function analysis of rhodopsin’s interaction with its binding partners, the G protein transducin, the G protein-coupled receptor kinase, GRK1, and visual arrestin. We were one of the first laboratories to clone GRK7 and identify its function as a cone opsin kinase. My laboratory was also instrumental in defining the heterogeneity of GRK1 and GRK7 expression in vertebrates, leading to a re-evaluation of the appropriate models for human cone phototransduction. In particular, this work clarified differences in pathophysiology between retinas from Oguchi disease patients and the GRK1-/- mouse, which serves as a model for the disease. Our present efforts are directed towards understanding the roles played by GRK1 and GRK7 in cone signaling and pursuing the novel observation that GRK1 and GRK7 are phosphorylated by cAMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA) in model animals. Recently, we have begun to analyze the fundamental causes of diseases resulting in retinal degeneration using metabolomics, an avenue of research that has been strengthened by our close collaboration with the NIH-funded Eastern Regional Comprehensive Metabolomics Resource Core (RCMRC) at RTI International. 

Awards and Honors

2015             RTI University Scholar Award

1992-1997    Established Investigator Award, American Heart Association