The CLINRET consists of skilled scientists and clinicians with expertise and specific technical equipment for clinical diagnosis and follow-up forming close links between clinical work and basic sciences for transferring theoretical knowledge into practical work. Prof. Dr. Eberhart Zrenner serves as the principal contractor and kingpin of the research training network. Being the director of a University Eye Hospital, he has special experience in ophthalmology and running a clinic on hereditary retinal degenerations.

In the past he served as leader of a German consortium (DFG-Schwerpunkt) on retinal degenerations and is now speaker of a center core grant (DFG-SFB "Cellular Mechanisms of Sensory Systems and their interaction"). He also worked in basic science at the Max-Planck-Society for fifteen years and also at the NIH, so he is able to bridge the gap between basic sciences and clinical application. He is also head of a laboratory on experimental ophthalmology in which six basic science groups are workingon genetic, cellular and developmental aspects of retinal degeneration including molecular biological, histological, electrophysiological and neuropharmacological methods.

Routine methods include gel electrophoresis, PCR-techniques, tissue culture, DNA sequencing, radioisotope techniques, in situ hybridisation, HPLC-techniques, patch clamp techniques, electron microscopy, immunohistology, differential display and in vivo function testing of animals and humans.

Strong support will be given by other centers from Prof. Lorenz in Regensburg and Prof. Bird in London during exchange periods.

The personnel involved in the EU programme will be:
    1. Prof. Dr. Eberhart Zrenner (Head of Department),
    2. Dr. Dorothea Besch (Senior resident),
    3. Dr. Konstantin Kriegbaum (Senior resident),
    4. Dr. Thomas Wheeler-Schilling (Postdoctoral research fellow),
    5. Dr. E. Guenther (Group leader),
    6. Dr. K. Kohler (Group leader),
    7. Dr. M. Seeliger (postdoctoral research fellow),
    8. Dr. J. Kremers (Group leader),
    9. Prof. Dr. L.T. Sharpe (Group leader),
    10. Dr. B. Wissinger (Group leader),
    11. Dr. S. Kohl (postdoctoral research fellow),
    12. Dr. S. Schmidt (postdoctoral research fellow),
    13. Dr. S. Weiss (postdoctoral research fellow),
    14. Dr. F. Schaeffel (Group leader),
    15. Dr. H. Jaegle (postdoctoral research fellow),
    16. Dr. Feldkämper (postdoctoral research fellow),
    17. Dr. E. Apfelstedt-Sylla (Group leader),
    18. Prof. Dr. Lorenz (Head of Department),
    19. Prof. Dr. Bird (Head of Department).
Two most significant recent publications:

1. Kohl S, Marx T, Giddings I, Jägle H, Jacobson SG, Apfelstedt-Sylla E, Zrenner E, Sharpe LT, and Wissinger B. Total colourblindness is caused by mutations in the gene encoding the -subunit of the cone photoreceptor cGMP-gated cation channel. Nature Genetics 19:257-259, 1998.

2. Zrenner, E, Stett A, Weiss S, Aramant RB, Guenther E, Kohler K, Miliczek KD, Seiler MJ, Haemmerle H. Can subretinal microphotopiodes successfully replace degenerated photoreceptors? Vision Research 39:2555-2567, 1999.