> Home > Vision award > Award Recipients > 2008

2008: Nathans & Yau

King-Wai Yau

King-Wai Yau made major contributions to elucidating the light responses of rods and cones and to solving the underlying phototransduction mechanism, including establishing cGMP as the messenger for photo-excitation and Ca2+ as the messenger for photo-adaptation. He also contributed greatly to understanding the intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells, which are non-rod/non-cone photoreceptors mediating circadian photoentrainment and other nonimageforming visual functions. Among other discoveries, he found that vitelliform macular dystrophy results from mutations of a new chloride channel protein. Dr. Yau’s work may provide a significant step towards uncovering fundamental molecular mechanisms of vision.

Jeremy Nathans

Jeremy Nathans has made fundamental discoveries in basic and clinical vision science. Nathans isolated the genes encoding the human visual pigments; he defined the molecular and biochemical basis of inherited variation in color vision; he elucidated the biochemical basis of multiple inherited retinopathies; and he discovered unexpected mechanisms that regulate rod and cone photoreceptor development. Nathans’ research has illuminated a broad landscape in human genetics, molecular and cellular neurobiology, developmental biology, and ophthalmology.