Ophthalmology And Visual Sciences

Stewart Thompson, MS, PhD


Assistant Professor of

Contact Information

Primary Office: 4111  MERF
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: 319-353-5752

Email: stewart-thompson@uiowa.edu
Web: Photosensory Biology Laboratory


BS, Biochemistry, Kingston University
MS, Neuroscience, King’s College of the University of London
PhD, Physiology, Imperial College of the University of London

Post Doctorate, Postdoctoral Research, University of Toronto
Post Doctorate, Ophthalmology, University of Iowa

Research Summary

Detection of light in the eye serves two distinct functions: spatial awareness (vision), and regulation of physiology and behavioural state (irradiance responses). This dual role means that eye disease that disrupts vision can also adversely affect health and performance. Documented effects of abnormal irradiance detection include disrupted circadian rhythms and sleep, reduced alertness and depressed mood. It is therefore clear that in eye disease, abnormal irradiance detection can negatively affect quality of life. However, the manner in which different eye diseases affect this critical role of the eye remains virtually unexplored. An integrative approach primarily in genetic mouse models is being used to understand: diseases and disease mechanisms that cause altered irradiance responses, the retinal cellular basis of irradiance detection for distinct responses to light, mechanisms of plasticity in retinal irradiance coding circuits, and disruptions in physiology because of altered irradiance detection that contribute to deficits in health and performance. Knowledge of the effects and basis for abnormal irradiance coding will be used to develop patient disorder management and prevention rationales, such as lighting and sleep regimens. This is complimented by collaborative contribution to studies of eye disease pathology, disease mechanism and therapeutic efficacy. related link: Photosensory Biology

Center, Program and Institute Affiliations

Carver Family Center for Macular Degeneration
Institute for Clinical and Translational Science
Stephen A. Wynn Institute for Vision Research

Selected Publications

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van Oosterhout F, Fisher S, van Diepen H, Watson T, Houben T, Vanderleest H, Thompson S, Peirson S, Foster R, Meijer J.  Ultraviolet Light Provides a Major Input to Non-Image-Forming Light Detection in Mice.  Current Biology.  2012 August. 22(15):1397-1402.

Thompson S, Whiting R, Kardon R, Stone E, Narfstrom K.  Effects of Hereditary Retinal Degeneration Due to a Cep 290 Mutation on the Feline Pupil Light Reflex.  Veterinary Ophthalmology.  2010. 13(3):151-7.

Sundaresan P, Vijayalakshmi P, Thompson S, Ko A, Fingert J, Stone E.  Mutations That are a Common Cause of Leber Congenital Amaurosis in North America are Rare in Southern India.  Molecular Vision.  2010. 

Date Last Modified: 06/06/2016 - 13:17:48