John G. Flannery, PhD

John Flannery is a Professor of Vision Science and Neuroscience at the University of California, Berkeley. My research program is focused on understanding the genetic and biochemical underpinnings of inherited retinal degenerations and designing genetic therapies for these blinding conditions. The expertise of my laboratory group is directed toward developing viral vectors for gene therapy and gene transfer to retinal neurons, epithelia, and glia. We have developed small animal models of retinal degenerations and treatments for these conditions for over 30 years. We study both normal retinal functions as well as disease states to develop rational therapeutics for retinal dystrophies. We have over 2 decades of expertise in promoter design and AAV serotype selection and modification to generate viral vectors that can efficiently transfect retinal cells, in vivo. We have expertise in analyzing the use of these vectors in animal retina in vivo. In our studies to develop viral vectors targeted to specific classes of retinal neurons, we use ‘directed evolution’ approaches to identify capsid variants as well as promoter selection to optimize cell class-specific expression and minimize off‐target ectopic expression. We have experience in expression functional indicators of neuronal activity, e.g. genetically‐encoded calcium indicators (gCamP) as well as optically switched receptors and ion channels (Chr2, and LiGluR).