One interest of my laboratory is to elucidate the mechanisms of activation and deactivation of vertebrate visual pigments. Our approach is to use the tools of molecular biology in concert with in vitro biochemistry to explore the details of these mechanisms. At present we are focusing on the role of phosphorylation in the inactivation of the rod specific visual pigment, rhodopsin.
A second interest of my laboratory is the evolution of color vision in aquatic mammals and mechanisms of spectral tuning in color opsins. We have recently discovered that cetaceans do not have dichromatic color vision that is typically found in diurnal terrestrial mammals. We are currently investigating the role of color vision in pinnipeds and manatees.