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Krystel Huxlin, Ph.D.

Contact Information

Phone Numbers

Office: (585) 275-5495

Research Labs

Faculty Appointments

Biography

Research

Broadly, my research is focused on better understanding how the damaged, adult visual system can repair itself. Is the system capable of such plasticity? What are the principles governing such processes?

Our first research avenue examines neuronal changes that underlie and behavioral properties that characterize recovery of visual functions after visual cortex damage in adulthood. Psychophysical techniques are used to both measure and retrain visual performance following damage to the visual cortex. In the past, neurochemical studies in an animal model allowed us to correlate neuronal changes with the degree and type of visual recovery attained as a function of training. For the last 10 years, we have applied this knowledge to humans with cortical blindness (in the form of hemianopsia or quadrantanopsia). In addition to behavioral characterization of the properties of the recovery that can be attained with different training paradigms, we are interested in using attentional and other manipulations (e.g. transcranial magnetic stimulation, pharmacology) to enhance the recovery potential of the damaged visual system. Functional MRI is then used to study how the remaining cortical circuitry is altered by both damage and subsequently, by training. It is hoped that this body of work will not only improve our understanding of the plasticity inherent in brain-damaged individuals with vision loss, but will also ultimately improve how we treat this underserved patient population in the clinic.

Our second research avenue studies the interplay between corneal wound healing and optical quality of the eye. The eye is the sensory input to the entire visual system and it relies on a transparent and properly-shaped cornea. If the cornea is damaged, this impairs all of vision. Our laboratory is unique in having developed a behaviorally fixating animal model in which we can reliably measure optical aberrations of the eye with the same degree of precision (and using the same instruments) as in humans. We can then study corneal damage and scarring - one of the major causes of blindness world-wide, and for which there is currently no effective treatment without side-effects. Using our unique animal mode, we can correlate optical aberrations, corneal structure and biology in health and disease. Such complex correlation is essential if we are to gain the knowledge necessary to design better ways of correcting optical aberrations, with minimal side-effects in terms of corneal and ocular health.

By applying the knowledge gained in this work, we are also contributing to the development of what we hope will be a safe, non-damaging form of laser refractive correction. This method is named femtosecond-IRIS or Blue-IRIS. Instead of ablating the cornea to change its shape, IRIS uses a femtosecond laser to alter its refractive index, thus altering the cornea's light-bending properties. This fully-customizable method appears to cause no corneal scarring and opens up both a new area of theoretical investigations into corneal biology related to laser-tissue interactions. It may also allow us to create a whole new paradigm for vision correction in humans.

Credentials

Education

1991
BS | Australia-U Sydney Fac Med
Neuroscience

1994
PhD | Australia-U Sydney Fac Med
Neuroscience

Publications

Journal Articles

8/28/2018
Jeon KI, Hindman HB, Bubel T, McDaniel T, DeMagistris M, Callan C, Huxlin KR. "Corneal myofibroblasts inhibit regenerating nerves during wound healing." Scientific reports.. 2018 Aug 28; 8(1):12945. Epub 2018 Aug 28.

2/27/2018
Huxlin KR, Cavanaugh MR. "Author response: Visual discrimination training improves Humphrey perimetry in chronic cortically induced blindness." Neurology.. 2018 Feb 27; 90(9):437.

12/10/2017
Cavanaugh MR, Barbot A, Carrasco M, Huxlin KR. "Feature-based attention potentiates recovery of fine direction discrimination in cortically blind patients." Neuropsychologia.. 2017 Dec 10; Epub 2017 Dec 10.

Books & Chapters

2013
Chapter Title: The future of ReLACS and Femtosecond Laser Ocular Surgery
Book Title: Textbook of Refractive Laser-Assisted Cataract Surgery (ReLACS)
Author List: Krueger, R.R, Parel, J-M., Huxlin, K.R., Knox, W.H. and Hohla, K.
Edited By: R.R. Krueger, J.H. Talamo, R. L. Lindstrom
Published By: Springer2013 in New York

2007
Chapter Title: Human Vision
Book Title: The Focal Encyclopedia of Photography
Author List: Huxlin, K.R.
Edited By: M. Peres, G. Romer, D. Malin, M. Osterman, N. Stuart, S. Williams, F. Frey and T
Published By: Elsevier Inc2007

2006
Chapter Title: Neurochemical changes underlying motion perception plasticity after visual cortex lesions
Book Title: Reprogramming The Cerebral Cortex
Author List: Huxlin, K.R.
Edited By: S.G. Lomber and J. J. Eggermont
Published By: Oxford University Press2006

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Videos

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Krystel Huxlin, Ph.D. Explains visual retraining