William Tuten is an assistant professor in the School of Optometry at UC Berkeley. His research interests are in two areas:
Probing spatial and chromatic vision with small-spot psychophysics
During daytime, most humans are capable of perceiving fine spatial detail and a rich palette of colors. This sensory capacity is remarkable considering our visual percepts are constructed from just three types of photoreceptor signals—those arising from L, M, and S cones. To obtain an accurate estimate of the spatio-chromatic structure of the world, the circuitry of the retina and brain must process the signals originating in cones across space and time. His research team uses single-cone psychophysics to study these processes near the human fovea, where our visual sense is finest.
Structure-function relationships in retinal disease
Degenerative diseases of the outer retina result in the death of rod and cone photoreceptors. These structural losses necessarily occur at the cellular scale, and have traditionally been studied by histology—either in animal models or in post-mortem human tissue. By contrast, much of our knowledge about the functional consequences of degenerative retinal disease has been acquired using relatively coarse tools for probing vision: visual acuity measurements and conventional automated perimetry. To examine structure-function relationships at the cellular scale in living eyes, his research team uses multi-modal adaptive optics high-resolution retinal imaging in conjunction with precise cone-targeted stimulation. The tools they develop to achieve this have the potential to enhance our understanding of how retinal diseases develop, progress, and respond to therapeutic intervention.