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Faculty Detail    
Campus Address VH 346B Zip 0019
Phone  (205) 975-2885
Other websites

Faculty Appointment(s)
Appointment Type Department Division Rank
Secondary  Neurobiology  Neurobiology Associate Professor
Primary  Dept of Optometry & Vision Science  Dept of Optometry & Vision Science Professor
Center  General Clinical Research Center  Comprehensive Neuroscience Center Professor
Center  Center for Biophysical Sciences/Engineering  Center for Biophysical Sciences/Engineering Professor
Center  Dept of Optometry & Vision Science  Vision Science Research Ctr Professor
Center  Civitan International Research Center  Civitan International Research Center Professor

Graduate Biomedical Sciences Affiliations
Medical Scientist Training Program 
Neuroscience Graduate Program 
Pathobiology and Molecular Medicine 

Biographical Sketch 
Timothy W. Kraft, Associate Professor of Physiological Optics and Associate Scientist in the VSRC. One of 8 children born and raised on Kodiak Island in the gulf of Alaska, he received his undergraduate degree in biology from M.I.T. and a Ph.D. (1985) in Physiology from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. His research into the neurobiology of color vision began at M.I. T. and shifted to primate retinal tissue during his postdoctoral years at Stanford and the Ophthalmology Department at the University of California at San Francisco. That work included the first electrophysiologic recordings from individual human rod and cone photoreceptors. His association with Ophthalmology Departments at UCSF and here at UAB have led him to investigate the pathophysiology of photoreceptors from subjects with retinal degeneration.

Society Memberships
Organization Name Position Held Org Link
Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology  Member   
Society for Neurosciences  Member   

Research/Clinical Interest
Physiology and Pathophysiology of Photoreceptors
My laboratory works on the physiology and biophysics of photoreceptors, the retinal cells that convert light energy into electrochemical signals. By studying the properties of rod and cone ells one can understand how the responses of these nerve cells shape and influence human visual behavior. I use chipmunk, rat and porcine retinal tissue to directly measure the electronic response of photoreceptors to light. Transgenic animal models of retinal degeneration provide an opportunity to investigate precisely how photoreceptor response properties are altered in physiologically challenging environments. By studying diseased tissues it is hoped that new understanding of both the normal phototransduction mechanisms and the progressive loss of photoreceptor signaling ability in retinal diseases will be attained. Other experiments will involve the insertion of new genes targeted specifically at the rod photoreceptors. We are exploring the differences between rod and cone phototransduction and are seeking to identify the key molecular components that determine the electrical response properties.

Selected Publications 
Publication PUBMEDID
Kraft, T. W., Allen, D., Petters, R., Hao, Y., Peng, Y.-W., and Wong, F. (2005) Altered light responses of single rod photoreceptors in transgenic pigs expressing P347L or P347S rhodopsin. Molecular Vision 11:1246-1256.  9893797 
Kraft, T. W., Schneeweis, D. M. and Schnapf, J. L. (1993). Visual transduction in human rod photoreceptors. Journal of Physiology 464:747-765.  8229828 
Levine J. S., MacNichol E. F. Jr., Kraft, T. W., and Collins, B. A. (1979). Intraretinal Distribution of Cone Pigments in Certain Teleosts, Science, 204:523-526.  432658 
Schnapf, J. L., Kraft, T. W. and Baylor, D. A. (1987). Spectral Sensitivity of human cone photoreceptors. Nature 325:439-441.  3808045 
Kraft, T. W. (1988) Photocurrents in cone photoreceptors of the Golden-mantled ground squirrel. Journal of Physiology 404:199-214.  3253431 
Kraft, T. W. and Burkhardt, D. A. (1986). Telodendrites of Cone Photoreceptors: Structure and Probable Function. Journal of Comparative Neurology 249:13-27.  2426311 
Zhang, X.,., Wensel, T. G. and Kraft, T. W (2003) GTPase regulators and photoresponses in cones of the eastern chipmunk. J Neuroscience 23(4):1287-97.  12598617 
Savtchenko, A., Kraft, T. W., Molokanova, E. and Kramer, R. H., (2001) Growth factors regulate phototransduction by modulating cyclic nucleotide-gated channels through dephosphorylation of a specific tyrosine residue Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 98(10): 5880-5885  11320223 
Hancock, H. A., and Kraft, T. W. (2004). Oscillatory potentials analysis and ERGs of normal and diabetic rats. Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science. 45(3) 1002-1008.   
L.M. Brockway, D.J. Benos, K.T. Keyser, & T.W. Kraft (2005) Blockade of amiloride-sensitive sodium channels alters the multiple component of the mammalian electroretinogram. Visual Neuroscience 22(2) pages 143-151.    
Hancock, H. A., Ready, E. L., Guidry, C., Read, R.W. and Kraft, T. W. (2005). Acute aminoglycoside retinal toxicity in vivo and in vitro. Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science. 46 (12): 4804-4808.   
Rubin, G. R., & Kraft, T. W. (2007). Flicker assessment of rod and cone function in a model of retinal degeneration. E-pub 8.03.07, Documenta Ophthalmologica   
Kraft, T. W., Makino, C. L., Mathies, R. A., Lugtenberg, J., Schnapf, J. L., and Baylor, D. A. (1990). Color Vision and Cone Excitation. Cold Spring Harbor Symposium on Quantitative Biology, Vol. LV, The Brain, 635-641.