Faculty Detail   
Campus Address AB 720 Zip 0107
Phone  (205) 934-7757
E-mail  ktkeyser@uab.edu
Other websites www.vsrc.ua.edu

Faculty Appointment(s)
Appointment Type Department Division Rank
Primary  Dept of Optometry & Vision Science  Dept of Optometry & Vision Science Professor
Secondary  Biomedical Engineering  Biomedical Engineering Professor
Secondary  Cell, Developmntl, & Integrative Biology  Cell, Developmntl, & Integrative Biology Professor
Secondary  Neurobiology  Neurobiology Professor
Center  Pathology   Cell Adhesion & Matrix Research Center Professor
Center  Center for Biophysical Sciences/Engineering  Center for Biophysical Sciences/Engineering Professor
Center  Civitan International Research Center  Civitan International Research Center Professor
Center  Comp Arthritis, MSK, Bone & Autoimmunity Ctr  Comp Arthritis, MSK, Bone & Autoimmunity Ctr Professor
Center  Comprehensive Cancer Center  Comprehensive Cancer Center Professor
Center  General Clinical Research Center  Comprehensive Neuroscience Center Professor
Center  General Clinical Research Center  Ctr for Clinical & Translational Sci Professor
Center  Cell, Developmntl, & Integrative Biology  Ctr for Exercise Medicine Professor
Center  General Clinical Research Center  Minority Health & Research Center Professor
Center  General Clinical Research Center  Nephrology Research & Training Center Professor
Center  Vision Sciences (Org-Ret)  Vision Science Research Center (Org-Ret) Professor

Graduate Biomedical Sciences Affiliations
Cell, Molecular, & Developmental Biology 
Cellular and Molecular Biology Program 
Integrative Biomedical Sciences 
Medical Scientist Training Program 
Neuroscience Graduate Program 

Biographical Sketch 
Kent T. Keyser, Professor of Physiological Optics and Director of the Vision Science Research Center. He earned a B.A. (1972) in Biology from Oberlin College and a Ph.D. (1980) in Neurobiology from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Prior to joining the UAB faculty in 1995, Dr. Keyser was an Associate Research Neuroscientist in the Department of Neurosciences, UCSD. He enjoys literature, skiing and films.

Research/Clinical Interest
Acetylcholine and Ach receptors
Dr. Keyser's research interests center on acetylcholine (Ach) and Ach receptor expression in the retina. Acetylcholine is used as a transmitter in many portions of the vertebrate nervous system and much information is available concerning the cells that contain it and its synthesis and release mechanisms. However, until recently little was known about Ach receptors and the neurons that express them. During the past several years various groups have 1) purified the ligand-binding (a) and structural (b) subunits of neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs), 2) cloned their cDNAs, and 3) raised antibodies against them. These studies have revealed that there are at least 11 different subunits which, in various combinations, can theoretically yield a vast number of nAChR subtypes, each characterized by a unique subunit composition and pharmacological profile. Therefore, the effects of Ach or its agonists depends upon which receptor subtype is present. Acetylcholine is known to act as a transmitter in the retina and to affect the response properties of many ganglion cells, including those that display directional selectivity. These receptors appear to be present at both synaptic and extra synaptic locations. Dr. Keyser’s research program involves the investigation of the normal pattern of expression of nAChRs in the retina during embryogenesis and in the adult animal, with the goal of understanding how activation of Ach receptor subtypes modulates visual processing. Another aspect of the research involves the detection of additional receptor subunits/subtypes and the determination of what receptor subunits are found together within individual receptor complexes. Among his long term goals are studies of the factors that regulate expression of different Ach receptor subtypes in various areas of the nervous system.

Selected Publications 
Cimini BA, Strang CE, Wotring VE, Keyser KT and Eldred WD. Role of acetylcholine in nitric oxide production in the salamander retina. J Comp Neurol 507: 1952-1963, 2008.  18273886 
Dmitriev AV, Dmitrieva NA, Keyser KT and Mangel SC. Multiple functions of cation-chloride cotransporters in the fish retina. Vis Neurosci 24: 635-645, 2007.  17900379 
Renna JM, Strang CE, Amthor FR and Keyser KT. Strychnine, but not PMBA, inhibits neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptors expressed by rabbit retinal ganglion cells. Vis Neurosci 24: 503-511, 2007.  17900376 
Strang CE, Renna JM, Amthor FR and Keyser KT. Nicotinic acetylcholine receptor expression by directionally selective ganglion cells. Vis Neurosci 24: 523-533, 2007.  17686198 
Ding C, Walcott B and Keyser KT . The alpha1- and beta1-adrenergic modulation of lacrimal gland function in the mouse. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 48: 1504-1510, 2007.  17389478 
Dmitrieva NA, Strang CE and Keyser KT. Expression of alpha 7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors by bipolar, amacrine, and ganglion cells of the rabbit retina. J Histochem Cytochem 55: 461-476, 2007.  17189521