Tudor Badea, M.D., Ph.D.


Retinal Circuit Development and Genetics


Building 6, Room 331,6 Center Drive,Bethesda,MD-20892-0610



Research Topics

The goal of our research is to understand how neuronal circuits function and how they develop. Our approach is to develop molecular genetic techniques in mice to specifically label individual neuronal cell types and describe their anatomy and physiology, their developmental history, their molecular composition, and their function within the neuronal circuit. We hope to inform both diagnostic and therapeutic approaches aimed at curing or replacing damaged neuronal circuits. Our focus is on Retinal Ganglion Cells (RGC), the neurons that convey the light information from the eye to the brain. We are using Dre and Cre conditional Knock-In alleles targeted at the loci of RGC specific genes to label individual neurons and induce gene manipulations in single cell or single cell type specific manner. Using this methodology, we can then ask how groups or types of RGCs develop and target specific retinorecipient areas of the brain. We also study the molecular mechanisms by which these cells develop, using cell purification protocols based on our marking technique, and deep sequencing gene expression profiling. In addition, using our genetic markers, we can manipulate individual cell types or groups, and investigate their role within the visual circuit, based on electrophysiological or visual behavior analyses.


Dr. Badea received a M.D. from Iuliu Hatieganu Medical University in Cluj, Romania, a M.A. in Biological Sciences from Columbia University in New York, under the mentorship of Rafael Yuste and Darcy Kelley, and a Ph.D. degree in Biochemistry and Cellular and Molecular Biology from Johns Hopkins Medical School, under the mentorship of Jeremy Nathans. He then completed postdoctoral training in the lab of Jeremy Nathans, working on molecular genetic approaches for the study of neuronal cell type identification, development, and function. He joined the National Eye Institute as a Tenure Track Investigator in 2010, and is heading the Retinal Circuits Development and Genetics Unit of the Neurobiology-Neurodegeneration and Repair Laboratory. His major interest is in the development and functional significance of neuronal morphology, with a specific focus on Retinal Ganglion Cells.

Selected Publications

  1. Sajgo S, Ghinia MG, Brooks M, Kretschmer F, Chuang K, Hiriyanna S, Wu Z, Popescu O, Badea TC. Molecular codes for cell type specification in Brn3 retinal ganglion cells. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2017;114(20):E3974-E3983.

  2. Parmhans N, Sajgo S, Niu J, Luo W, Badea TC. Characterization of retinal ganglion cell, horizontal cell, and amacrine cell types expressing the neurotrophic receptor tyrosine kinase Ret. J Comp Neurol. 2018;526(4):742-766.

  3. Muzyka VV, Brooks M, Badea TC. Postnatal developmental dynamics of cell type specification genes in Brn3a/Pou4f1 Retinal Ganglion Cells. Neural Dev. 2018;13(1):15.

  4. Chuang K, Nguyen E, Sergeev Y, Badea TC. Novel Heterotypic Rox Sites for Combinatorial Dre Recombination Strategies. G3 (Bethesda). 2015;6(3):559-71.

  5. Kretschmer F, Tariq M, Chatila W, Wu B, Badea TC. Comparison of optomotor and optokinetic reflexes in mice. J Neurophysiol. 2017;118(1):300-316.

This page was last updated on September 4th, 2019