Benjamin Reese received his B.A. degree in Experimental Psychology from UC Santa Barbara (1980; working with G.H. Jacobs), including 2 years associated with the Education Abroad Program at the University of Sussex (1976-78; N.J. Mackintosh). He received his D.Phil. in Experimental Psychology at the University of Oxford (1984; A. Cowey), followed by five years as a post-doc in the Department of Human Anatomy (1989; R.W. Guillery). He joined the faculty at UC Santa Barbara in 1989, in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, holding an affiliated appointment in the Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology. He has held visiting research affiliations at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (R. Linden), the University of Verona (C. Marzi and G. Tassinari), the University of Pisa (L. Galli-Resta), and the University of Melbourne (S.-S. Tan). He served for 6 years as Associate Editor for the journal Visual Neuroscience, followed by 7 years as Editor-in-Chief. His laboratory is supported by the National Eye Institute.
The Reese laboratory is defining the organizing principles and developmental mechanisms governing the formation of the retinal architecture. Various projects are examining the transformation of an undifferentiated retinal neuroepithelium into the mature structure, including the clonal expansion of retinal progenitors, the migratory behavior of distinct types of newborn retinal neuroblasts, the pattern formation in retinal mosaics, dendritic differentiation and establishment of connectivity within the developing plexiform layers, and the control of naturally occurring cell death. Recombinant inbred strains of mice and quantitative trait locus (QTL) analysis are used to identify causal genes and their sequence variants modulating the demographic properties that characterize the various types of retinal cell populations.