The Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Department of Ophthalmology
The Department of Ophthalmology

Faculty Biography


Stephen L. Mills, Ph.D.


Clinical and Research Interests:


The richness of the visual world is extraordinary – the process of seeing form, color and motion from twilight to bright sunny days is so complex that the work of coding these sensations is divided among 15-20 independent parallel channels before leaving the retina.  The work in my lab is designed to discover which retinal neurons comprise these circuits and what types of information each circuit encodes.

Obtaining this information involves the convergence of several anatomical and physiological techniques.  In my lab, we use fluorescent microscopy, confocal microscopy, immunocytochemistry, dye injection and electrical recording coupled with specially designed visual stimuli to discover the individual circuits and their functions.  Special topics of interest include the many different roles that gap junctions play in retinal processing and the role of correlated firing in coding visual stimuli.

10 Representative Publications:

Hoshi H., Liu, W.L., Massey, S.C. and Mills, S.L. (2009) ON Inputs to the OFF Layer:  Bipolar Cells Which Break the Stratification Rules of the Retina. J. Neurosci., 29:8875-8883, 2009.

Hoshi H and Mills, S.L. (2009) Components and properties of the G3 ganglion cell circuit in the rabbit retina. J. Comp. Neurol., 513:69-82.

Mills, Stephen L., Xia, Xiao-bo, Hoshi , Hideo, Firth, Sally I., Rice, Margaret E., Frishman, Laura J. and Marshak, David W. (2007) Dopaminergic modulation of tracer coupling in a ganglion-amacrine cell network. Visual Neuroscience. 24:593-608.

Hoshi, H., O'Brien, J., and Mills, S.L. (2006) A novel fluorescent tracer for visualizing coupled cells in neural circuits of living tissue, J. Histochem. Cytochem. 54:1169.

Xia, X.-B. and Mills, S.L. (2004) Gap junctional regulatory mechanisms in the AII amacrine cell of the rabbit retina. Visual Neurosci. 21:791-805.

Mills, S.L. and Catania, K.C. (2004) Identification of retinal neurons in a regressive rodent eye (the naked mole-rat). Visual Neurosci. 21:107-117.

O'Brien, J., Nguyen, H.B. and Mills S.L. (2004) Cone photoreceptors in bass retina use two connexins to mediate electrical coupling. J. Neuroscience 24: 5632-5642.

Mills, Stephen L., O'Brien, J.J., Li, W., O'Brien, J. and Massey, S.C. (2001) Rod pathways in the mammalian retina utilize Connexin 36. Journal of Comparative Neurology, 436:336-350.

Mills, Stephen L. and Massey, S.C. (2000) A series of biotinylated tracers distinguishes three types of gap junctions in retina. Journal of Neuroscience, 20:8629-8636. 

Mills, Stephen L. and Massey, S.C. (1995) Differential properties of two gap junctional pathways made by AII amacrine cells. Nature 377, 734-737. 


Faculty Biography

Stephen L. Mills, Ph.D.
  • Stephen L. Mills, Ph.D.
    Associate Professor
  • Department of Ophthalmology
  • University of Texas-Houston Medical School
    6431 Fannin Street, MSB-7024
    Houston, Texas 77030
  • phone: (713) 500-5998
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