Photo of David Hunt

David Hunt

Emeritus Professor, BSc PhD Sheff.

  • The University of Western Australia (M085), 35 Stirling Highway, Old AVA Building adjacent to Zoology Building, Perth campus

    6009 Perth

    Australia

  • 3317 Citations
  • 34 h-Index
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Personal profile

Biography

Professor David Hunt graduated with a BSc in Zoology in 1964 followed by a PhD in Genetics in 1967, both from the University of Sheffield, UK. After several moves, he took a lectureship in 1974 at Queen Mary College, University of London, but it was not until 1988 that he moved his research interest into the field of visual science. This led to a move in 1992 to the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology in London, with a final move to the University of Western Australia in 2010. His early work in vision was largely confined to the molecular evolution of primate colour vision but he has subsequently looked at colour vision in a range of animal species that include the lampreys, a number of deep sea fish species, limbless amphibians, snakes, several species of birds, and a number of mammals. The latter extend from new and old world monkeys, lemurs and dolphins to the monotremes (platypus) and marsupials. He has also worked closely with Moorfields Eye Hospital in London and has been responsible for the identification of the genes and mutations that are responsible for a number of inherited blinding disorders in human patients.

Roles and responsibilities

Expertise in genetics, molecular biology and biochemistry.

Future research

1. Identification and treatment of disease genes responsible for inherited retinal disease, using mouse and zebrafish models.

2. Application of Next Generation Sequencing to the study of the evolution of the visual system in vertebrates.

3.

Funding overview

1. MRC project grant (3 years): "The developmental genetics of the catecholamines and other neurotransmitters". Value £9,760. 1972-75.
2. MRC project grant (3 years): "Congenital defects in the uptake and binding of trace elements". Value £15,027. 1976-79.
3. MRC project grant (3 years): "A study of cellular copper-binding in the mottled mouse mutants". Value £31,986. 1979-82.
4. University of London Central Research Fund for £934. 1982.
5. Visiting Research Fellowship awarded by University of Melbourne, Australia. Value A$7,000. 1983.
6. Wellcome Trust project grant (3 years): "The molecular genetics of vision", with Prof J K Bowmaker and Dr J D Mollon, Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Cambridge. Value £120,000. 1987-90.
7. Project funded by Databird Internatioal (2 years) for the study of "Chromosomal and DNA sexing in birds". Value £60,000. 1990-91.
8. Queen Mary College initiative funding (1 year) for a feasibility study of "Genetic fingerprinting analysis and the behavioural ecology of wild rodents", with Dr John Gurnell. Value £2,591. 1990.
9. Royal Society travel grant for visit in April 1990 to the Limnological Institute in Irkutsk, Siberia to discuss a collaborative project to study the visual pigments of the cottoid fish species flock of Lake Baikal.
10. Royal Society travel grant for expedition to Lake Baikal in August 1990 to collect tissue for the cottoid fish visual pigment project.
11. Royal Society travel grant for second expedition to Lake Baikal in September 1991 to collect additional tissue for the cottoid fish visual pigment project.
12. Royal Society award of £5000 for initial studies on the cottoid fish visual pigment project. 1991.
13. Extension (6 months) to the Wellcome Trust project grant to study "The molecular genetics of vision". Value £12,000. 1991.
14. Leverhulme Trust project grant (3 years): "The molecular genetics of avian colour vision", with Prof J K Bowmaker. Value £78,000. 1991-94.
15. Grant from the Smith-Kline Trust for a project to study the spectral tuning of the blue visual pigments in primates. Value £2,300. 1992.
16. Wellcome Trust project grant (1 year): "Heterologous expression of opsin genes", with Prof J K Bowmaker and Dr J D Mollon, Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Cambridge. Value £35,723. 1992-93.
17. SERC project grant (3 years): "The molecular structure, evolution and ecology of the visual pigments of cottoid fish from Lake Baikal", with Prof J K Bowmaker. Value £164,000. 1993-96.
18. Royal Society travel grant for ARVO Conference. Value £450. 1993.
19. MRC project grant (2 years): "Conserved DNA regions and the regulation of cone opsin gene expression", with Prof J K Bowmaker and Dr J D Mollon, Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Cambridge. Value £220,070. 1993-95.
20. Wellcome Trust project grant (3 years): "Candidate genes in schizophrenia", with Dr J D Mollon, Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Cambridge. Value £196,000. 1993-96.
21. Wellcome prize studentship for Mr Binoy Appukuttan. Value £54,747. 1993-96.
22. Wellcome major equipment grant for the purchase of apparatus for semi-automated DNA sequencing and rapid oil-free PCR, with Prof S S Bhattacharya. Value £107,024. 1993-96.
23. SERC project grant (2 years): "The molecular evolution and spectral tuning of colour vision in hymenoptera", with Prof J K Bowmaker. Value £104,043. 1994-96.
24. MRC project grant (3 years): "Development of a delivery system for gene therapy of inherited retinal degenerations", with Prof S S Bhattacharya and Prof A C Bird (Moorfields Eye Hospital, London). Value £270,000. 1994-97.
25. Wellcome prize studentship for Miss S Sivagnanasundaram. Value £55,455. 1994-97.
26. Wellcome Trust project grant (3 years): "Cone-rod dystrophies in man; linkage and candidate genes", with Prof A C Bird (Moorfields Eye Hospital, London), Mr A Moore (Addenbrokes Hospital, Cambridge) and Dr K Evans. Value £140,465. 1995-98.
27. NERC project grant (3 years): "Evolution and molecular ecology of deep-sea fish visual pigments", with Prof J K Bowmaker and Dr J C Partridge, Department of Zoology, University of Bristol. Value £204,202. 1995-98.
28. BBSRC project grant (3 years): "Evolution, retinal distribution and spectral tuning of avian visual pigments" with Prof J K Bowmaker. Value £180,000. 1995-98.
29. Wellcome Trust project grant (1½ years): "Expression and characterisation of the cone-specific cGMP phosphodiesterase subunits" with Dr M Warren. Value £95,075. 1995-97.
30. Extension (6 months) to Wellcome Trust project grant: "Candidate genes in schizophrenia", with Dr J D Mollon, Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Cambridge. Value £26,435. 1996.
31. Wellcome Trust project grant (3 years): "A study of the role of homologues of Drosophila visual transduction and eye developmental genes in mammalian vision". Value £148,966. 1996-99.
32. Wellcome Trust project grant (1 year): "Isolation and characterisation of a schizophrenia susceptibility gene". Value £62,752. 1996-97.
33. Wellcome Trust project grant (1½ years): "Molecular biological approach to solve the porphyria hypothesis" with Dr M Warren, Prof J C G Röhl (University of Sussex), Prof G H Elder (University of Cardiff). Value £64,411. 1996-98.
34. Wellcome Trust project grant (1 year): "Expression and characterisation of proteins involved in eye development and disease" with Dr M Warren and Prof S S Bhattacharya. Value £86,758. 1997-98.
35. BBSRC project grant (3 years): “Evolution of colour vision in mammals: cone types and opsin genes in a marsupial” with Prof J K Bowmaker. Value £205,000. 1998-2001.
36. Leverhulme Trust project grant (3 years): “Sequence and functional analysis of opsin gene promoter regions in the goldfish” with Prof J K Bowmaker. Value £99,160. 1998-2001.
37. Extension (7 months) to Wellcome Trust project grant: "Cone-rod dystrophies in man; linkage and candidate genes", with Prof A C Bird (Moorfields Eye Hospital, London) and Dr A Moore (Addenbrokes Hospital, Cambridge). Value £30,041. 1998.
38. Wellcome Trust project grant (1 year): "Cone-rod dystrophies in man", with Prof A C Bird (Moorfields Eye Hospital, London) and Dr A Moore (Addenbrokes Hospital, Cambridge). Value £53,463. 1998-1999.
39. Wellcome Trust programme grant (5 years): “Expression and characterisation of proteins involved in retinal disease”, with Dr M Warren and Prof S S Bhattacharya. Value £933,987. 1998-2003.
40. BBSRC project grant (3 years): "Spectral tuning of violet- and ultraviolet-sensitive visual pigments of vertebrates” with Prof J K Bowmaker. Value £235,616. 1999-2002
41. Wellcome Trust project grant (2 years): “Gene therapy for retinal degeneration” with Dr Robin Ali and Prof S S Bhattacharya. Value £134,605. 1999-2001.
42. Extension (12 months) to Wellcome Trust project grant: "A study of the role of homologues of Drosophila visual transduction and eye developmental genes in mammalian vision". Value £51,623. 1999-2000.
43. Extension (6 months) to Wellcome Trust project grant: “Cone-rod dystrophies in man.” Value £26,189. 1999-2000.
44. BBSRC project grant (3 years): "The regulation of opsin gene expression in retinal rods", with Dr J C Partridge, Department of Zoology, University of Bristol. Value £212,080. 1999-2002.
45. Grant for a studentship (3 years) from the British Retinitis Pigmentosa Society for a project entitled “The molecular basis of cone and cone-rod dystrophy” with Prof A T Moore. Value £72,913. 1999-2002.
46. BBSRC project grant (3 years): “Structure/function of cold and pressure adapted enzymes isolated from deep sea fish” with Prof M J Warren, Queen Mary and Westfield College, London and Dr J C Partridge, School of Biology, University of Bristol. Value £171,788. 2000-2003.
47. NERC studentship (3 years): “Visual ecology of deep-sea fish”. 2000-2003.
48. MRC Cooperative Group Grant “Retinal degenerative diseases: an integrated approach from functional genomics to therapies”. 2000-2005.
49. MRC Cooperative component project grant (3 years): “Autosomal dominant retinitis pigmentosa: identification and functional analysis of the RP11 disease gene” with Prof S S Bhattacharya. Value £231,504. 2000-2003.
50. Wellcome Trust Programme Grant (3 years): “Animal models of inherited retinal diseases” with Dr Dominic Wells, Imperial College, London, Prof S S Bhattacharya and Dr R R Ali. Value £354,631. 2001-2004.
51. Guide Dogs for the Blind project grant (2 years): “Cone and cone rod dystrophies: a clinical and molecular genetic investigation” with Prof A T Moore and Prof J D Mollon. Value £91,624. 2001-2003.
52. Leverhulme Trust (3 years): “Evolution of middle-wave and long-wave sensitive cone visual pigments” with Prof J K Bowmaker. Value £119,897. 2001-2004.
53. Wellcome Trust Project Grant (3 years): “X-linked progressive cone-dystrophies: identification of the genes causing COD1 and COD2", with Dr A Hardcastle, Prof S S Bhattacharya, Dr M Cheetham and Prof A T Moore. Value £172,858. 2001-2004.
54. Co-applicant on an Australian Research Council grant entitled “The evolution of colour vision in vertebrates” with Dr Shaun Collin, Dr A E Trezise, Dr J N Marshall, and Professor I C Potts, University of Queensland. 2001-2004.
55. Supervisor for Wellcome Trust Clinical Fellowship for work on human cataract awarded to Dr Anita Arora. Value £185,777
56. EU framework grant: “PRO-AGE-RET”.Grant co-ordinator: Professor José Sahel. Value 112,000 Euros. 2002-2005.
57. Award of AU$5000 from the Distinguished Visitor Fund of the University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia, October 2003.
58. Co-applicant on an Australian Research Council grant entitled “Colour vision in marsupials” with Dr Cathy Arese and Professor L Beazley, University of Western Australia. Value AU$105,000. 2002-2005.
59. Australian Research Council grant entitled “The evolution of dim light vision in vertebrates” with Prof S.Collin, Dr ATrezise, Prof M Kalloniatis, Em/Prof I Potter. 2005-2007.
60. Australian Research Council grant (3 years) entitled “Evolution and function of colour vision in mammals” with Prof L Beazley. 2006-2009.
61. Co-applicant/supervisor on an Iris Fund Clinical Research Fellowship entitled “The identification of genes underlying dominant macular dystrophies with phenotypic similarities to AMD” with Dr Ambreen Kalhoro, Professor A T Moore, and Dr P Francis. Value £100,000. 2005-2006.
62. Grant from the British Retinitis Pigmentosa Society for a project entitled “Functional analysis of mutations in splicing factor genes linked to retinitis pigmentosa” with Professor Martin Warren, Professor Shomi Bhattacharya and Dr Susan Wilkie. Value £118,847. 2005-2007.
63. Grant from the Leverhulme Trust for a project entitled “The evolution of ultraviolet and violet sensitivity in vertebrates” with Professor James K Bowmaker. Value £127,672. 2005-2008.
64. Grant from the Macular Disease Society for a project entitled “A survey of mutation in ABCA4 in 200 juvenile macular dystrophy probands” with Mr A R Webster, Professor A T Moore, and Professor A C Bird. Value £37,108. 2005-2006.
65. Co-applicant on an Australian Research Council grant entitled “Colour vision in birds: consequences to fatal collisions with wind farms” with Dr Cathy Arese, Dr Nathan Hart and Professor L Beazley, University of Western Australia. Value AU$105,000. 2005-2008.
66. Raine Visiting Professorship - Award of AU$9000 from the Raine Medical Research Foundation, University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia, June 2005.
67. Centre Grant awarded by Foundation Fighting Blindness: Module VI “Genetic studies, functional genomics, and animal models of retinal disease” jointly with Prof S S Bhattacharya. Value £340,000. 2005-2010.
68. BBSRC project grant (3 years): "Evolution of photopic and scotopic vision in vertebrates", with Prof J K Bowmaker. Value £210,049. 2005-2008.
69. BBSRC project grant (3 years): "From light into darkness: metamorphic dynamics of the eel retina”, with Prof G Jeffery and Prof J K Bowmaker. Value £213,000. 2006-2009.
70. Grant from the British Retinitis Pigmentosa Society supported by GSK for a project entitled “The identification of genes causing autosomal recessive retinal dystrophy using autozygosity mapping of consanguineous pedigrees.” Value £140,000. 2006-2008.
71. BBSRC project grant (3 years): "A study of the role of Kv8.2, a novel potassium channel gene, in retinal physiology and phototransduction”, with Dr M Stocker, Prof R Ali, Prof T Salt and Dr A Webster. Value £420,000. 2007-2010.
72. Fight for Sight studentship (3 years): “Genetic analysis of inherited developmental macular dystrophies”. Value £92,986. 2007-2010.
73. MRC project grant (3 years): “Pathology and treatment of mouse models of dominant retinal disease” with Prof R R Ali and Dr J Bainbridge. Value £411,057. 2008-2011.
74. Australian Research Council grant (4 years) entitled “Seeing without eyes: the evolution of non-visual photoreceptors in vertebrates” with Prof S Collin, Prof R Foster and Prof I Potter. Value $345,000. 2008-2011.
75. UCLH/UCL Comprehensive Biomedical Research Centre (CBRC) grant (3 years) entitled “Understanding genetic control of brain structure and function: insights and management strategies from inherited eye diseases” with Prof Sanjay Sisodiya, Prof A T Moore and Prof F. Vargha-Khadem. Value £206,568. 2009-2012.
76. Retina Australia grant entitled “Role of a novel miRNA in the dominant syndromic disorder of macular dystrophy and split hand and foot malformation”. Value $30,000. 2011-2012.
77. Lead applicant on UWA-UQ Bilateral Research Collaboration Award entitled “'The zebrafish as a model organism for the study of visual processes and associated inherited disorders in humans” with Professor Brian Key, Professor Shaun Collin, A/Professor Nathan Hart and Dr Arnaud Gaudin. Value $11,964. 2012.
78. WA Department of Commerce grant entitled “Shark Attack Mitigation Wetsuit Design (Zebra Suit)” with Associate Professor Nathan Hart, and Professor Shaun Collin. Value $25,000. 2012.
79. Australian Research Council Discovery grant (3 years) entitled “The evolution of light detection and its impacts on early vertebrate evolution” with Prof S Collin, Prof T Lamb, Prof I Potter and A/Prof N Hart. Value $375,000. 2011-2013.
80. Lead applicant on NHMRC project grant (3 years) entitled “The Role of Potassium Channels in Photoreceptor Function” with Prof Brian Key, A/Professor Nathan Hart, and Professor Shaun Collin. Value $349,338. 2012-2014.
81. Lead applicant on NHMRC project grant (2 years) entitled “Myopia & Colour Vision” with Professor David Mackey. Value $222,450. 2012-2013.
82. Leverhulme Trust project grant (3 years) entitled “Insights from snakes into vertebrate visual evolution” with Dr David J Gower (UK Natural History Museum), A/Professor Nathan S hart, and Professor Julian Partridge (University of Bristol). Value £194,949. 2012-2015.
83. Australian Research Council Discovery grant (3 years) entitled “Transcriptome sequencing and functional characterisation of craniate non-visual sensory systems and their adaptation to diverse light environments” with A/Prof Wayne Davies, A/Prof Kim Carter, A/Prof Jan Hemmi, Prof Julian Partridge. Value $380,000. 2014-2016.
84. Lead applicant on a Australian Research Council LIEF grant to establish a zebrafish facility in WA, with Prof Ryan Lister, A/Prof Nathan Pavlos, Prof Shaun Collin, A/Prof Wayne Davies, Prof Ralph Martins, A/Prof Simon Laws and Dr Guiseppe Verdene. Value $400,000.

Previous positions

2010-2014 Winthrop Professor, University of Western Australia
2007- Emeritus Professor, University College London
2007-2010 Professorial Fellow, Institute of Ophthalmology, University College London
1996-2007 Professor of Molecular Genetics, Institute of Ophthalmology, University College London
1994-96 Reader in Molecular Genetics, Institute of Ophthalmology, University College London
1992-94 Senior Lecturer in Molecular Genetics, Institute of Ophthalmology, University of London
1989-92 Senior Lecturer in Genetics, Queen Mary & Westfield College, University of London
1974-89 Lecturer in Genetics, Queen Mary College, University of London
1972-74 Lecturer in Genetics, Department of Genetics, University of Glasgow
1967-72 Research Associate, MRC Experimental Genetics Unit, University College London
1964-67 SERC research studentship, Department of Genetics, University of Sheffield
2007-2010 Professorial Fellow, Institute of Ophthalmology, University College London
1996-2007 Professor of Molecular Genetics, Institute of Ophthalmology, University College London
1994-1996 Reader in Molecular Genetics, Institute of Ophthalmology, University College London
1992-1994 Senior Lecturer in Molecular Genetics, Institute of Ophthalmology, University of London
1989-1992 Senior Lecturer in Genetics, Queen Mary & Westfield College, University of London
1974-1989 Lecturer in Genetics, Queen Mary College, University of London
1972-1974 Lecturer in Genetics, Department of Genetics, University of Glasgow
1967-1972 Research Associate, MRC Experimental Genetics Unit, Department of Animal Genetics, University College London

Research

1. Molecular genetics of inherited retinal diseases - identification of disease genes and mutations and functional analysis of mutant proteins using a combination of in vitro analysis and mouse modelswhole animal studies.

2. Comparative studies on the evolution of vision in vertebrates. Studies extend from colour vision defects in humans, the molecular evolution of colour vision in primates, marsupials, monotremes, rodents and cetaceans, the visual pigment evolution in snakes, the molecular basis for dim light vision, and the origin of colour vision and the different components of the visual cycle in early vertebrates.

Languages

English

Keywords

  • Molecular biology
  • Molecular genetics
  • Inherited retinal disease
  • Sensory biology
  • Colour vision
  • Vision
  • Evolution of the visual system

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where David Hunt is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • 7 Similar Profiles
Retinal Pigments Medicine & Life Sciences
Opsins Medicine & Life Sciences
Vertebrates Medicine & Life Sciences
opsin Agriculture & Biology
Marsupialia Medicine & Life Sciences
Genes Medicine & Life Sciences
pigments Agriculture & Biology
pigment Earth & Environmental Sciences

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output 2001 2019

Differential stability of variant OPN1LW gene transcripts in myopic patients

Mountford, J. K., Davies, W. I. L., Griffiths, L. R., Yazar, S., Mackey, D. A. & Hunt, D. M., 1 Jan 2019, In : Molecular Vision. 25, p. 183-193 11 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
File
Opsins
Genes
Nucleotides
Melanesia
RNA
1 Citation (Scopus)

Evolution of the eyes of vipers with and without infrared-sensing pit organs

Gower, D. J., Sampaio, F. L., Peichl, L., Wagner, H. J., Loew, E. R., McLamb, W., Douglas, R. H., Orlov, N., Grace, M. S., Hart, N. S., Hunt, D. M., Partridge, J. C. & Simões, B. F., 27 Mar 2019, In : Biological Journal of the Linnean Society. 126, 4, p. 796-823 28 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Viperidae
opsin
eyes
gene
transmittance
2 Citations (Scopus)

Phototactic tails: Evolution and molecular basis of a novel sensory trait in sea snakes

Crowe-Riddell, J. M., Simões, B. F., Partridge, J. C., Hunt, D. M., Delean, S., Schwerdt, J. G., Breen, J., Ludington, A., Gower, D. J. & Sanders, K. L., Apr 2019, In : Molecular Ecology. 28, 8, p. 2013-2028 16 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

phototaxis
Elapidae
Molecular Evolution
snake
snakes
1 Citation (Scopus)

The Role of the Voltage-Gated Potassium Channel Proteins Kv8.2 and Kv2.1 in Vision and Retinal Disease: Insights from the Study of Mouse Gene Knock-Out Mutations

Hart, N. S., Mountford, J. K., Voigt, V., Fuller-Carter, P., Barth, M., Nerbonne, J. M., Hunt, D. M. & Carvalho, L. S., Feb 2019, In : eNeuro. 6, 1, 13 p., UNSP ENEURO.0032-19.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
Voltage-Gated Potassium Channels
Retinal Diseases
Gene Knockout Techniques
Knockout Mice
Mutation
1 Citation (Scopus)

Evolution of the calcium feedback steps of vertebrate phototransduction

Lamb, T. D. & Hunt, D. M., 1 Sep 2018, In : Open Biology. 8, 9, 180119.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
Light Signal Transduction
Vertebrates
Guanylate Cyclase-Activating Proteins
Recoverin
Genes

Projects 2011 2018