Sue Semple-Rowland

Sue Semple-Rowland,

Professor, Program Director For Online MSc And Certificate Programs In Neuroscience Graduate Program

Department: Department of Neuroscience
Business Phone: (352) 273-5095
Business Email:

About Sue Semple-Rowland

Professor Neuroscience

Director of Online Biomedical Neuroscience Certificate and MSc Programs

My current teaching efforts are focused on delivering the highest quality graduate courses online. These graduate courses are an integral part of both the Department’s Biomedical Neuroscience Certificate and Master’s degree programs, both of which are offered to students worldwide in an online format. The certificate program has been running since Fall 2014 and has received glowing reviews from students who have completed this program. I have played an instrumental role in the creation of both of these programs and serve not only as the Director for both programs, but also have created and teach several of the courses that are taken by students enrolled in these programs. I am very excited about the new MSc program that has been approved to begin Fall 2020.

In addition to serving our online certificate and MSc students, our online graduate courses are also very popular among graduate students who are working on MSc or PhD research at UF. UF graduate students who have taken our courses hail from our Neuroscience Graduate program as well as from Biomedical Engineering, BMS programs in COM outside of Neuroscience, Veterinary Medicine, and Health and Human Performance.


University Term Professorship
2019-2021 · University of Florida Provost
Healthy Gators Recognition Award – Leader for Health
2012 · University of Florida
Education and Research Incentive Awards
2007-2011 · University of Florida, College of Medicine
Distinguished Alumni Citation
2006 · Gustavus Adolphus College, St. Peter, MN
UF Renaissance Faculty – UF Research Forum
2006 · University of Florida
Doctoral Dissertation Advisor Mentoring Award
2005 · University of Florida College of Medicine
UF College of Medicine Education Incentive Award
2005 · University of Florida College of Medicine
Exemplary Teacher Awards
2003-2007 · University of Florida College of Medicine
Alcon Foundation Lecture in Ophthalmology
2000 · Emory University
NRSA Post-doctoral Training Fellowship
1986-1989 · NIH

Teaching Profile

Courses Taught
GMS6712 Biological Clocks in Neural Health and Disease
GMS6021 Principles of Neuroscience I: Organization and Development of the Nervous System
GMS6007 Fundamentals of Neuroscience
GMS7795 Special Topics in Neuroscience
GMS6750 Molecular Pathobiology of Neural Disease
GMS6705 Functional Human Neuroanatomy
GMS7980 Research for Doctoral Dissertation
GMS6029 Brain Journal Club
DEN5120C Physiology
GMS6792 Neuroscience Graduate Research Seminar
GMS6910 Supervised Research
GMS6790 New Developments in Neuroscience
GMS6701 Functional and Comparative Neuroanatomy for Professionals

Research Profile

My primary research interest has been to understand and develop potential therapies for treatment of inherited retinal photoreceptor diseases. I was fortunate to be able to focus my studies on the avian model of Leber congenital amaurosis – type 1 (LCA1), a disease that causes blindness in newborns. My research on this model began while I was a postdoctoral fellow and has continued throughout my career. My accomplishments include the identification of the genetic mutation underlying the disease in the chicken model (GUCY1B) and restoration of sight to these animals using a lentiviral-based gene therapy that was developed entirely in my laboratory. The results of our studies on the GUCY1B chicken laid the foundation upon which current clinical trials for treatment of LCA1 are based.

When we began our work to develop treatments for LCA1, we were on the forefront of gene therapy vector development. Early on, we made the decision to use lentiviral-based vectors as the platform for our therapies because they could rapidly integrate into the host cell genome and the vectors could carry large, complex transgenes. In addition to working on the types of transgene constructs that could effectively lead to expression of multiple proteins in target cells (e.g. containing IRES, 2A cleavage elements, or multiple promoters), we also focused on identification of minimal promoters whose expression characteristics would make them useful as drivers of photoreceptor-targeted therapies. Many of the vectors that we built are available through Addgene and are requested by investigators interested in expressing multiple proteins in infected cells.

A second major research interest has been to understand how light entrains the circadian clocks located in retinal photoreceptor cells. The GUCY1B chicken carries a null mutation in the gene encoding guanylate cyclase-1 (GC1), an enzyme that is essential for photoreceptors to recover from light stimulation. In the absence of GC1, the rods and cones in avian and human retina are unable to synthesize sufficient cGMP to support phototransduction. By measuring the levels of the transcripts of several genes whose expression is either regulated by photoreceptor clocks or represent components of the clock itself, we were able to determine that the phototransduction cascade that supports vision is not essential for light entrainment of photoreceptor clocks. In our most recent study, we obtained compelling evidence that a G-protein coupled cascade involving activation of phospholipase C in photoreceptors is involved in entraining photoreceptor clocks to light. Identification of a function of this second G-protein signaling cascade in retinal photoreceptors that is likely mediated by visual pigment activation of Gq/11, increases our understanding of the complexity of signaling within these well-studied cells.


Emerging Roles of Primary Cilia in Glioma.
Frontiers in cellular neuroscience. 13 [DOI] 10.3389/fncel.2019.00055. [PMID] 30842728.
Disruption of KIF3A in patient-derived glioblastoma cells: effects on ciliogenesis, hedgehog sensitivity, and tumorigenesis.
Oncotarget. 7(6):7029-43 [DOI] 10.18632/oncotarget.6854. [PMID] 26760767.
Neonatal Seizures Induced By Pentylenetetrazol or Kainic Acid Disrupt Primary Cilia Growth on Developing Mouse Cortical Neurons
Experimental Neurology. 282:119-127 [DOI] 10.1016/j.expneurol.2016.05.015.
Type 3 Adenylyl Cyclase and Somatostatin Receptor 3 Expression Persists in Aged Rat Neocortical and Hippocampal Neuronal Cilia.
Frontiers in aging neuroscience. 8 [DOI] 10.3389/fnagi.2016.00127. [PMID] 27303293.
Detection of primary cilia in human glioblastoma.
Journal of neuro-oncology. 117(1):15-24 [DOI] 10.1007/s11060-013-1340-y. [PMID] 24510433.
Use of lentiviral vectors to deliver and express bicistronic transgenes in developing chicken embryos.
Methods (San Diego, Calif.). 66(3):466-73 [DOI] 10.1016/j.ymeth.2013.06.026. [PMID] 23816789.
Activation of phospholipase C mimics the phase shifting effects of light on melatonin rhythms in retinal photoreceptors.
PloS one. 8(12) [DOI] 10.1371/journal.pone.0083378. [PMID] 24386190.
Arborization of dendrites by developing neocortical neurons is dependent on primary cilia and type 3 adenylyl cyclase.
The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience. 33(6):2626-38 [DOI] 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2906-12.2013. [PMID] 23392690.
Role of estrogen receptor α and β in preserving hippocampal function during aging.
The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience. 33(6):2671-83 [DOI] 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4937-12.2013. [PMID] 23392694.
Increasing hippocampal estrogen receptor alpha levels via viral vectors increases MAP kinase activation and enhances memory in aging rats in the absence of ovarian estrogens.
PloS one. 7(12) [DOI] 10.1371/journal.pone.0051385. [PMID] 23240018.
Expression characteristics of dual-promoter lentiviral vectors targeting retinal photoreceptors and Müller cells.
Molecular vision. 16:916-34 [PMID] 20517486.
PHLPP1 splice variants differentially regulate AKT and PKCα signaling in hippocampal neurons: characterization of PHLPP proteins in the adult hippocampus.
Journal of neurochemistry. 115(4):941-55 [DOI] 10.1111/j.1471-4159.2010.06984.x. [PMID] 20819118.
Light-dependent phosphorylation of the gamma subunit of cGMP-phophodiesterase (PDE6gamma) at residue threonine 22 in intact photoreceptor neurons.
Biochemical and biophysical research communications. 390(4):1149-53 [DOI] 10.1016/j.bbrc.2009.10.106. [PMID] 19878658.
GC1 deletion prevents light-dependent arrestin translocation in mouse cone photoreceptor cells.
Investigative ophthalmology & visual science. 46(1):12-6 [PMID] 15623748.
Cone cell survival and downregulation of GCAP1 protein in the retinas of GC1 knockout mice.
Investigative ophthalmology & visual science. 45(10):3397-403 [PMID] 15452041.
Efficient large-scale production and concentration of HIV-1-based lentiviral vectors for use in vivo.
Physiological genomics. 12(3):221-8 [PMID] 12488511.
Pinopsin mRNA levels are significantly elevated in the pineal glands of chickens carrying a null mutation in guanylate cyclase-1.
Brain research. Molecular brain research. 97(1):51-8 [PMID] 11744162.
Comparative evaluation of cytokine profiles and reactive gliosis supports a critical role for interleukin-6 in neuron-glia signaling during regeneration.
Journal of neuroscience research. 61(1):10-20 [PMID] 10861795.
Characterization of the chicken GCAP gene array and analyses of GCAP1, GCAP2, and GC1 gene expression in normal and rd chicken pineal.
Molecular vision. 5 [PMID] 10427104.
A null mutation in the photoreceptor guanylate cyclase gene causes the retinal degeneration chicken phenotype.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 95(3):1271-6 [PMID] 9448321.
Effects of dexfenfluramine or 5,7-dihydroxytryptamine on tryptophan hydroxylase and serotonin transporter mRNAS in rat dorsal raphe.
Brain research. Molecular brain research. 41(1-2):121-7 [PMID] 8883942.
Expression of GCAP1 and GCAP2 in the retinal degeneration (rd) mutant chicken retina.
FEBS letters. 385(1-2):47-52 [PMID] 8641465.


Aug 2010 – Oct 2019
Rescue of GUCY1*B Phenotype Using Somatic Gene _Therapy_
Role: Principal Investigator


Postdoctoral Fellow / Ophthalmology Inherited Retinal Disease
1986-1989 · Univeristy of Florida, Gainesville, FL
PhD / Neuroscience
1981-1986 · University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
MSc / Psychobiology
1977-1981 · University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
BA Biology/Psychology
1973-1977 · Gustavus Adolphus College, St. Peter, MN

Contact Details

(352) 273-5095
Business Mailing:
PO Box 100244
Business Street: