Gabriel H. Travis

Gabriel H Travis

Professor, Ophthalmology, University of California Los Angeles

Professor, Biological Chemistry, University of California Los Angeles


Laboratory Address:
100 Stein Plaza
UCLA School of Medicine
Los Angeles, CA 90095

Work Address:
Stein Eye Institute
UCLA School of Medicine
Los Angeles, CA 90095

Office Phone Number:

Dr. Gabriel H. Travis holds the Charles Kenneth Feldman Chair in Ophthalmology.


Member, Biochemistry, Biophysics & Structural Biology GPB Home Area, Molecular, Cellular & Integrative Physiology GPB Home Area

Research Interests

Visual perception begins with absorption of a photon by a light-sensitive opsin in photoreceptor cells of the retina.  Opsins are members of the G protein-coupled receptor (GCPR) superfamily.  The visual opsins contain an 11‑cis‑retinaldehyde (11cRAL) chromophore, which is isomerized to all‑trans‑retinaldehyde (atRAL) by photon absorption.  This bleaches the opsin pigment, rendering it insensitive to light.  Light sensitivity is restored through the energetically uphill conversion of atRAL back to 11cRAL.  Our laboratory studies the biochemical and photochemical processes that carry out this conversion.  The genes for several retinoid-processing proteins are affected in human inherited retinal and macular degenerations. We are working to understand the function of several visual-cycle proteins, and how loss of function causes blindness in people with disease-causing mutations in visual-cycle genes.  We are particularly interested in mechanisms that permit sustained vision under daylight conditions.  Our laboratory employs a broad range of approaches to address these questions.  Several exciting projects are currently available.  These projects are especially suitable for students or fellows with interest in biochemistry who wish to work on problems in vision science with relevance to human inherited blindness. 


Gabriel Travis is a biochemist and molecular biologist who has been on the faculty at UCLA in Ophthalmology and Biological Chemistry since 2001.  Professor Travis earned his BS degree in chemistry at UCLA, and his MD at UCLA School of Medicine. After completing a residency in neurology, Professor Travis left clinical medicine and devote himself full-time to basic research. He did a postdoctoral fellowship at the UCLA with Professor Michael Grunstein, and a second postdoctoral fellowship at Scripps Research Institute with Professor J. Gregor Sutcliffe.  He then took his first faculty position in Neuroscience at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, where he remained until moving to UCLA.  Professor Travis currently directs a research group that studies retinoid metabolism in photoreceptor cells and the mechanisms of inherited blinding diseases.