Research in the Pugh lab is focused on phototransduction, the molecular and biophysical mechanisms by which rod and cone photoreceptors in the retina transduce light into electrical signals. Dr. Pugh has developed a number of new approaches for investigation of phototransduction in the mammalian retina. His was the first laboratory to develop a method for recording the light-driven currents of single mouse cones, and with this method and with cone-specific field potentials (electroretinography) which they also pioneered, they established a number of distinctive features of mouse cones. Recently, Pugh has developed simultaneous optical coherence tomography and scanning laser ophthalmoscopy to enable non-invasive assessment of photoreceptor signaling in live mice.
Pugh has received numerous awards and honors during his career, including Research Career Development Award, National Eye Institute of the NIH, Troland Research Award, National Academy of Sciences, Jules and Doris Stein Research to Prevent Blindness Professorship, Alcon Research Award for Outstanding Contribution to Vision Research, Alcon Research Institute, and Proctor Medal of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (with T. D. Lamb).