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Nirenberg is a neuroscientist at Weill Cornell, exploring fundamental questions about how the brain encodes visual information. She is developing an alternative approach to restoring sight after photoreceptor cell degeneration, according to the MacArthur Foundation website. In the case of diseases such as macular degeneration and retinitis pigmentosa, affecting millions worldwide, vision is lost when deteriorating photoreceptor cells no longer take in signals.