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Leading Scientists in Vision Research

The list below of some of the nation’s leading researchers in the field of vision research provides excellent sources for stories focused on the latest advances in vision science.


  • Cynthia Owsley, PhD, MSPH, is the Nathan E. Miles Chair of Ophthalmology; Director, Clinical Research Unit; and Professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine. Her research focuses on the impact of aging on vision and the relationship between vision and driving and strategies that can improve routine eye care utilization among populations at-risk for eye disease and vision impairment. She is particularly interested in the translation of research findings into public policy in these arenas.
  • Bonnielin Swenor, MPH, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology at the Wilmer Eye Institute and an Assistant Professor of Epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Suffering from myopic macular degeneration, Swenor is herself passionate about vision impairment, specifically how low vision and other vision impairments affect the aging process and physical and cognitive health. Video
  • Gang Luo, MS, PhD, is an associate scientist at Massachusetts Eye and Ear and the lead researcher behind the SuperVision Search, an app that utilizes AI technology to help individuals living with low vision identify and magnify words in individual’s day to day lives. His research focuses on Age-related Macular Degeneration, mobility enhancement for individuals living with Low Vision, and Vision Rehabilitation.
  • Eileen Shin Yeu Chow is a Senior Faculty Research Assistant at the Giebultowicz Lab at Oregon State University. Her research focuses on circadian clocks and how they relate to aging and neurodegeneration.


  • Catherine Cheng, PhD, is an Assistant Professor at the Indiana University School of Optometry. Her research focuses on the impact of congenital and age-related cataracts caused by mutation in cellular and molecular mechanism of the eye lens.

Corneal Disease

  • Francis Price, MD, is the founder of Price Vision Group, an internationally recognized eye center for diagnosis, treatment and research in the field of corneal and refractive surgery. His expertise lies in improving cornea transplant surgery outcomes.
  • Preeya Gupta, MD, is Associate Professor of Ophthalmology at Duke University School of Medicine and member of Oyster Point Pharma’s medical advisory board. Her expertise lies in cataract surgery, Lasik surgery, and corneal transplantation, and ophthalmic surgery techniques. She has serves as an editor of the Curbside Consultation in Cataract Surgery series.

Diabetic Retinopathy

  • David A. Antonetti, PhD, is the Roger W. Kittendorf Research Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at the University of Michigan Kellogg Eye Center. His research areas include angiogenesis and vascular diseases as well as diabetes and metabolic disorders. More specifically, he investigates the formation and loss of the blood-brain and blood-retinal barriers with the goal of developing new treatments for diabetes-related vision loss.
  • Gennadiy Moiseyev, PhD, assistant professor of research, Department of Physiology, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, is studying the mechanisms that cause visual defects in the early stages of diabetic retinopathy.
  • Sheila West, PhD, PharmD, is the El-Maghraby Professor of Preventive Ophthalmology and Vice Chair for Research at the Wilmer Eye Institute, with a joint appointment in the Department of Epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Her research interest lies in diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, and the impact of aging on vision. She has recently began researching the prevalence, causes, and impact of vision impairment globally. Video

Diagnostic Technologies

  • Lee Goldstein, MD, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Neurology and Ophthalmology at Boston University School of Medicine and the Director of Molecular Aging and Development Laboratory at Boston University School of Medicine. With a research focus on chronic degenerative disorders of aging, Dr. Goldstein and his team were the first to discover evidence of Alzheimer’s disease- outside the brain and are developing technology to detect the disease years before symptoms start.
  • Jesse B. Schallek, PhD, is an assistant professor of ophthalmology at the Flaum Eye Institute at the University of Rochester, NY. His research focuses on inventing new tools, such as the Adaptive Optics Scanning Light Ophthalmoscope, to study blood flow within the eye.
  • David Williams, PhD, is a William G. Allyn Professor of Medical Optics at the University of Rochester. David Williams research has centered around how to use adaptive optics to discover the innerworkings of the retina. His adaptive optics phoropter technology was named o3n of R&Ds Magazine’s top 100 inventions of the year.

Dry Eye Disease and Digital Eye Strain

  • Ashley Brissette, MD, MSc, FRCSC, is an Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology at Weill Cornell Medical College (WCMC) in New York City. She has a research interest in the ocular surface, dry eyes disease (DED), and DED’s impact on refractive corneal and cataract surgery.
  • Bridgette Shen Lee, OD, FAAO, FBCLA, FEAOO, is the co-founder of Vision Optique, a private optometric practice founded in 1999 which is regarded as one of the premier high-end opticals and advanced contact lens practices in Houston. Her work focuses around dry eye disease, impact of the UV and blue light on the eye, and specialty contact lenses. Video


  • Rafael Grytz, PhD, Associate Professor, at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine. His research focuses on understanding the biomechanical mechanisms that underlie growth and remodeling in the eye during physiological and pathological conditions, particularly growth and remodeling in myopia, glaucoma, and keratoconus.
  • Brian C. Samuels, MD, PhD, is the Dennis Endowed Professor in Glaucoma Research at UAB Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Science and clinician-scientists. His research focuses on glaucoma, specifically how the brain controls eye pressure.

Macular Degeneration

  • Saghar Bagheri, PhD, MD, is a research fellow in Ophthalmology at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary at Harvard Medical School. In 2019, she worked with Dr. Demetrios G. Vavvas to publish a study that could positively impact the sight of millions of AMD patients who have been classified as “non-responders” to anti-VEGF therapy. The study showed that most patients responded to the anti-VEGF therapy, even “non-responders”. However, each patient responded after different time intervals, pointing to a need to personalize each patient’s treatment for the best results.
  • Kapil Bharti, PhD, is a Senior Investigator of Ocular and Stem Cell Translational research at NEI. His research focuses on the impact of stem cell biology on the retinal degenerative diseases such as AMD.
  • Christine A. Curcio, PhD, is the White-McKee Endowed Professor in Ophthalmology; Professor; Director of the AMD Histopathology Lab, at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine. Her research interests are in aging and AMD—pathogenesis, image validation, and genomics.
  • Sabine Fuhrmann, PhD, is Associate Professor, Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Her research examines the potential of retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) cells to regenerate in mature mammalian eyes via specific signaling pathways.
  • Mark Humayan, MD, PhD, is the University Professor of Ophthalmology at USC Roski Eye Institute, Cornelius J. Pings Chair in Biomedical Sciences, Co-Director of the USC Roski Eye Institute and Director of the Institute for Biomedical Therapeutics. His research focuses on creating the world’s first artificial retinas. Video
  • Monica M. Jablonski, PhD, FARVO, is a Professor at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. She is currently developing polygenetic models of AMD in order to better study disease pathogenesis and test innovative therapies.
  • Aparna Lakkaraju, PhD, is Associate Professor, University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine. Her research focuses on RPE cell damage (a known precursor to AMD), with the goal of learning about the mechanisms that initiate RPE damage and, subsequently, AMD.
  • Daniel Palanker, PhD, is a Professor of Ophthalmology and Director of the Hansen Experimental Physics Laboratory at Stanford University. His research is focused around the development of a photovoltaic sub-retinal prosthesis which aims to converts incident light into pulsed electric current, to stimulate internal retinal neurons and transfer responses to the remaining retinal neural network. This technology has the potential to restore sight to those who have lost it. Video
  • Kevin L. Schey, PhD, is a Professor at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. His work includes developing a novel method of identifying early-stage AMD by correlating molecular and clinical information via a machine learning approach.
  • Johanna M. Seddon, MD, ScM, is a Professor of Ophthalmology in the University of Massachusetts School of Medicine (UMMS) and the Director of Retina and Director of the Macular Degeneration Center of Excellence in the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at UMMS. She is a leading expert on the environmental factors that interact with an individual’s genetic makeup that lead to disease progression, and the modifiable lifestyle choices one can make to influence that relationship.
  • Demetrios G. Vavvas, MD, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Ophthalmology, Co-Director of the Ocular Regenerative Medicine Institute at Harvard Medical School, and clinical research fellow at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary. In 2019, he worked with Dr. Saghar Bagheri to publish a study that looked further into patients suffering from AMD who were considered to be “not responding” to anti-VEGF therapies. They found that most patients were responding but on different intervals, which leads scientists to believe each patient need an individualized treatment schedule.


  • Albert Maguire, MD, is a Clinical Associate of the Division of Pediatric Ophthalmology at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. He is an Associate Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Pennsylvania and director of the retina service of the Division of Ophthalmology. His research focuses on gene therapy solution to return sight to those effected by inherited retinal disease.
  • Lotfi Merabet, OD, PhD, MPH, is a clinician scientist and a member of the Vision Rehabilitation Service at Massachusetts Eye and Ear. His research focuses on diagnosis and rehabilitation approaches for children with cerebral visual impairment (CVI) and how the brain changes due to ocular or cerebral causes of blindness. Video
  • Jeffrey Walline, OD, PhD, is an Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Education at Ohio State University College of Optometry. His research is centered around the impact of pediatric contact lenses for children with vision impairment such as Myopia or near sightedness. Video
  • Jonathan Sears, MD, is Associate Professor of Ophthalmology at the Cole Eye Institute, Cleveland Clinic. His research interest is in pediatric retinal detachment and retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), specifically in understanding the factors of oxygen-induced retinopathy and liver induced retinovascular plasticity.

Retinal Diseases

  • Mohajeet Bhuckory, PhD, is a postdoctoral fellow in the Hansen Experimental Physics Laboratory at Stanford University training under Daniel Palanker, PhD. His work is currently focused on therapies to restoration of sight such as retinal transplantation and photovoltaic retinal prosthesis.
  • Maria Grant, MD, is the Eivor and Alston Callahan, M.D., Endowed Chair in Ophthalmology and Professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine. Her research focuses on understanding the functional process of hematopoietic stem cells, and is how to best utilize human embryonic stem cells for vascular repair, which could have a profound impact on a large number of retinal diseases.
  • Alecia K. Gross, PhD,  is Associate Professor, Vision Sciences at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine. Her lab studies the biochemistry and cell biology of signaling processes that enable vision and those that cause retinal degenerations.
  • Neena Haider, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School, Associate Scientist at the Schepens Eye Research Institute of Massachusetts Eye and Ear. Being involved in the Human Genome Project, she continues to study gene-based interventions to cure retinal disorders. She is currently working on the first FDA approved gene-modifier therapy for retinitis pigmentosa. Video
  • Sheila Nirenberg, PhD, is a Professor of Physiology and Biophysics at Weill Cornell Medicine. Her research is centered around improving our understanding of computational neuroscience to ultimately improve individuals’ quality of life. Her work is directly supporting a groundbreaking innovation, the only FDA-approved retinal prosthesis that does not require surgery. Video
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