Vision research at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri is a significant, multidisciplinary enterprise, in which researchers located in laboratories across the campus investigate many aspects of the biology and pathology of the visual system.

Support for our endeavors comes primarily from the National Institutes of Health (in particular, the National Eye Institute) with important additional contributions from internal grants, private foundations and charities. Vision Research at Washington University is supported by two major interdepartmental grants, a P30 vision core grant (which provides access to shared resources and instrumentation) and a T32 vision training grant (which provides stipend support for graduate students and post-doctoral fellows engaged in Vision Research).

Vision Core Investigators

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Apte Lab

Rajendra Apte, MD, PhD, Paul A. Cibis Distinguished Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences

Innate immunity and immune effector mechanisms in the retina; oxidative stress and cell death; models of developmental angiogenesis and neovascularization; inflammation and photoreceptor survival; macular degeneration

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Bassnett Lab

Steven Bassnett, PhD, Professor, Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences, Cell Biology & Physiology

Understanding the cellular basis of transparency and accommodation in the lens of the eye

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Blumer Lab

Ken Blumer, PhD, Professor, Cell Biology and Physiology

Currently our goals are to elucidate the mechanistic and physiological functions of RGS proteins in the cardiovascular, nervous and visual systems through biochemical, cell biological, genetic and physiologic studies of knockout and transgenic mice. 

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Burkhalter Lab

Andreas Burkhalter, PhD, Professor, Neuroscience

Our studies of the visual system in mice are aimed at understanding how the visual cortex is subdivided into different areas, how the network of connections between areas develops, how it is organized in the adult and how it is altered by visual experience. Interareal networks are important for visual perception and visually guided actions. 

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Chen Lab

Shiming Chen, PhD, Professor, Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences Professor, Developmental Biology

The major goal of our laboratory research is to identify the molecular mechanism(s) regulating photoreceptor gene expression in the mammalian retina and the implications of these mechanisms for understanding photoreceptor degenerative diseases and developing therapeutic treatments for these diseases.

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Clark Lab

Brian Clark, PhD, Assistant Professor, Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences

Analysis of the temporally regulated program of retinal cell type specification.

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Corbo Lab

Joseph Corbo, MD, PhD, Associate Professor, Pathology & Immunology

We are interested in the transcriptional regulatory networks that underlie the development, evolution, and diseases of photoreceptors in the retina. We are taking a multi-disciplinary approach to the problem of how a network of transcription factors orchestrates the expression of distinct cohorts of downstream genes to build this complex micromachine, the photoreceptor cell.

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Ferguson Lab

Thomas Ferguson, PhD, Professor, Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences

The laboratory studies the role of autophagy in the pathogenesis of eye diseases such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and other retinal degenerative diseases. 

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Gordon Lab

Mae Gordon, PhD, Professor, Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences; Professor, Division of Biostatistics

Dr. Gordon works closely with the Vision Research Coordinating Center. The mission of the Vision Research Coordinating Center (VRCC) is to conduct pilot studies to provide a sound scientific foundation for more definitive larger studies to develop new outcome measures, to design and implement observational studies and clinical trials. The VRCC also serves as the coordinating center for two multi-center clinical studies funded by the National Institutes of Health.

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Huang Lab

Andrew Huang, MD, MPH, Professor, Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences

  • Corneal epithelial wound healing
  • Corneal neovascularization
  • Corneal stromal dystrophies
  • Corneal Stem cells and Dry eye
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Kass Lab

Michael Kass, MD, Professor, Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences

Diagnosis, treatment and epidemiology of glaucoma

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Kerschensteiner Lab

Daniel Kerschensteiner, MD, Professor, Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences; Professor, Neuroscience; Professor, Biomedical Engineering

We would like to understand the principles that guide the assembly of neural circuits and to decipher the way they process information. Our efforts concentrate on the mammalian retina.

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Margolis Lab

Todd P. Margolis, MD, PhD, Alan A. and Edith L. Wolff Distinguished Professor and Chairman, Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences

The primary focus of the Margolis laboratory is research on the cellular and molecular mechanisms that regulate the establishment and maintenance of latent neuronal infection with herpes simplex virus (HSV). Ongoing research is aimed at documenting the role of both neuronal and viral gene expression in the establishment and maintenance of HSV latency.

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Morgan Lab

Josh Morgan, PhD, Assistant Professor, Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences

The goal of our lab is to identify the structural and developmental principles that turn agglomerations of cells into image processing circuitry.

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Rajagopal Lab

Rithwick Rajagopal, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor, Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences

  • Pathogenic mechanisms in diabetic retinopathy
  • neuronal damage in diabetes mellitus
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Shiels Lab

Alan Shiels PhD, Professor, Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences, and Genetics

Our research focuses on the molecular genetic basis of eye diseases including; cataracts, glaucoma and eye movement disorders.

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Siegfried Lab

Carla Siegfried, MD, Jacquelyn E. and Allan E. Kolker, MD, Distinguished Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences

Glaucoma: The diagnostic and therapeutic assessment of glaucoma, including pharmacological, surgical, and laser treatment, patient support and decision making models in glaucoma.

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Snyder Lab

Lawrence Snyder, MD, PhD, Professor, Neuroscience

My laboratory studes how the brain, and especially the cerebral cortex, combines sensory information with higher order cognition (rules, memory, etc.) in order to drive motor commands. Much of our work is focused on spatial processing for guiding eye and arm movements.

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Soto Lab

Florentina Soto, PhD, Assistant Professor, Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences

Studies in my laboratory aim to determine the role of ATP-mediated (purinergic) neurotransmission in the mammalian retina. 

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Tychsen Lab

Lawrence Tychsen, MD, John F. Hardesty, MD, Distinguished Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences; Professor, Neurobiology; Professor, Ophthalmology in Pediatrics, Dept of Pediatrics

Dr. Tychsen’s laboratory work is focused broadly on development of binocular vision in infant humans and monkeys, and specifically on neural mechanisms in strabismus (the clinical disorder of crossed-eyes)

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Van Stavern Lab

Gregory Van Stavern Associate Professor, Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences

  • Multiple sclerosis
  • neuroimmunology
  • idiopathic intracranial hypertension
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Walsh Lab

James T. Walsh, MD, PhD Assistant Professor, Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences

The Walsh lab studies the local communication between the eye and the adaptive immune system, and how this local immunity can be utilized to improve diagnosis and treatment of ocular autoimmunity.

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Williams Lab

Philip Williams, PhD, Assistant Professor, Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences