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Ophthalmology Research

About Our Research

The John A. Moran Eye Center supports 16 research labs and centers, where interna­tionally-awarded faculty, including one of the world’s top retinal teams, are developing the treatments of tomorrow. The Moran Eye Center has ranked as high as seventh in the nation for National Institutes of Health funding.

Research Centers

Moran invests in the full spectrum of research, supporting basic research that adds to our foundation of knowledge and then providing the tools to translate discoveries into new therapies and treatments. Among the work of our renowned-research centers:

Intermountain Ocular Research Center

Physicians and companies worldwide use the Intermountain Ocular Research Center to vet artificial lenses used for cataract surgery.

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Sharon Eccles Steele Center for Translational Medicine

The SCTM is fast-tracking new therapies for age-related macular degeneration (AMD), using the world’s largest repository of donor eye tissue of its kind and data from an ongoing clinical study.

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Utah Retinal Reading Center

UREAD seeks to contribute to the characterization of manifestation and progression of ophthalmic diseases, focusing on evaluating treatment response to innovative therapeutic strategies.

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Crandall Center for Glaucoma Innovation

The Alan S. Crandall Center for Glaucoma Innovation is leading the way to better diagnostics, safer and more effective therapies and surgical devices, a deeper understanding of glaucoma and its genetics, and expanded access to care worldwide.

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Research Faculty Laboratories

Moran has more than 60 PhD researchers addressing a number of conditions including glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, Stargardt disease, optic neuritis, retinal stroke, idiopathic intracranial hypertension, Usher syndrome, and retinopathy of prematurity.

Angelucci Laboratory

Dr. Alessandra Angelucci's research focuses on identifying neuronal circuits that underlie functional properties of neurons in the visual cerebral cortex and, ultimately, visual perception.

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Asare Laboratory

Dr. Afua Oteng Asare's research focuses on pediatric vision health; health services and systems research; health equity and disparities; cost effectiveness analysis; and implementation science.

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Bernstein Laboratory

Dr. Paul S. Bernstein’s laboratory explores the biochemistry and biophysics of nutritional interventions against inherited and acquired ocular disorders.

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Hwang Laboratory

The lab of Eileen Hwang, MD, PhD, studies how the biochemistry and extracellular matrix structure of the vitreous changes throughout life from childhood through old age.

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Jones Laboratory

Bryan W. Jones, PhD, is principal investigator of The Marclab for Connectomics: Retina, Connectomics and Disease, with a focus on retinal circuitry/connectomics and metabolomics in neural plasticity in retinal disease.

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Krizaj Laboratory

The lab of David Krizaj, PhD, is focused on studies of ocular mechanotransduction, with emphasis on how intraocular pressure is generated and regulated, and why sensitivity to mechanical stress kills neurons in the retina.

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McDonnell Laboratory


Dr. Fiona McDonnell's primary research area is the study of glaucoma, with a special focus in conventional outflow physiology.



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Noudoost Laboratory

Dr. Behrad Noudoost’s lab research is focused precisely on understanding the neural circuits and biological mechanisms that are necessary and sufficient to drive fundamental cognitive functions.

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Owen Laboratory

The lab of Leah Owen, MD, PhD, is an NEI-funded center working to understand the genetic and molecular causes for blinding eye disease, including retinopathy of prematurity, pediatric strabismus and amblyopia, and age-related macular degeneration.

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Tian Laboratory

Dr. Ning Tian’s lab research aims to understand the cellular and molecular mechanisms that regulate the development of the retinal synaptic pathways and the formation of the laminar structure, and how these mechanisms are modulated under normal and pathological conditions.

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Vinberg Laboratory

The laboratory of Frans Vinberg, PhD, works to understand mechanisms in the retina that enable vision over a wide range of light intensities and colors, and how these mechanisms are affected in major blinding diseases including age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy.

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Yang Laboratory

Dr. Jun Yang’s laboratory research focuses on the disease mechanisms and therapeutic treatments, including gene therapies, for retinal degenerative diseases. 

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News from Moran Researchers

Artificial Vision Research Advances

The Moran|Cortivis Prosthesis, which uses the Utah Electrode Array, has now been tested in three individuals with blindness.

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New Federal Funding for AMD Research

Internationally renowned researchers Monika Fleckenstein and Steffen Schmitz-Valckenberg are forging new ground in age-related macular degeneration (AMD) research.

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Brian Stagg, MD, is Turning Big Data into Better Care

New tools can help glaucoma doctors analyze patient data to provide precision medicine tailored to each patient.

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Patient Testing Begins for AMD Therapy Developed at Moran

Patient testing is underway for a new therapy for age-related macular degeneration developed by the the Moran Eye Center’s Sharon Eccles Steele Center for Translational Medicine (SCTM).

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What's Next in Glaucoma Innovation?

Some of the biggest leaps researchers at the Alan S. Crandall Center for Glaucoma Innovation are taking come in small packages. 

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Hwang Lab Develops New Ways to Study the Vitreous

Eileen Hwang, MD, PhD, is working to advance our understanding of the vitreous to develop new treatments for patients.

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Life after Death for the Human Eye

Vinberg Lab scientists have revived light-sensing neuron cells in organ donor eyes, part of a series of discoveries that stand to transform brain and vision research.

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Tian Lab Cell Discovery

Researchers discover new type of nerve cell in the retina.

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Research Publications

Driving Discovery: The John A. Moran Eye Center at the University of Utah

John A. Moran Eye Center Research Overview 2023