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Inherited Retinal Degenerations Fellowship

The Berman-Gund Laboratory for the Study of Retinal Degenerations and the Ocular Genomics Institute
Department of Ophthalmology of the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and Harvard Medical School provide a one to two-year fellowship in inherited retinal degenerations with clinical and research activities.

The two main goals of this fellowship are to provide the fellow with:

1. Advanced clinical training related to the diagnosis and care of patients with inherited retinal degenerations (IRDs) and other ophthalmic genetic disorders.
2. Research training related to improving our understanding of the pathogenesis of IRDs and developing treatments and cures for these disorders.

Fellow Responsibilities

All applicants must be eligible for a full medical license per the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine. International medical graduates must also be eligible for an H1B visa (eligibility includes passing all 3 steps of the USMLE, and reporting results to MEEI prior to the Match deadline).  The requirements of full licensure can be viewed on the website:

The selected fellow(s) will spend time on the ERG Service at Mass. Eye and Ear seeing adult and pediatric patients with Dr. Eric Pierce and Dr. Eliot Berson. It is anticipated that fellows will spend at least one day per week seeing patients, but this will be adjusted depending upon the interests of individual fellows.

The selected fellow(s) will also be expected to participate in one, or more, research projects related to inherited retinal disorders. This can include laboratory-based research in the Ocular Genomics Institute or Berman-Gund Laboratory, or more clinically focused research in the Berman-Gund Laboratory. Examples of potential research projects include:

  • Genetic studies to identify novel IRD disease genes in families whose disease is not caused by mutations in known genes
  • Investigations of the pathogenesis of disease caused by mutations in identified IRD disease genes such as RP1 and the RNA splicing factor RP genes
  • Development of improved informatic and empiric methods for assessing the pathogenicity of sequence variants identified by exome and genome sequencing
  • Investigation of genotype-phenotype correlations and definition of disease course in patients with genetically defined forms of IRD
  • Participation in clinical trials of potential therapies for retinitis pigmentosa and allied diseases

It is expected that fellows will apply for funding from the Foundation Fighting Blindness, the National Eye Institute and other sources to support their fellowship year(s).

General Requirements

1. Ophthalmology-trained fellow participation in the evaluation of patients in the MEEI emergency room for 24 clinical sessions per fellowship year, irrespective of extramural or research duty

2. Participation in the “Fellows Course,” including preparation of a publishable manuscript, which will be undertaken with faculty mentorship

3. Attendance at Grand Rounds on a regular basis (60%+)

Interested candidates for this fellowship should contact:

Kathleen Newton
Department of Ophthalmology
Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary
243 Charles Street
Boston, MA 02114
Telephone: 617-573-6906

 page updated 2.19.14