Brian P. Hafler, M.D., Ph.D.

Massachusetts Eye and Ear
Research Fellow in Genetics

Research Summary

Research Summary

Dr. Hafler’s research focuses on studying therapeutic approaches using antioxidant genes in models of retinitis pigmentosa. In particular, he is examining neuroprotective genes that reduce oxidation and prevent neurodegeneration of photoreceptor cells. He aims to translate his research into gene therapy development in human clinical trials.

Selected Publications

For a full list of publications, please see his CV.

Hafler BP, Klein ZA, Strittmatter SM. Progressive Retinal Degeneration and Accumulation of Autofluorescent Lipopigments in Progranulin Deficient Mice. Brain Res. 2014 Sep 16.

Grutzendler J, Murikinati S, Hiner B, Lam C, Yoo T, Ji L, Gupta S, Hafler BP, Adelman R, Yuan P. Rodriguez G. Angiophagy is a fundamental mechanism of microvascular recanalization in multiple organs. Sci. Trans. Med, 2014 Mar 5;6(226):226ra31

Hafler BP, Surzenko N, Beier KT, Punzo C, Trimarchi JM, Kong JH, Cepko CL. Transcription factor Olig2 defines subpopulations of retinal progenitor cells biased toward specific cell fates. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 May 15; 109(20):7882-7. Epub 2012 Apr 27.

Benchabane H, Xin N, Tian A, Hafler BP, Nguyen K, Ahmed A, Ahmed Y.  Jerky/Earthbound facilitates cell-specific Wnt/Wingless signalling by modulating β-catenin-TCF activity. EMBO J. 30:1444-58.

Hafler BP, Choi MY, Shivdasani RA, Rowitch DH. (2008). Expression and Function of Nkx6.3 in vertebrate hindbrain. Brain Res. 1222:42-50.

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2000: AB, Princeton University, magna cum laude

2007: PhD, Division of Medical Sciences, Program in Neuroscience, Harvard Medical School

2009: MD, Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Division of Health Sciences and Technology

Postgraduate Training

01/2007-06/2007, 09/08-06/10: Harvard Medical School, Department of Genetics, Prof. Constance Cepko

2010-2011: Internship, Department of Medicine, Yale School of Medicine/Yale-New Haven Hospital

2011-2014: Residency, Department of Ophthalmology, Yale School of Medicine/Yale-New Haven Hospital

2014-2015: Fellowship, Inherited Retinal Degenerations, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary


2014: Foundation Fighting Blindness Fellowship Award

2014: Heed Ophthalmic Foundation Fellowship

2013: Connecticut Society of Eye Physicians Resident Research, 1st Place

2013: Yale Department of Ophthalmology Resident Research Award

2012: Connecticut Society of Eye Physicians First Prize Poster Presentation

2012: National Eye Institute ARVO Travel Award

2009: Howard Hughes Medical Institute Postdoctoral Associate

2005: NINDS F30 Individual Training Award

2001: Jacqueline Lippitz Research Award, American Brain Tumor Association

2001: American Academy of Neurology Research Scholarship

2000: Princeton Senior Thesis Prize for Scientific Research

2000: Elected into Sigma Xi Research Honor Society

1999: ADP Science Scholarship Award, College Fund of NJ

1999: Awarded Howard Hughes Medical Institute Fellowship

1998: Presidential Scholar for Academic Achievement, Princeton University

1996: 7th Place Scholarship in the National Westinghouse Science Talent Search

1996: American Academy of Achievement Golden Plate Award