Daniel Sun, Ph.D.

Harvard Medical School

Instructor in Ophthalmology

Massachusetts Eye and Ear


Research Summary

Center/Research Area Affiliations


Dr. Sun’s research interests grew while he was completing his optometry degree in Melbourne, Australia, so much so, that he moved to Boston and pursued research fulltime.  His work on glaucoma, the optic nerve and astrocyte biology began in 2007 when he joined Richard Maslands lab at Massachusetts General Hospital.  During this time, he characterized with great detail the morphological characteristics of optic nerve astrocytes in both normal and diseased eyes, something that had not been done with much clarity before.  He now studies various signaling pathways that may regulate these astrocytic changes.  The overall goal of his research is to understand the function and mechanisms of astrocyte reactivity within the retina and optic nerve, with the goal of determining whether it is better to enhance or reduce certain aspects of their activity during disease.  He uses various models of experiment glaucoma and traumatic optic nerve injury.  His expertise lies in cell biology, cell imaging, functional assays and animal models.  His has been supported by the Fight for Sight Grants-in-Aid, the Brightfocus Foundation, and the National Institutes of Health R01.

For more information, download his CV [PDF].


M.S., Optometry, University of Melbourne, Australia (2002)
Ph.D., Optometry, University of Melbourne, Australia (2007)

Postgraduate Training

Postdoctoral Fellowship (Richard Masland, PhD), Massachusetts General Hospital (2007-2009)
Postdoctoral Fellowship (Tatjana Jakobs, MD PhD), Schepens Eye Research Institute of Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary (2009-2012)


Selected Publications

Dr. Sun has published more than 15 peer-reviewed articles. View his publications on PubMed.

  1. Sun D, Moore S, Jakobs TC.  2017.  Optic nerve astrocyte reactivity protects function in experimental glaucoma and other nerve injuriesJ Exp Med  214:1411-1430.
  2. Sun D, Qu J, Jakobs TC.  2013.  Reversible reactivity by optic nerve astrocytesGlia  61:1218-1235.
  3. Sun D, Jakobs T.  2012.  Structural remodeling of astrocytes in the injured CNSNeuroscientist. 18:567-588.  (INVITED REVIEW).
  4. Sun D, Lye-Barthel M, Masland R, Jakobs T.  2010.  Structural remodeling of fibrous astrocytes after axonal injuryJ Neurosci  30:14008-14019. 
  5. Sun D, Lye-Barthel M, Masland R, Jakobs T.  2009.  The morphology and spatial arrangement of astrocytes in the optic nerve head of the mouseJ Comp Neurol  516:1-19.