Demetrios G. Vavvas, M.D., Ph.D.

Harvard Medical School

Associate Professor of Ophthalmology, Department of Ophthalmology
Co-Director, Ocular Regenerative Medicine Institute

Massachusetts Eye and Ear

Incumbent of the Monte J. Wallace Ophthalmology Chair in Retina
Associate Scientist

Research Summary

Center/Research Area Affiliations

Research Summary

Demetrios G. Vavvas, M.D., Ph.D., holds the Monte J. Wallace Ophthalmology Chair in Retina and is an Associate Professor of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School and Co-Director of the Ocular Regenerative Medicine Institute. Dr. Vavvas serves as a full-time clinician-scientist on the Retina Service at Massachusetts Eye and Ear. He earned his B.Sc. in Neurosciences at McGill University and his M.D., Ph.D. from Boston University School of Medicine. He received his ophthalmology training in the Harvard Medical School Residency Program. After serving as the Chief Resident and Director of the Eye Trauma service at Mass. Eye and Ear, he completed a fellowship in Vitreoretinal Surgery there where he received the Fellow of the Year award for his resident teaching and served as the Chief Fellow. 

He is an active member of the retina faculty seeing a variety of surgical and medical vitreoretinal diseases. Dr. Vavvas' clinical work focuses on macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, trauma and oncology. He was the first to describe use of small gauge vitrectomy for complications of cataract surgery and trauma and has described a modified approach to an old surgical technique called scleral buckle in order to make it more predictable and easier to teach to trainees. Along with Drs. John Loewenstein and Dean Eliott, he co-directs and organizes the Annual Fellows Course tailored for first-year vitreoretinal fellows from over 20 different programs in the nation. 

Dr. Vavvas is actively committed to research, serving as Principal Investigator in the Angiogenesis Laboratory. He is especially involved in research of cell death mechanisms and neuroprotection strategies and his lab identified receptor interacting protein kinases (RIPK) mediated programmed necrosis as significant mode of photoreceptor cell loss and showed that simultaneous inhibition of both RIP kinase and caspase pathways is necessary for effective neuroprotection. He is investigating the regulation of the energy sensor of the cell AMP dependent kinase and the potential of its small molecule activator, AICAR, to suppress intraocular inflammation and retinoblastoma tumor growth. He has performed a Phase I/II clinical trial of high dose statins as a potential to reverse high risk features in age related macular degeneration. 

Dr. Vavvas has more than 172 publications on View a complete list here.

For more information, download his CV [PDF].




1992: B.Sc, First Class Honors, Biology/Neurosciences, McGill University, Montreal, Canada

1999: M.D., Ph.D., cum laude, Medicine/Physiology, Boston University School of Medicine

Postgraduate Training

2000: Internship, Medicine, Boston Medical Center

2003: Residency, Ophthalmology, Harvard Medical School

2004: Chief Resident, Ophthalmology, Harvard Medical School

2006: Fellowship, Medical Retina and Vitreoretinal Surgery, Massachusetts Eye and Ear

2007: Chief Fellow, Medical Retina and Vitreoretinal Surgery, Mass. Eye and Ear

Academic Appointments

2016-present: Monte J. Wallace Ophthalmology Chair in Retina

2013-present: Associate Professor of Ophthalmology, Harvard Medical School

2010-2013: Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology, Harvard Medical School

2007-2010: Instructor in Ophthalmology, Harvard Medical School