Lucy H.Y. Young, M.D., Ph.D., FACS

Research Summary

Center/Research Area Affiliations

Research Summary

Dr. Young's clinical interests include diabetic retinopathy, age-related macular degeneration, trauma-related retinal complications, KPro-related retinal complications, and retinal infections. Her research interests focus on intravitreal drug toxicities, retinal infections, retinal complications associated with KPro implantation, and host-pathogenrelations in Toxoplasma gondii infection.

Current Projects

Toxoplasma gondii is a protozoan parasite that is present globally and causes a common infection in animals and humans. One of Dr. Young's interests is to determine whether there are specific factors that determine disease outcome in an individual patient infected with Toxoplama gondii. Are there host factors? Are there certain strain types that are more virulent? In collaboration with Prof. Jeroen Saeij, an Assistant Professor at MIT, Dr. Young is working on the following projects:

  1. Cytokine Polymorphism We are interested in looking at various cytokines for possible polymorphisms that may explain why some patients show massive inflammation once infected with this parasite and why some patients seem to have repeated recurrences as if they’re unable to maintain the parasite in the dormant cyst stage. We will collaborate with several Brazilian ophthalmologists from Brazil and will have access to blood of patients with documented ocular toxoplamosis. We will process their blood DNA for single nucleotide polymorphism (SNPs) from cytokine genes at the Broad Institute Center.
  2. Serotyping Toxoplasma gondii strains Some strains cause disease in the eye by creating excessive stimulation of the immune system leading to toxic levels of cytokines (extensive vasculitis and macular edema) and some cause massive retinal destruction by the large numbers of parasites present in the retina. Using available genome sequence from a number of Toxoplasma gondii strains, we will have the most polymorphic Toxoplasma proteins identified. With these proteins, we will synthesize polymorphic peptides to design an improved serological assay to better characterize the specific strain that is the culprit. With this assay, we will be better prepared to treat patient according to the virulence of their strain.


For a full publication list, please see her CV.

Transcriptional analysis of murine macrophages infected with different Toxoplasma strains identifies novel regulation of host signaling pathways. Melo MB, Nguyen, Cordeiro C, Hassan MA, Yang N, Mckell R, Rosowski EE, Julien L, Butty V, Darde ML, Ajzenberg D, Fitzgerald K, Young LH, Saeij JPJ. PLOS Pathog. 2013;9(12):e1003779.

Interleukin-6 gene polymorphism (-174 G/C) is associated with Toxoplasmic retinochoroiditis. Cordeiro CA, Moreira PR, Bessa TF, Costa GC, Dutra WO, Campos WR, Orefice F, Young LH, Teixeira AL. Acta Ophthalmol. 2013 Jun; 91(4):e311-4.

Progressive outer retinal necrosis presenting as cherry red spot. Yiu G, Young LH. Ocul Immunol Inflamm. 2012 Oct; 20(5):384-6.

Ocular toxoplasmosis: advanced in detection and treatment. Englander M,Young LHInt Ophthalmol Clin. 2011 Fall;51(4)53-66.

Increased serum levels of soluble tumor necrosis factor receptor-2 (sTNFR2) in patients with active Toxoplasmic retinochoroiditis. Bessa TF, Cordeiro CA, Goncalves RM, Young LH, Campos WR, Orefice F, Teixeira AL. Braz J Infect Dis. 2012 Nov-Dec;16(6):540-4.

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1977: B.S. Molecular Biology (with distinction), University of Wisconsin–Madison
1980: M.D., University of Wisconsin–Madison
1982: M.A., Biology, Harvard University
1984: Ph.D., Biology, Harvard University (advisor: John E. Dowling, Ph.D.)

Postgraduate Training

1985: Internship, Framingham Union Hospital, Framingham, MA
1988: Residency (Ophthalmology), Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary
1990: Fellowship (Vitreoretinal disease),Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary

Academic Appointments

1987 - 1992: Research Associate, Harvard University
1989 - 1992: Instructor in Ophthalmology, Harvard Medical School
1992 - 1997: Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology, Harvard Medical School
1998 - present: Associate Professor of Ophthalmology, Harvard Medical School

Professional Memberships

1982 - present: Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology
1984 - present: Society for Neuroscience
1988 - present: Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Alumni Association
1989 - present: American Academy of Ophthalmology
1990 - present: Massachusetts Society of Eye Physicians and Surgeons
1994 - present: The Retina Society (2007 - present: The Fellowship Research and Raymond R. Margherio Award Selection Committee)
1995 - present: The New England Ophthalmological Society
1995 - present: American College of Surgeons
1996 - present: The Macula Society
2002 - present: Club Jules Gonin


1974 - 1977: Epsilon Sigma Epsilon
1974 - 1977: Chancellor’s Vilas Scholarship
1974 - 1977: Letters and Science Honors Program
1974 - 1977: Dean’s List, graduated with distinction, University of Wisconsin–Madison
1981 - 1984: Springer Verlag Scholarship (NIH Training Fellowship), National Institutes of Health
1988 - 1989: Heed Fellowship, Heed Foundation
1988 - 1990: National Research Service Award, National Institutes of Health
1989 - 1990: Heed Foundation/Knapp Fellowship  AOS-Knapp Fund
1998: Teaching Award, Lancaster Course in Ophthalmology
1998: Nominee, A. Clifford Barger Award for Excellence in Mentoring, Harvard Medical School
2004: Nominee, A. Clifford Barger Award for Excellence in Mentoring, Harvard Medical School
2004: Distinguished Service Award Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary
2005: Nominee, A. Clifford Barger Award for Excellence in Mentoring, Harvard Medical School
2006: Nominee, A. Clifford Barger Award for Excellence in Mentoring, Harvard Medical School
2011: First Annual Vitreoretinal Fellowship Teaching Award, Massachusetts Eye and Ear