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Human corneal endothelial cells (left, center panels) and stromal fibroblasts (right panels). From Schmedt T, Chen Y, Nguyen TT, Li S, Bonanno JA, Jurkunas UV. Telomerase immortalization of human corneal endothelial cells yields functional hexagonal monolayers. PLoS One. 2012;7(12):e51427.

Harvard Medical School Department of Ophthalmology

Reza Dana, M.D., M.Sc., MPH
Ula V. Jurkunas, M.D.

The cornea is the eye's most powerful structure for focusing light; it also protects the rest of the eye from injuries and microbial pathogens (such as bacteria, fungi, or viruses). However, the cornea itself is susceptible to infections, inflammation, injuries, and genetic conditions that can disrupt corneal function and cause vision loss. According to the World Health Organization, corneal blindness is one of the leading causes of vision loss worldwide, and alleviating this global burden is dependent not only on elucidating disease mechanisms and improving therapeutic approaches, but also on increasing access to ophthalmic care. The Cornea Center of Excellence has made significant contributions in all of these areas; it brings together the world’s largest and most esteemed group of scientists and physicians dedicated to:

  • Understanding corneal biology
  • Developing treatments for corneal conditions
  • Improving access to sight-saving treatments

Basic science and translational investigations are conducted in the following areas:

Image: Human corneal endothelial cells (left and middle panels) immunostained for nuclei (blue) and corneal endothelial marker ZO-1 (green). Stromal fibroblasts (right panels) were used as a negative control. From: Schmedt et al. PLoS One. 2012;7(12):e51427.

Centers of Excellence


New Frontiers in Corneal Research

This exciting seminar series uncovers current limitations in the treatment of corneal diseases and the translational research underway Department-wide that aims to overcome them. Presentations are given by a clinician-scientist team based on topic. The target audience includes clinical fellows, postdocs, junior faculty, and medical students.

Cornea Visiting Professor Lecture Series

The Harvard Ophthalmology Cornea Center of Excellence hosts a visiting professor lecture series that draws distinguished faculty from around the country

View more upcoming Cornea events >>