Ethan A. Rossi, PhD

  • Assistant Professor, Ophthalmology and Bioengineering




Personal Website

web site link

Education & Training

PhD, University of California, Berkeley (2009)

Campus Address

Eye & Ear Institute, 203 Lothrop St, Suite 834

One-Line Research Description

Development and deployment of advanced imaging tools to study the healthy and diseased retina at the level of single cells in the living human eye.

Our research is focused on studying the structure and function of the normal and diseased retina at the level of single cells in the living human eye. We use advanced optical imaging techniques with adaptive optics to study the cellular mosaics of the retina, from the retinal pigmented epithelial cells that line the back of the eye, to the photoreceptors that absorb light and initiate the first step of seeing, to the retinal ganglion cells whose parallel neural circuits process visual information and send it along to the rest of the brain. Visual function can be impaired when any of the different classes of cells in the retina are damaged or lost from causes such as genetic abnormalities, disease or trauma. Some specific diseases of focus for us include age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, and inherited retinal degenerations. Understanding the organization of the retina in the normal eye is critical for understanding how the retina is altered in these states, so we often deploy our techniques first on normal eyes to better understand the wide variability of what is normal. The normal process of aging also alters the retina and it is important for us to understand how these normal aging changes differ from those we see in age-related diseases such as age-related macular degeneration. Understanding how ocular conditions alter the structure of the retina at the level of single cells is critically important, but we must also understand how these changes alter visual function. So, we also deploy tools to test the function of the retina and visual system to correlate structural changes with changes in vision. Recently, we have also begun to look at how brain injury, such as through concussion, impairs visual functioning, specifically by looking at alterations in how the eyes move following brain injury.

Representative Publications

Song H, Rossi EA, Yang Q, Granger CE, Latchney LR, Chung MM. High-Resolution Adaptive Optics in Vivo Autofluorescence Imaging in Stargardt Disease. JAMA Ophthalmology. Published online March 21, 2019. doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2019.0299


Walters S, Schwarz C, Sharma R, Rossi EA, Fischer WS, DiLoreto DA Jr, Strazzeri J, Nelidova D, Roska B, Hunter JJ, Williams DR, Merigan WH. Cellular-scale evaluation of induced photoreceptor degeneration in the living primate eye. Biomed Opt Express. 2019 Jan 1;10(1):66-82. doi: 10.1364/BOE.10.000066. eCollection 2019 Jan 1. PubMed PMID: 30775083; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6363191.


Granger CE, Yang Q, Song H, Saito K, Nozato K, Latchney LR, Leonard BT, Chung MM, Williams DR, & Rossi EA. Human retinal pigment epithelium: in vivo cell morphometry, multi-spectral autofluorescence, and relationship to cone mosaic. Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science. Dec 2018; 59:5705-5716. doi:10.1167/iovs.18-24677. PMID: 30513531.


Grieve K, Gofas-Salas E, Ferguson RD, Sahel JA, Paques M, & Rossi EA. In vivo near-infrared autofluorescence imaging of retinal pigment epithelial cells with 757 nm excitation. Biomedical Optics Express. 2018; 9(12):5946-5961.


Rossi EA, Granger CE, Sharma R, Yang Q, Saito K, Schwarz C, Walters S, Nozato K, Zhang J, Kawakami T, Fischer W, Latchney LR, Hunter JJ, Chung MM, Williams DR. Imaging individual neurons in the retinal ganglion cell layer of the living eye. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2017;114(3):586-591; doi:10.1073/pnas.1613445114. PMID: 28049835.


See full publications list here