José-Alain Sahel, MD

  • Chair, Department of Ophthalmology


Phone: N/A


Campus Address

200 Lothrop St, Oakland, PA, 15213

One-Line Research Description

Cellular and molecular mechanisms of retinal degeneration and development of treatments for currently incurable blinding diseases

Sahel's research is focused on retinal degenerative diseases of genetic and age-related origin. He works on the conception, development and evaluation of innovative therapeutic strategies for retinal dystrophies, including neuroprotection, stem cells, gene therapy, pharmacology, artificial retina. Sahel's group was the first to hypothesize and demostrate that rod photoreceptors produce a protein (RdCVF) that rescues cone photoreceptors, and determined its mechanism of action. RdCVF is now in translation as a possible therapeutic agent to treat a spectrun of retinal degenerative diseases. Sahel's group continuously contributes to the development of a number of additional therapeutic approaches to restore vision once rods and cones have degenerated, among these, optogenetics, stem cells, artificial retina and machine vision. Utilizing a variety of molecular and functional genomics approaches, his group identified several novel disease-causing genes, conducts research on genotype-phenotype correlations with high resolution in vivo non-invasive high-resolution retinal imaging techniques aiming at identifying patients eligible for clinical application of innovative therapies and develops novel technologies for morpho-functional imaging of the visual system. 

Representative Publications

Reichman S1, Slembrouck A1, Gagliardi G1, Chaffiol A1, Terray A1, Nanteau C1, Potey A1, Belle M1, Rabesandratana O1, Duebel J1, Orieux G1, Nandrot EF1, Sahel JA1,2, Goureau O1. Generation of Storable Retinal Organoids and Retinal Pigmented Epithelium from Adherent Human iPS Cells in Xeno-Free and Feeder-Free Conditions. Stem Cells. 2017 Feb 20.


Scholl HP, Strauss RW, Singh MS, Dalkara D, Roska B, Picaud S, Sahel JA. Emerging therapies for inherited retinal degeneration, Sci Transl Med, i07 Dec 2016 : 368rv6.


Sengupta A, Chaffiol A, Macé E, Caplette R, Desrosiers M, Lampič M, Forster V, Marre O, Lin JY, Sahel JA, Picaud S, Dalkara D, Duebel J. Red-shifted channelrhodopsin stimulation restores light responses in blind mice, macaque retina, and human retina. EMBO Mol Med. 2016 Nov 2;8(11):1248-1264.


Bendali A, Rousseau L, Lissorgues G, Scorsone E, Djilas M, Dégardin J, Dubus E, Fouquet S, Benosman R, Bergonzo P, Sahel JA, Picaud S. Synthetic 3D diamond-based electrodes for flexible retinal neuroprostheses: Model, production and in vivo biocompatibility. Biomaterials. 2015 Jul 14;67:73-83.


Aït-Ali N1, Fridlich R1, Millet-Puel G1, Clérin E1, Delalande F2, Jaillard C1, Blond F1, Perrocheau L1, Reichman S1, Byrne LC3, Olivier-Bandini A4, Bellalou J5, Moyse E6, Bouillaud F7, Nicol X1, Dalkara D1, van Dorsselaer A2, Sahel JA1, Léveillard T. Rod-derived cone viability factor promotes cone survival by stimulating aerobic glycolysis. Cell. 2015 May 7;161(4):817-32.


Byrne LC, Dalkara D, Luna G, Fisher SK, Clérin E, Sahel JA, Léveillard T, Flannery JG. Viral-mediated RdCVF and RdCVFL expression protects cone and rod photoreceptors in retinal degeneration. J Clin Invest. 2015 Jan;125(1):105-16