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Our Scientists

UMass Eye Researchers are engaged in innovative projects to better understand various blindness causing diseases.

  • Johanna M. Seddon

    Johanna M. Seddon, MD, ScM, FARVO

    Principal Investigator & Professor

    Dr. Seddon pioneered the field of epidemiology in ophthalmology and initiated studies of genetics in macular degeneration. She previously founded and directed Ophthalmic Epidemiology and Genetics Services at Harvard and Tufts in Boston. Read more ›

  • Claudio Punzo

    Claudio Punzo, PhD

    Principal Investigator & Associate Professor

    Dr. Punzo obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Basel Switzerland where he studied Drosophila eye development and evolution under the supervision of Dr. Walter Gehring at the Biozentrum. After completion of his Ph.D. he joined Dr. Constance Cepko at Harvard Medical School for a postdoctoral fellowship on retinal degeneration. In 2010, Dr. Punzo joined the Department of Ophthalmology at UMass Chan Medical School as a junior faculty. Read more ›

  • Darren J. Lee

    Darren J. Lee, PhD

    Principal Investigator & Associate Professor

    Dr. Lee received his B.S. from the University of California, Davis in Genetics, and his Ph.D. from the University of New Hampshire in Genetics. Thereafter he joined the laboratory of Dr. Andrew Taylor at Schepens Eye Research Institute, Harvard Medical School for a post-doctoral fellowship on autoimmune uveitis. Read more ›

  • Juan Ding

    Juan Ding, OD, PhD

    Principal Investigator & Assistant Professor

    Dr. Ding graduated Summa Cum Laude from The New England College of Optometry in 2017. She achieved the highest score in National Optometry Board Exam among over one thousand candidates in 2016. Prior to a clinical career, Ding received her PhD in Molecular and Cellular Biology from Ohio University. Read more ›

  • Shun-Yun Cheng

    Shun-Yun Cheng, PhD

    Post-doc Research Fellow

    Michelle Cheng, also known as Shun-Yun, is a dedicated post-doctoral research fellow at the Punzo Lab. Her passion lies in unraveling the complexities of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), and she is actively engaged in research aimed at the development of innovative therapeutics to treat AMD.

  • William Casazza

    William Casazza, PhD

    Senior Bioinformatician

    Dr. Casazza is a Senior Bioinformatician in the Seddon lab. He received his Ph.D. in bioinformatics from the University of British Columbia, where he focused on learning the function of non-coding genetic variants across many diseases. His current research investigates genetic determinants of age-related macular degeneration and primarily focuses on rare genetic variants with known biological consequences.