Students in the Advanced Ocular Imaging Program are given the opportunity to develop strong research skills in a multidisciplinary environment.  Involved in every aspect of the program, students play a vital role in the ongoing development of innovative imaging research.

Graduate students review an adaptive optics retinal imageOur students come to us from a variety of programs, and with varied expertise, including medicine, cell biology, engineering, neuroscience, image processing and computer programming.  Medical students at Medical College of Wisconsin typically participate via the Medical Student Summer Research Program (MSSRP) or the Physician Scientist Pathway.  We also accept undergraduate students through both the Program for Undergraduate Research Experience (PURE) and Summer Program for Undergraduate Research (SPUR) programs offered through the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, as well as high school students participating in the Research Opportunity for Academic Development in Science (ROADS) program. In addition, we have numerous other research opportunities for local students from the Milwaukee School of Engineering, UW Milwaukee, or Marquette University.

If you are interested in our program, please contact Joseph Carroll (414) 955-2052 to discuss current research opportunities.  Get to know our current students on this page or view our graduates on our alumni page.

Anisha Arora

Program: Medical Student; Clinical & Translational Research Pathway

Research Interests: My work at the AOIP revolves around studying Achromatopsia (ACHM), a genetic disorder characterized by loss of color vision, low visual acuity, and nystagmus due to dysfunctional cone photoreceptors. I aim to characterize the clinical progression of this disease using adaptive optics and biometric measurements. Additionally, I am working on developing a reliable clinical outcome measure for ACHM patients receiving gene therapy using a photosensitivity tester.

Undergraduate Education: BA, Northwestern University

Gelique Ayala

Program: Medical Student; Clinician Educator Pathway

Research Interests: I am primarily interested in studying ocular development. Specifically, I am working to identify factors that could explain foveal pit variation within a healthy population.

Undergraduate Education: BS, University of Illinois at Chicago

Heather Heitkotter

Program: Neuroscientist Doctoral Program

Research Interests: My current research interests lie in exploring the connection between the eye and brain. Specifically, I would like to investigate the interplay between external stimuli and its translation onto the retina and visual cortex.

Undergraduate Education: BA, Lake Forest College

Alison Huckenpahler

Program: Medical Scientist Training Program

Research Interests: I am currently working using adaptive optics to characterize a transgenic pig model of retinitis pigmentosa. This disease is caused by a mutation in rhodopsin which results in a loss of rod photoreceptors, eventually leading to blindness. This model will allow us to look in depth at the pathophysiology of the disease and hopefully lead to possible gene therapies to restore/preserve vision.

Undergraduate Education: BS, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Daniel Lee

Program: Medical Student; Clinical & Translational Research Pathway

Research Interests: I am currently studying Henle Layer Fiber topography in both normal subjects and subjects with albinism. I am generally interested in how the Henle Layer Fiber and Outer Nuclear Layer thickness relates to other foveal specialization, namely foveal cone density.

Undergraduate Education: BA, University of California - Berkeley

Rachel E. Linderman

Program: Interdisciplinary Program in Biomedical Sciences

Research Interests: Currently, my research involves using Optical Coherence Tomography Angiography (OCT-A) to characterize vasculature in both normal and diseased eyes.

Undergraduate Education: BA, Luther College

Sarah Bisola Omoba

Program: Medical Student; Clinical & Translational Research Pathway

Research Interests:

Undergraduate Education: University of Iowa

Alexander Salmon

Program: Neuroscience Doctoral Program

Research Interests: Humans rely on cone photoreceptors for perception of color and high acuity vision, so my research focuses on a relatively new animal model: the thirteen-lined ground squirrel (13-LGS) which has a cone-rich retina. I am currently working on developing and validating new retinal imaging tools which are optimized for the 13-LGS including an adaptive optics (AO) scanning light ophthalmoscope which allows us to visualize individual photoreceptors in living squirrels [PubMed], image processing and analysis algorithms for AO images [PubMed], and an optical coherence tomography-angiography system.

Undergraduate Education: BS, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Steven Seto

Program: Medical Student; Clinical & Translational Research Pathway

Research Interests: Currently, I am interested in comparing different retinal imaging modalities, specifically looking at photoreceptor numerosity using adaptive optics and reflectivity of retinal bands on optical coherence tomography.

Undergraduate Education: BS, University of Washington

Erica Woertz

Program: Medical Scientist Training Program

Research Interests: My primary research interest is in ocular albinism, a genetic disease that reduces the amount of pigment in the eyes, hair, and skin. This reduction in pigment affects the development of the retina as well as the nerves that carry visual information to the brain.

Undergraduate Education: BS, Azusa Pacific University

Advanced Ocular Imaging Program
Medical College of Wisconsin Eye Institute
925 North 87th Street
Milwaukee, WI 53226
Phone: 414-955-AOIP (2647)
Fax: 414-955-6690
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