Staff Collaborate Conference Room

Erica N. Woertz

Erica Woertz_Academic Profile

Erica N. Woertz

G3 Student

Faculty Advisor

  • Joseph Carroll, PhD, Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences, Biophysics, and Cell Biology, Neurobiology & Anatomy; located at the Eye Institute


  • Medical Scientist Training Program

Contact Information


BS, Biology, Azusa Pacific University, 2012


My dream to become a physician began when I was very young. In pursuit of this dream I went to college to study biology, which introduced me to the world of research. I participated in several research projects at Azusa Pacific University as well as completed a summer research internship at the Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah, and I fell in love with the way research allowed me to push the boundaries of what we know and learn new things that I could in turn teach to others. After graduating from college I gained clinical experience by working as a vision therapist at an optometry clinic, and my time there helped solidify both my desire to work directly with patients and my interest in exploring research questions related to vision and neuroscience. This ultimately inspired me to begin the MD/PhD program at MCW in 2014 and join the AOIP for my PhD training.

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. I am interested in understanding how these developmental changes contribute to visual acuity and the organization of the visual cortex, using both high-resolution retinal imaging and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) of the brain.

Research Experience

Azusa Pacific University, 2008-2011
Advisor: Sarah Richart, PhD
Project: Development of an in vitro assay for testing herbal substances that interfere with the influenza A virus polymerase

Huntsman Cancer Institute University of Utah, 2010
Advisor: Jody Rosenblatt, PhD
Project: The involvement of caspase in activation of sphingosine kinase during apoptotic cell extrusion

General Interests

Running, baking, music, skiing, traveling