Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences at the Eye Institute

Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences

Dan Lipinski, MSc, DPhil

Daniel M. Lipinski, MSc, DPhil

Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, Assistant Professor of Cell Biology, Neurobiology and Anatomy


  • Medical College of Wisconsin Eye Institute
  • 925 N. 87th St. Room Room 722
    Milwaukee WI, 53226

Contact Information


BSc, Biology, Imperial College London, UK
MSc, Virology, Imperial College London, UK
DPhil, Ophthalmology, University of Oxford, UK


I was born and went to school in the Southeast of England, where I was encouraged to pursue an interest in science. After growing up (somewhat) and finishing school, I attended Imperial College London, where I white-knuckled my way to honours degrees in Biology (BSc) and Virology (MSc) and developed a passion for the structure of viruses and how they can be used as gene transfer vectors. After graduating, I moved to the University of Oxford (or potentially, to Hogwarts), where I carried out my doctoral research (DPhil) under the supervision of Professor Robert E. MacLaren, a world-renowned clinician-scientist and expert in retinal gene therapy. In 2013, I moved to the University of Florida to work under the guidance of Professor William W. Hauswirth, a pioneer in the use of adeno-associated virus (AAV) vectors for gene therapy. Along the way, I established an independently funded research program and picked up several accolades, including a Young Investigator of the Year Award (Asia-ARVO, 2011), The Master’s Prize (Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers, 2012) and the inaugural Fulbright-Fight for Sight Research Scholarship (2013). I was recently recognized as an Emerging Vision Scientist by the National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (2016) and joined the faculty at Medical College of Wisconsin as an Assistant Professor, founding the Ocular Gene Therapy Laboratory (OGTL).

Research Interests

My interest lies in the development of safe and effective gene therapy treatments to prevent vision loss in people who have inherited or vascular diseases affecting their eye. As a consequence, my primary focus is to prevent cone photoreceptor degeneration, as cones mediate daytime vision, color discrimination and depth perception, and so are vitally important in our everyday lives. To pursue this goal, my research group takes a multi-disciplinary and highly collaborative approach, incorporating aspects of molecular and cell biology, virology, neuroscience, organic chemistry, imaging and more. 

Research Interests

  • Recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAV)-mediated gene therapy
  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Inherited retinal disease (e.g., Retinitis pigmentosa)
  • Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) 

Research Team

  • Kristina J. Ertel, Graduate Student
  • Dwani D. Patel, Graduate Student
  • Hanmeng Zhang, Graduate Student
  • Emily Nettesheim, Research Technologist
  • Amira Pavlovich, Research Associate 

Research Summary

The overarching theme of my research program is the development of broadly applicable gene-based therapeutics to preserve vision in neurodegenerative and vascular diseases affecting the retina. Toward this end, the Lipinski research group focuses on a number of key areas:

1) The development of recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAV)-mediated gene therapies to prevent cone photoreceptor degeneration in end-stage retinitis pigmentosa. 

2) Developing gene therapy approaches to target the retinal and choroidal vasculature in diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration.

3) Restoration of light sensitivity/vision in the totally degenerate retina.

Funding for this research: Department of Ophthalmology Special Endowment (PI: Lipinski DM)
Past grant support/funding: Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) Innovative Grant (2014-2015, PI: Lipinski DM); Fulbright-Fight for Sight (UK) Research Scholarship (2013-2015, PI: Lipinski DM); Fight for Sight (UK) PhD Studentship (2009-2012, PI: MacLaren RE)


Ocular Gene Therapy

 The Ocular Gene Therapy Laboratory (OGTL), founded by Daniel M. Lipinski, MSc, DPhil, and located in the Eye Institute, aims to develop broadly applicable gene-based therapeutics to prevent human blindness arising from neurodegenerative or vascular diseases affecting the retina.