|Guerrieri Professor of Genetic Engineering & Molecular Ophthalmology|
Glaucoma Divison, The Wilmer Eye Institute
The Wilmer Eye Institute, Maumenee 809
600 North Wolfe Street
Baltimore, MD 21287
Donald J. Zack, M.D., Ph.D., is the Guerrieri Professor of Genetic Engineering and Molecular Ophthalmology at the Wilmer Eye Institute, Johns Hopkins University. He is also a professor in the Departments of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Neuroscience, and the Institute of Genetic Medicine. Dr. Zack graduated from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in 1984, where he received a medical degree and a Ph.D. in molecular immunology, under the mentorship of Dr. Matthew Scharff. After a year of internship Dr. Zack completed a three-year residency training program in ophthalmology at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Harvard University. In 1988, he moved to Johns Hopkins where he pursued specialty training in glaucoma, under the direction of Dr. Harry Quigley, and molecular biology post-doctoral work, under the direction of Dr. Jeremy Nathans. Dr. Zack was appointed Assistant Professor at Hopkins in 1991, Associate Professor in 1997, and Professor in 2001. Dr. Zack has published over 160 peer-reviewed journal articles and has won a number of awards, including the Alcon Research Award. He is a former chairperson of the National Eye Institute study section that is responsible for determining funding priorities for a large number of retinal research grants, including many related to glaucoma. He has served on scientific advisory boards for a number of academic institutions, journals, non-profit research foundations, and biotech and pharmaceutical companies.
Dr. Zack’s research activities cover the spectrum from basic research to translational studies (from “bench to bedside”) to clinical trials. His lab studies the control of gene expression in retinal ganglion cells, the cells whose death in glaucoma leads to visual loss and potentially blindness. They also study the mechanisms by which ganglion cells die in glaucoma, and also, in collaboration with Dr. Quigley’s group, are developing novel methods to slow down, and hopefully to prevent, ganglion cell death in glaucoma. As an approach that someday may offer the possibility of restoring vision to glaucoma patients who have already lost significant vision due to ganglion cell death, they are beginning studies to promote the differentiation of stem cells into retinal ganglion cells.