Donald J. Zack, M.D., Ph.D., is the Guerrieri Professor of Genetic Engineering and Molecular Ophthalmology and co-director of the Center for Stem Cells and Ocular Regenerative Medicine (STORM) at the Wilmer Eye Institute. He is also a professor in the departments of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Neuroscience, and the Institute of Genetic Medicine. 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. He also studies the mechanisms by which ganglion cells die in glaucoma, and are developing novel methods to slow down, and hopefully prevent, ganglion cell death in glaucoma. Dr. Zack and his colleagues are beginning studies to promote the differentiation of stem cells into retinal ganglion cells, in the hope that someday that might offer the possibility of restoring vision to glaucoma patients who have already lost significant vision due to ganglion cell death.
Dr. Zack received his M.D. degree and Ph.D. in molecular immunology from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. After a year of internship, he completed his residency in ophthalmology at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary at Harvard University. He then completed fellowship training in glaucoma and molecular biology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and joined the faculty in 1991. Dr. Zack has published over 160 peer-reviewed journal articles and has won a number of awards, including the Alcon Research Award.