Natalia Vergara, PhD
Assistant Professor, Ophthalmology

Graduate School :
  • PhD, Miami University (2008)
Languages: English, Spanish
Department: Ophthalmology

Professional Titles

  • Assistant Professor, Ophthalmology
  • Assistant Professor

Recognition & Awards

  • Keystone Symposia Early Career Investigator Travel Award, Keystone Symposia on Molecular and Cellular Biology (2018)
  • Selected as an Emerging Vision Scientist to participate in the Third Annual EVS day on Capitol Hill, National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (2017)
  • The Ruben Adler Research Award, The Wilmer Eye Institute, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (2012)

Research Interests

My research using a combination of traditional animal models and state-of-the-art human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived retinal organoids is focused on two key areas: I). Understanding the mechanisms of early eye formation and the dynamics of retinal ganglion cell development in a human context. II). Exploring the retinal manifestations of neurodegenerative diseases, particularly those associated with aging. In this context, development and aging are viewed as the two sides of the life cycle of the retinal tissue. This program thus seeks to further our understanding of these fundamental biological processes, as well as to develop biological markers and therapeutic approaches to neural retinal degenerative disease.


  • Lecturer (2019)
    School of Medicine, Ophthalmology
    Biology of the eye
  • Faculty Mentor (2019)
    School of Medicine,
    SABES course (Spanish for medical students)
  • Small Group Facilitator (2018)
    School of Medicine,
    Molecules to Medicine
  • Small group Facilitator (2019)
    School of Medicine,
    Molecules to Medicine


  • Vergara MN, Tsissios G, Del Rio-Tsonis K. Lens regeneration: a historical perspective. Int J Dev Biol. 2018;62(6-7-8):351-361. PubMed PMID: 29877565
  • Vergara MN, Flores-Bellver M, Aparicio-Domingo S, McNally M, Wahlin KJ, Saxena MT, Mumm JS, Canto-Soler MV. Three-dimensional automated reporter quantification (3D-ARQ) technology enables quantitative screening in retinal organoids. Development. 2017 Oct 15;144(20):3698-3705. PubMed PMID: 28870990

Professional Memberships

  • The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, Member
  • Society for Developmental Biology, Member
  • Latin American Society for Developmental Biology, Member
  • Society for Neuroscience, Member
Personal Interests
Science education, outreach, community service

Public Speaking

General Information

Graduate Schools:
  • PhD, Miami University (2008)
Languages: English, Spanish
Department: Ophthalmology