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Steven L. Bernstein, MD, PhD

Academic Title:


Primary Appointment:

Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences

Secondary Appointment(s):


Administrative Title:

Vice Chair

Additional Title:

Professor of Ophthalmology and Vice Chair, Research Chief, Lab of Molecular Research

Phone (Primary):

(410) 706-3712

Phone (Secondary):

(410) 706-4482 (lab)


(410) 706-7057

Education and Training

B.Sc.   Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science, Microbiology

Ph.D.   Cornell University, New York Hospital, NY,  Neurobiology

M.D.     SUNY-Downstate Medical Center, New York

Medical Internship, Maimonides Medical Center, Brooklyn, NY

Ophthalmology Residency, Medical College of Virginia, Richmond, VA

Ophthalmic Genetics Fellowship, National Eye Institute, Bethesda, MD

Postdoctoral/Senior Staff Fellow, National Eye Institute, Bethesda, MD


As a Comprehensive Ophthalmologist, I see patients with both common and rare ocular disorders, including Genetic-associated diseases. I also consult at UMMC for a wide variety of eye-related disorders. My laboratory interests center on age-related and genetically associated optic nerve diseases, in particular nonarteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (NAION), whcih is a stroke of the optic nerve, and the most common cause of sudden optic nerve-related vision loss. My lab developed the mouse, rat (rAION) and primate (pNAION) models  of NAION, enabling us to identify the crucial aspects of this disease, and evaluate potential treatments for NAION. We continue to characterize the features of these models, and utilize them to identify potential points of therapeutic interactions. My major laboratory interests are divided into three parts: 1) Neuroprotective approaches to NAION, using both small molecules and monoclonal antibodies. 2) Post-ON infarct recovery, using selective inflammation mediation. 3) Evaluation of the role of stem cells in optic nerve function and optic nerve repair. During the last five years, my laboratory has developed new ways to identify stem cells that may both contribute to normal nerve function, and aid in repair of optic nerve injury.

Research/Clinical Keywords

Optic nerve, stroke stem cells