DoctorsAaron Nagiel, MD, PhD

Aaron Nagiel, MD, PhD

Title: Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology

Department: Ophthalmology

Clinical Specialty: Vitreoretinal Surgery

Treatment Expertise: Retinopathy of Prematurity, retinal detachment, ocular trauma, familial exudative vitreoretinopathy, Coats disease, Norrie disease, X-linked retinoschisis, retinitis pigmentosa, Leber congenital amaurosis, Stickler syndrome, persistent fetal vasculature, and other pediatric retinal disorders.

Certification: American Board of Ophthalmology

Language: English, Spanish, Yiddish (basic)

Location: CHLA (Children's Hospital - Los Angeles)

Biography and Education

Biography

Dr. Nagiel attended Harvard University where he graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor of arts in biomedical sciences. He received his PhD in neuroscience from The Rockefeller University, where he worked closely with Dr. James Hudspeth, developing a model experimental system using optical imaging in live zebrafish larvae to understand how individual neurons form specific synaptic connections. Dr. Nagiel then completed his MD at Weill Cornell Medical College. He performed his residency in ophthalmology, immediately followed by a vitreoretinal surgery fellowship at the UCLA Jules Stein Eye Institute.

Research Interests:

Dr. Nagiel leads an active clinical and translational research program aimed towards developing better ways to treat pediatric retinal diseases through state-of-the-art imaging, advanced surgical devices, and novel treatments including gene therapy and stem cell-based therapy. In addition, he conducts laboratory research on retinal development by growing human “mini-retinas” in vitro. The aim of this research is to provide insights into cellular differentiation and connectivity in the human retina and how this process goes awry in the disease state.

The development and maintenance of specific synaptic connections between retinal neurons is critical to its function. However, our understanding of neural circuit formation in the human retina remains limited. Within the last 10 years it has become possible to grow 3-dimensional, multi-layered retinal organoids derived from human stem cells. This advance permits the study of human retinal development and the establishment of synaptic connectivity. Our goal is to elucidate mechanisms underlying synapse formation and specificity in the first synapse of the human visual system. Access to patient-derived organoids allows us to understand this process in the disease state and following novel treatment paradigms such as gene therapy and cell-based therapy. We utilize a variety of techniques including live fluorescent imaging, electrophysiology, and gene editing in stem cell-derived human retinal organoids. The long-term goal of this work is to understand how synaptic connections are established and maintained in the human nervous system.

Education

  • MD, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, NY, 2011
  • PhD, The Rockefeller University, New York, NY, 2010

Residency

  • Ophthalmology, Jules Stein Eye Institute, UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine, Los Angeles, CA, 2015

Fellowship

  • Vitreoretinal Surgery, Jules Stein Eye Institute, UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine, Los Angeles, CA, 2017

Accomplishments

Professional society memberships

  • Society of Heed Fellows, 2015

Awards

  • Allergan FIRST (Fostering Innovative Retina Stars of Tomorrow) Fellowship, 2016-2019
  • Ronald G. Michels Fellowship Foundation Award, 2016-2017
  • Excellence in Research Award, Jules Stein Eye Institute, 2016
  • Heed Ophthalmic Foundation Fellowship, 2015-2016
  • Heed Foundation Residents Retreat Participant, 2014
  • Pepose-Saltzman Young Investigator ARVO Award, Jules Stein Eye Institute, 2014, 2015
  • Excellence in Research Award, Jules Stein Eye Institute, 2014
  • ARVO National Eye Institute Travel Grant, 2014
  • Robert E. Christensen Research Award, Jules Stein Eye Institute, 2013
  • Sumi Koide Travel Fellowship, The Rockefeller University, 2010
  • Finalist, Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans, 2006
  • John Harvard Scholarship, awarded for academic distinction, 2001-2003
  • Detur Prize, awarded to top 200 Harvard freshmen for academic performance, 2001

Publications

  1. Nagiel A, Lalane RA, Sadda SR, Schwartz SD. (2016) Ultra-Widefield Fundus Imaging: A Review of Clinical Applications and Future Trends. Retina. 36 (4): 660-678.
  2. Schwartz SD, Tan G, Hosseini H, Nagiel A. (2016) Subretinal transplantation of embryonic stem cell-derived retinal pigment epithelium for the treatment of macular degeneration: An assessment at 4 years. Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science. 57 (5): ORSFc1-9.
  3. Nagiel A, Sadda SR, Sarraf D. (2015) A Promising Future for Optical Coherence Tomography Angiography. JAMA Ophthalmology. 133 (6): 629-30.
  4. Nagiel A, Freund KB, Spaide RF, Munch IC, Larsen M, Sarraf D. (2013) Mechanism of retinal pigment epithelium tear formation following intravitreal anti-vascular endothelial growth factor therapy revealed by spectral-domain optical coherence tomography. American Journal of Ophthalmology. 156 (5): 981-988.
  5. Nagiel A, Espiritu MJ, Wong RK, Lee TC, Lauer AK, Chiang MF, Chan RV. (2012) Retinopathy of prematurity residency training. Ophthalmology. 119 (12): 2644-2645.