DoctorsKimberly Gokoffski, MD, PhD

Kimberly Gokoffski, MD, PhD

Title: Assistant Professor of Clinical Ophthalmology

Department: Ophthalmology

Clinical Specialty: Neuro-Ophthalmology

Treatment Expertise: Optic Neuropathies, Thyroid Eye Disease, Strabismus, Orbital inflammation, Ptosis, Cranial Nerve Palsies

Certification: American Board of Ophthalmology

Languages: English, Polish, conversational Spanish

Location: Los Angeles, Pasadena and Arcadia

Biography and Education

Research Interests:

My research interests are focused on the clinical need for optic nerve regeneration. Optic neuropathies are diseases in which the optic nerve (ON) – the cable that transmits information from the eye to the brain – is damaged. Advanced optic neuropathies, like glaucoma, result in irreversible vision loss because the cells that make up the ON are not capable of self-renewal. To restore vision in patients with optic neuropathies, we need to regenerate the ON. The current rate-limiting step to ON regeneration is directing stem cells that have been implanted in the eye to grow an axon out of the eye to the brain — a distance that spans 5cm in humans.

The goal of my research is 1.) to elucidate the molecular signals that guide axon growth and 2.) to test whether an applied electrical field can be used to direct the growth of implanted stem cells. The results from this project will be developed into a technology to facilitate ON regeneration and restore vision in patients blinded by optic neuropathies.



  • MD, UC Irvine, with Honors in Research and Community Outreach, 2012
  • PhD, UC Irvine, Developmental and Cellular Biology, 2010
  • UC Irvine Medical Scientist Training Program, 2003-2010
  • UC Berkeley Molecular and Cellular Biology; Political Science, 2000-2002
  • UC Riverside Biomedical sciences program, 1998-2000


  • UC Davis Department of Ophthalmology and Vision Sciences, 2013-2016
  • Internship in Internal Medicine UC Davis Medical Center, 2012-2013


  • USC Roski Eye Institute Neuro-Ophthalmology Fellowship, 2016-2017


Professional society memberships:

  • North American Neuro-Ophthalmology Society member
  • American Academy of Ophthalmology member


  • NANOS Pilot Award, “Electrical Fields Direct Retinal Ganglion Cell Axon Growth by Modulating GTPase Signaling”, NANOS 2018
  • Thomas Carlow Young Investigator Award, NANOS 2017, Washington DC, 2017
  • 1st place Resident Research Presentation, Alumni Day, UC Davis Dept of Ophthalmology, 2016
  • “Electrical fields guide Retinal Ganglion Cell Neurite Growth.” Winner of best Resident Poster Presentation, NANOS 2016, Tuscon, Arizona, 2016
  • “Electrical fields direct Retinal Ganglion Cell Axon Growth.”, 1st place Resident Research Presentation, Alumni Day, UC Davis Dept of Ophthalmology, 2012
  • “Electrical fields direct Retinal Ganglion Cell Axon Growth.” Graduated with Distinction in Research, UC Irvine, 2009
  • Graduated with Distinction in Community Service, UC Irvine, 2009
  • Developmental and Systems Biology Training Grant T32 HD060555-01, UC Irvine (awarded, but declined), 2008
  • “A stochastic model of the neuronal gene regulatory network in the olfactory epithelium.” Center for Complex Biological Systems Student Project Grant $10,000, UC Irvine, 2007
  • International Conference in Systems Biology Travel Award, Goteborg, Sweden, 2006
  • Paul H. Silverman Award for Research in Stem Cells, $100 UC Irvine, 2005-2007
  • School of Biological Sciences Travel Award, UC Irvine, 2002
  • MSTP 2nd place oral presentation award, UC Irvine, 2001
  • NINDS/AUPN/ANA Medical Students Mentoring Workshop Scholarship, NIH, 2001
  • “A stochastic model of stem cell aging.” Center for Complex Biological Systems Student Project Grant $10,000, UC Irvine, 2001
  • AΩA Honors Society Community Service Award, UC Irvine, 2001
  • Neurosciences Training Grant NIH GM-08620, UC Irvine, 2001
  • Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP) fellowship, University of Pittsburgh, 2001
  • Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) fellowship, University of Kansas, 2001


  1. Gokoffski KK, Thinda S. Ophthalmic Artery Occlusion after Cocaine Use. J Emerg Med. 2015 Jul;49(1):61-2. doi: 10.1016/j.jemermed.2014.12.078. Epub 2015 Apr 7
  2. Gokoffski KK, Wu HH, Beites CL, Kim J, Kim EJ, Matzuk MM, Johnson JE, Lander AD, Calof AL. Activin and GDF11 collaborate in feedback control of neuroepithelial stem cell proliferation and fate. Development. 2011 Oct;138(19):4131-42. doi: 10.1242/dev.065870. Epub 2011 Aug 18.
  3. Gokoffski KK, Kawauchi S, Wu HH, Santos R, Hollenbeck PLW, Lander AD, Calof AL. Feedback Regulation of Neurogenesis in the Mammalian Olfactory Epithelium: New Insights from Genetics and Systems Biology. Menini A, editor. SourceThe Neurobiology of Olfaction. Boca Raton (FL): CRC Press/Taylor & Francis; 2010. Chapter 10.
  4. Chou CS, Lo WC, Gokoffski KK, Zhang YT, Wan FY, Lander AD, Calof AL, Nie Q. Spatial dynamics of multistage cell lineages in tissue stratification. Biophys J. 2010 Nov 17;99(10):3145-54. doi: 10.1016/j.bpj.2010.09.034.