Derek Welsbie

Derek Welsbie, MD, PhD

Catalyst for the Cure

Vision Restoration/UC San Diego


Derek S. Welsbie, M.D., Ph.D., is a glaucoma specialist at the University of California, San Diego. An Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology at the Shiley Eye Institute, his laboratory studies the way in which glaucoma leads to optic nerve injury, neurodegeneration and, ultimately, vision loss. Specifically, he uses high-throughput genetic screening to comprehensively characterize the genes responsible for retinal ganglion cell death and axon degeneration. His ultimate goal is to develop new small molecule- and CRISPR-based neuroprotective strategies to inhibit deleterious gene function, prevent nerve cell death and improve outcomes for patients with glaucoma. Prior to joining UC San Diego Health, Dr. Welsbie was an Assistant Professor at the Johns Hopkins University Wilmer Eye Institute, where he won the Shafer Prize for innovative glaucoma research from the Glaucoma Research Foundation and was named Assistant Professor of the Year (2015). He also served as the Stephen J. Ryan Assistant Chief of Service and continues to have an interest in resident and medical student education. Dr. Welsbie completed a residency in Ophthalmology and fellowship training in Glaucoma at the Wilmer Eye Institute. He earned his medical degree and doctorate in molecular biology from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.


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