Lab logo

Laboratory of
Ocular Biomechanics

University of Pittsburgh

Postdoc positions available

  • Research position in astrocyte and neuron mechanobiology (post-doctoral or research assistant). Details.

  • Postdoc in mechanics of fiber-based materials. Details.

PhD positions available

  • For strong applicants interested in novel methods for imaging, bioengineering, biomechanics, composite mechanics, mechanotransduction, medical devices and related, both experimental and numerical.
    To apply please send a CV and cover letter describing interests and expertise, and representative peer-reviewed publications (if available) to Note that experience in ophthalmology or vision science is not required.

Latest News

March/2018: New paper accepted

  • "Collagen fiber recruitment: a microstructural basis for the nonlinear response of the posterior pole of the eye to increases in intraocular pressure" by Acta Biomaterialia.

February/2018: Good luck Andrew Voorhees!

  • Andrew was a post-doctoral fellow from May 2015 to February 2018. He will join Johnson & Johnson.

January/2018: Congratulations Bryn Brazile!

  • Has been awarded a Knights Templar Eye Foundation (US) travel grant to attend and present at the upcoming ARVO 2018 annual meeting in Hawaii later this year. His project is titled "Simultaneous in-situ visualization and quantification of lamina cribrosa collagen beams and capillaries at normal and elevated IOPs"

January/2018: Three podium presentations

  • SPIE Photonics West, San Francisco, California, Jan 27 - Feb 1, 2018.

December/2017: New paper accepted

  • "Gaze evoked deformations in optic nerve head drusen: repetitive shearing as a potential factor in the visual and vascular complications" by Ophthalmology.

  • In collaboration with Patrick Sibony, SUNY Stony Brook.

November/2017: New paper accepted

  • "Cerebrospinal Fluid Pressure; Revisiting Factors Influencing Optic Nerve Head Biomechanics" by IOVS.

November/2017: New paper accepted

  • "In-Vivo Effects of Intraocular and Intracranial Pressures on the Lamina Cribrosa Microstructure" by PLOS One.

  • In collaboration with the Visual Neuroscience Lab at the University of Pittsburgh and the Glaucoma Imaging Group at New York University

Active projects
Click images for more info.

Why biomechanics of the eye?

In our daily lives we rarely think of the eye as a biomechanical structure. The eye, however, is a remarkably complex structure with biomechanics involved in many of its functions. For our eyes to be able to track moving objects, for example, requires a delicate balance of the forces exerted by several muscles. Forces are also responsible for deforming the lens and allow focusing. A slight imbalance between the forces and tissue properties may be enough to alter or even preclude vision. These effects may take place quickly or over long periods, even years. Understanding ocular biomechanics is therefore important for preventing and treating vision loss.


Eye diagram

Schematic cross-section through a human eye. Light enters the eye through the cornea, passes through the pupil, lens and vitreous humour and strikes the retina, where it is absorbed. Retinal nerve fibers transmit visual information to the brain. These fibers converge at the optic nerve head region, exit the eye through the scleral canal, and form the optic nerve. The lamina cribrosa is a porous structure spanning the scleral canal. The vitreous chamber is filled with the vitreous humor, which exerts a pressure, the intraocular pressure, on the surface of the retina. [Sigal et al. Biomech Model Mechanobiol, 8(2):85-98, Apr 2009] (adapted from an illustration from NIH)



The objective of the Laboratory of Ocular Biomechanics is to study the eye as a biomechanical structure. More specifically our work is aimed at identifying the causes of glaucoma, with the ultimate intention of finding a way to prevent vision loss.