Vision Research Training Program

T32 Grant

Accelerates vision research training at UW

First T32 Training Grant AWARDED for a vision research training program (vrtp-t32) from the National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health

Students will engage in a robust program focused on the understanding and exploration of the visual system and its diseases. They will participate in discussions and lectures ranging from the molecular and cell biology of the photo-transduction pathway (the process that converts light into a neurological signal), to the networks of neuronal connections in the retina and the brain, to the clinical management of major ophthalmic diseases. As part of this program, students will complete a comprehensive course titled, “Ocular Diseases of the Mammalian Visual System.” This competitive grant within the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences supports the training of two graduate students and one postdoctoral student every one to two years, over the next five years.

Meet the Trainees

  • Kim Edwards Predoctoral – T32 Vision Research Trainee
  • Jenna Nagy – Predoctoral T32 Vision Research Trainee
  • Jacob Khoussine (2022-2023) – Trainer: Mrinalini Hoon, PhD
  • Philip Mzyk, PhD (2021-2023) – Trainer: Colleen McDowell, PhD
  • Ray Doudlah (2021-2022) – Trainer: Ari Rosenberg, PhD
  • Kim Edwards (2021) – Trainer: David Gamm, MD, PhD
  • Michael Landowski (2020-2021) – Trainer: Akihiro Ikeda, PhD
  • Ryan Donahue (2019-2020) – Trainer: Robert Nickells, PhD
  • Sarah Rempel (2019-2020) –  Trainer: Timothy Gomez, PhD
  • Kara Vogel (2019) – Trainer: Gillian McLellan, PhD, BVMS

Development and Diseases of the Anterior Segment:

Colleen McDowell
Donna Neumann
Robert Nickells

Development and Diseases of the Posterior Segment:

David Gamm
Timothy Gomez
Sarah Gong
Mrinalini Hoon
Akihiro Ikeda
Colleen McDowell
Gillian McLellan
Freya Mowat
Bikash Pattnaik
Nader Sheibani
Raunak Sinha

Ocular Epidemiology and Genetics:

Ronald Gangnon
Natascha Merten

Higher Order Processing Cognition:

Bilge Mutlu
Ari Rosenberg


The Vision Research Training Program (VTRP) is open to pre- and post-doctoral students at UW-Madison who are interested in vision research and whose mentors are trainers (listed above). Please direct inquiries about the program to Inna Larsen. The VRTP is not a degree-granting program but is recognized as a core learning program by a number of biomedical graduate programs on campus.

Considering UW-Madison for graduate or post-graduate training?

Additionally, the Bioscience Initiative for Recruiting and Networking (BIRN) program has a Youtube channel showcasing UW-Madison’s strength of research, the welcoming and collaborative environment and virtual tours of the university and the city. It also has an emphasis on diversity and highlights the SciMed Graduate Research Scholars Program for graduate students from underrepresented groups.

“We are looking forward to students conducting their own projects in the tradition of ‘bench-to-bedside’ that has been a mainstay of the outstanding research training that makes the University of Wisconsin–Madison famous,”

Dr. Nickells, professor and principal investigator for the T32 grant.

The Vision Research Update Seminar is a forum for trainees to present their research and learn about diverse vision research projects at UW. The seminars happen on the first Tuesday on the month at 10 AM (currently virtually).  Please check the DOVS events calendar for details.

2023 Vision Research Training Program Retreat presenters.