Huxlin Lab

Krystel Huxlin, PhD

  • Professor - Department of Ophthalmology (SMD) - Primary Appointment
  • Professor - Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy (SMD)
  • Professor - Department of Brain / Cognitive Science (RC)
  • Professor - Center for Visual Science (RC)
  • President -  Society for Neuroscience, Rochester Chapter
  • PhD | Neuroscience | Australia-U Sydney Fac Med (1994)

Research Overview

Dr. Huxlin directs the research efforts of two separate laboratories at Flaum Eye Institute. In the visual training and rehabilitation lab, the goal is to understand the cellular basis and psychophysical characteristics of visual perceptual plasticity in adulthood. Of particular interest is contrasting the plastic potential of intact visual systems with the visual plasticity that can be attained by adult visual systems that have sustained permanent damage at different levels of their hierarchical organization. One avenue of research currently being pursued is to use anatomical tools, molecular biology, visual psychophysics, virtual reality and functional imaging (fMRI) to characterize changes at the cellular and systems levels that are key to the recovery of visual functions after brain damage in adulthood. The laboratory has recently begun applying this knowledge to patients with visual cortical damage following stroke, tumor or trauma with the ultimate goal of developing behavioral and pharmacological strategies to promote visual recovery following such damage.

The second laboratory deals with corneal wound healing and physiological optics. This work is intended to provide new insights into the biological causes and perceptual consequences of increased optical aberrations in the eye following manipulations or the ocular surface, including laser refractive surgery and corneal transplantation. Using anterior segment optical coherence tomography, in vivo confocal imaging, wavefront sensing, histology, cell culture and molecular biology, we are beginning to understand the relationship between different aspects of ocular wound healing and optical quality in the eye. This knowledge is essential for the ultimate development of both intra- and post-operative strategies to improve the optical outcome of ocular surgeries and wounds. The laboratory is also developing a revolutionary new refractive method called IRIS (for Intra-tissue Refractive Index Shaping). IRIS uses a low-energy, high-repetition rate femtosecond laser to non-invasively alter the refractive index and optical properties of different ocular IOLs. Because it does not cause tissue damage or cell death, IRIS offers great promise as a novel tool to non-invasively customize refractive power and higher order aberration correction without the side effects normally induced by wound healing.

Current Projects

Visual Retraining Icon

Visual Plasticity After Brain Damage

Anasuya Das' PhD thesis presentation - Video 07.19.2013

Cornea Wound Image

Corneal Wound Healing

Femto Micromachining icon

Optical Micro-machining using Femtosecond Lasers

Daniel Savage - Rochester Graduate Student Pursues a University First

Selected Publications (Visual Training & Rehabilitation Lab)

Das A. Tadin, D. and Huxlin, K.R. (2014) Beyond blindsight: properties of visual re-learning in cortically blind fields. Journal of Neuroscience 34 (35): 11652 - 11664.

Martin, T., Das, A. and Huxlin, K.R. (2012) Visual cortical activity reflects faster accumulation of information during motion discrimination in cortically blind fields. Brain 135 (Pt 11): 3440-3452. PubMed PMID: 23169923; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3501978.

Das, A., DeMagistris, M. and Huxlin, K.R. (2012) Different properties of visual relearning after damage to early versus higher-level visual cortical areas. Journal of Neuroscience 32(16): 5414 – 5425. Cover illustration. PubMed PMID: 22514305; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3714793.

Iorizzo, D. Riley M.E., Hayhoe M. and Huxlin K.R. (2011) Differential impact of partial cortical blindness on gaze strategies when sitting and walking - an immersive virtual reality study. Vision Research, 51: 1173-1184. PubMed PMID: 21414339; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3093191.

Martin, T., Huxlin, K.R. and Kavcic, V. (2010) Motion-onset visual evoked potentials predict performance during a visual direction discrimination task. Neuropsychologia 8(12): 3563 - 3572.
More papers Pubmed icon

Selected Publications (Cornea Labs)

Savage, D.E.*, Brooks, D.R.*, DeMagistris, M. Xu, L, MacRae, S., Ellis, J.D.‡, Knox, W.H.‡ and Huxlin, K.R.‡ (2014) First Demonstration of Ocular Refractive Change using Blue-IRIS in Live Cats. Investigative Ophthalmology and Vision Science 55: 4603 - 4612. * equal first authors, ‡ equal last authors.

Jeon K-I., Kulkarni A., Woeller C., Phipps R.P., Sime P.J., Hindman H.B. and Huxlin K.R. (2014) Inhibitory effects of PPARγ ligands on TGFβ1-induced corneal myofibroblast transformation. The American Journal of Pathology May;184(5):1429-1445. PubMed PMID: 24650561.

Huxlin K.R., Hindman H.B., Jeon K., Bühren, J., MacRae S. , DeMagistris M., Ciufo D., Sime P.J., Phipps R.P. (2013) Topical Rosiglitazone is an effective anti-scarring agent in the cornea. Plos One 8 (8): e70785.

Bühren, J., Nagy, L.J., Swanton, J.N., Kenner, S., Yoon, G., MacRae, S.M., Phipps, R., Huxlin, K.R. (2009) Optical effects of anti-TGFβ treatment after photorefractive keratectomy in a cat model. Investigative Ophthalmology and Vision Science 50: 634 – 643. PubMed PMID: 18952913; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2753416.

Ding, L., Bühren, J., Nagy, L.J., Knox, W. and Huxlin, K.R. (2008) Intra-stromal Refractive Index Shaping (IRIS) of the cornea and lens using a low-pulse-energy femtosecond laser oscillator. Investigative Ophthalmology and Vision Science 49: 5332 – 5339. PubMed PMID: 18641284; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2746390.

Nagy L. J., MacRae S., Yoon G., Cox I. and Huxlin K.R. (2007) Photorefractive keratectomy in the cat eye: biological and optical outcomes. Journal of Cataract and Refractive Surgery 33: 1051 - 1064. PubMed PMID: 17531702; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC1993426.

Huxlin K.R., Yoon G., Nagy L., Porter J. and Williams D.R. (2004) Monochromatic ocular wavefront aberrations in the awake-behaving cat. Vision Research 44: 2159 – 2169.

More papers Pubmed icon


Krystel Huxlin, Ph.D.
University of Rochester
School of Medicine and Dentistry 601 Elmwood Ave., Box 314
Rochester, NY 14642

Visual Training & Rehabilitation Lab Contacts

Adin Reisner, B.S.
(585) 275-6910

Antoine Barbot, Ph.D.
Post-Doctoral Fellow

Matt Cavanaugh, M.S.
Graduate Student (NGP)

Michael Melnick, B.S.
Graduate Student (BCS)

Cornea Lab Contacts

Kye-Im Jeon, Ph.D.
Corneal Wound Healing
(585) 273-4856

Margaret DeMagistris, B.S.
Corneal Optics
(585) 273-3260

Daniel Savage, M.S., 
M.D., Ph.D., Student (Optics)


Jens Buhren, M.D.

Marisa Carrasco, Ph.D.

Jonathan Ellis, Ph.D.

Mary Hayoe, Ph.D.

David Heeger, Ph.D.

Holly Hindman, M.D.

David Knill, Ph.D.

Wayne Knox, Ph.D.

Scott MacRae, M.D.

Eli Merriman, Ph.D.

Tatiana Pasternak, Ph.D.

Richard P. Phipps, Ph.D.

Patricia Sime, Ph.D.

Duje Tadin, Ph.D.

Geunyoung Yoon, Ph.D.

Former Lab Members

Ferhina Ali, B.S.
Ryan Bisbey, M.D.
Emily Brandon, B.S.
Jens Bühren, M.D.
Anasuya Das, Ph.D.
Noah Elkins, B.S.
Brad Feldman, M.D.
Micki Flynn, B.S.
Krista Gigone, M.S.
Dana Iorizzo, M.S.
Shawn Kenner, B.S.
Brian Kraftschik, B.S.
Aaron Levi, B.S.
Jason Lyons, M.D.
Tim Martin, Ph.D.
Lana Nagy, B.S.
Emily Nash, B.A.
Tracy Price, M.S.
Meghan Riley, M.S.
Danielle Shaked, B.A.
Jennifer Swanton, B.S.
Nadan Wang, M.S
Jennifer Williams, B.S.