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Jesse B. Schallek, Ph.D.

Contact Information

Phone Numbers

Office: (585) 273-4848

Research Labs

Faculty Appointments


My laboratory invents new tools to evaluate eye health by measuring function. We are developing cutting-edge cameras to view the cells of the living eye with microscope resolution. In this way, we can study retinal health and disease within single cells of the retina without ever requiring a biopsy.

Professional Background

Dr. Jesse Schallek is assistant professor of ophthalmology at the Flaum Eye Institute at the University of Rochester, NY. He also holds joint appointments in the department of Neuroscience and is a member of the Center for Visual Science. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Bioengineering from Syracuse University and a PhD in Neuroscience from SUNY Upstate Medical University in 2010. His postdoctoral research focused on developing adaptive optics technology at the University of Rochester training with David Williams, PhD. Dr. Schallek’s laboratory develops and deploys new imaging technologies to study single cell blood flow in the living retinae of humans and animal models. By combining high resolution adaptive optics imaging with high frame rate camera capture, a central focus is to better resolve and thus better image mechanisms of blood flow dysfunction noninvasively through the eye. This provides direct benefit to diagnosis and treatment retinal diseases; and may also in the near future, provide insight to whole body systemic health through the optics of the eye.
In the early stages of his career, Dr. Schallek has been honored with several awards including: The Dana Foundation- David Mahoney Neuroimaging Award, the Research to Prevent Blindness Career Development Award as well as training awards from the Ruth Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) and recognition as an Edmund Optics Higher Education Grant Program Finalist.
Dr. Schallek holds several patents and provisional filings on his adaptive optics technology and has received spotlight and editors picks designation on his recent papers focused on blood flow determination in the retina. He is grateful for funding by five national competitive research grants to support his research.


Our lab investigates blood flow in the living eye by using a specialized camera called an Adaptive Optics Scanning Light Ophthalmoscope (AOSLO) to correct for small imperfections of the optics of the eye. Once corrected, we can image the microscopic integrity of the smallest vessels that are ten-times thinner than a human hair. Additionally, capturing videos of this tissue enables study of the movement of single blood cells flowing within this network. We are developing and applying this cutting-edge technology to study blood flow in the retina in conditions of health and disease.

These advances are critical for studying neural cells that line the back of our eyes are sensitive to light and initiate our ability to see. These cells are among the most metabolically active tissues in the human body and are nourished by a dense network of capillaries that circulate blood to deliver nutrients and remove waste products from these hard-working cells. We use and develop adaptive optics eye cameras to study the dysfunction of this neural-vascular system associates with a variety of retinal diseases and collectively gives rise to the leading cause of blindness in the developed world.



BS | Syracuse University

PhD | SUNY Upstate Medical University

Post-doctoral Training & Residency

2010 - 2015
Adaptive Optics Imaging in the Living Eye- Advisor: David Williams


2022 - 2024
Career Advancement Award
Sponsor: Research to Prevent Blindness

2017 - 2019
David Mahoney Neuroimaging Award
Sponsor: Dana Foundation

2016 - 2020
Career Development Award
Sponsor: Research to Prevent Blindness

2016 - 2020
Research to Prevent Blindness Career Development Award
Sponsor: Research to Prevent Blindness

2013 - 2015
Ruth Kirschstein National Research Service Award
Sponsor: NIH

Edmund Optics Higher Education Grant Program Finalist

2012 - 2012
Schmitt Program on Integrative Brain Research Postdoctoral
Sponsor: Schmitt Program
Location: University of Rochester

2012 - 2012
ARVO Member in Training (MIT) Outstanding Poster Award
Sponsor: ARVO

2012 - 2012
Retina Research Foundation/J.M. and E.C. Lawrence Travel Award
Sponsor: Retina Research Foundation

2002 - 2002
Mabel E. Lewis Summer Research Fellow
Location: Syracuse University

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Journal Articles

Dholakia KY, Guevara-Torres A, Feng G, Power D, Schallek J. "In Vivo Capillary Structure and Blood Cell Flux in the Normal and Diabetic Mouse Eye." Investigative ophthalmology & visual science.. 2022 Feb 1; 63(2):18.

Joseph A, Power D, Schallek J. "Imaging the dynamics of individual processes of microglia in the living retina ." Biomedical optics express.. 2021 Oct 1; 12(10):6157-6183. Epub 2021 Sep 10.

Joseph A, Chu CJ, Feng G, Dholakia K, Schallek J. "Label-free imaging of immune cell dynamics in the living retina using adaptive optics." eLife.. 2020 Oct 14; 9Epub 2020 Oct 14.