About the Division of ExpeRTs

About the Division of ExpeRTs

The Division of Experimental Retinal Therapies (ExpeRTs) was created to consolidate a longstanding expertise established within the Department of Clinical Sciences & Advanced Medicine at the School of Veterinary Medicine of the University of Pennsylvania. Its members composed of board-certified veterinary ophthalmologists and vision scientists have identified numerous naturally-occurring forms of inherited retinal degeneration in dogs, developed genetic tests to help reduce the incidence of these diseases in the pet dog population, and have used these models to pioneer the development of novel therapeutic approaches and accelerate their translation into the clinic.

Researchers and clinicians from other schools at the University of Pennsylvania, and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (see: affiliated members) provide a unique and complementary expertise that to this date has helped move four treatments for retinal diseases into clinical trials. Through collaborations with academic investigators or sponsored research agreements with industry partners, the Division of ExpeRTs is dedicated to provide the necessary scientific and technical support to facilitate the development, testing and screening of new retinal therapies that can prevent blindness in humans and their animal companions.

Penn Vet Members


William A. Beltran

Director, Division of ExpeRTs
Professor of  Ophthalmology


Gustavo D. Aguirre

Professor of Ophthalmology & Medical Genetics

Dr. Karina Guziewicz, Penn Vet

Karina Guziewicz

Research Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology

Dr. Keiko Miyadera, Penn Vet

Keiko Miyadera

Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology

Tatyana Appelbaum

Senior Research Investigator
Raghavi Sudharsan

Senior Research Investigator
Lydia Melnyk
Senior Research Coordinator

Affiliated Members

Dr. Geoffrey Aguirre, MD, PhD

Geoffrey Aguirre, MD, PhD
Associate Professor of Neurology, Penn Medicine

Dr. Boesze-Battaglia, Penn Dental

Kathleen Boesze-Battaglia, PhD
Professor of biochemistry & Biophysics,
Penn Dental

Margret Casal, DVM, PhD

Margret Casal, DVM, PhD
Professor of Medical Genetics, Reproduction, and Pediatrics, Penn Vet

Arthur Cideciyan, PhD

Artur V. Cideciyan, PhD
Research Professor of Ophthalmology, Penn Medicine
Cideciyan Laboratory

Dr. Oliver Garden, Penn Vet

Oliver Garden, BVetMed, PhD
Corinne R. and Henry Bower Professor of Medicine, Chair, Clinical Sciences & Advanced Medicine, Penn Vet


Samuel G. Jacobson, MD, PhD
Professor of Ophthalmology
Director, Center for Hereditary Retinal Degenerations, Penn Medicine

Sergei Nikonov, PhD

Sergei Nikonov, PhD
Technical Director, Vision Research Center, Imaging and Electrophysiology core

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John Wolfe, VMD, PhD
Professor of Pathobiology in Pediatrics, CHOP/Penn Vet

Gui-shuang Ying, MD,PhD

Gui-shuang Ying, MD,PhD
Associate Professor of Ophthalmology
Director, Biostatistical Consulting Service, Penn Mediciine


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