Ethan A. Rossi, PhD

  • Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology
  • University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

A Conversation With Dr. Rossi

Dr. Rossi's research is focused on developing and deploying advanced ophthalmic imaging tools to study the normal and diseased retina. He has been working with high resolution imaging technologies with adaptive optics for over a decade and have all the skills, training, and expertise required to carry out this research. Rossi's Ph.D. training in the laboratory of Austin Roorda, the inventor of adaptive optics scanning laser ophthalmoscopy, was focused on using adaptive optics to probe the limits of human vision in both normal and diseased eyes. His current research continues the development of near infrared autofluorescence and expanded his investigations of age-related macular degeneration. This includes an international study in collaboration with Dr. José-Alain Sahel, the Chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology, and collaborators in France on how genetics shapes the cellular level retinal phenotype in AMD. This work has generated a large AMD patient cohort (n = 85) in Pittsburgh and provided foundational knowledge for the future work I describe in this proposal. I am uniquely suited to lead and carry out the innovative work, which will be facilitated by the strongly collaborative research environment at the University of Pittsburgh and the excellent team that Rossi leads around this project. 


Academic Affiliation


Assistant Professor, Department of Ophthalmology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
Assistant Professor, Department of Bioengineering, University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering


2013-2016 Research Associate. Advanced Retinal Imaging Alliance, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY
2010-2012 Postdoctoral Fellow, Center for Visual Science, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY

Education & Training

  • 2009 – PhD, Vision Science, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
  • 2001 – BA, Brain & Cognitive Sciences, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY

Representative Publications

Rossi EA, Granger CE, Sharma R, Yang Q, Saito K, Schwarz C, Walters S, Nozato K, Zhang J, Kawakami T, Fischer W, Latchney LR, Hunter JJ, Chung MM, Williams DR. Imaging individual neurons in the retinal ganglion cell layer of the living eye. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 2017 114 (3) 586-591; published ahead of print January 3, 2017, doi:10.1073/pnas.1613445114

Song H, Rossi EA, Stone E, Latchney LR, Williams DR, Dubra A, Chung MM. Adaptive optics demonstrates phenotypic diversity in autosomal dominant cone rod dystrophy associated with a single mutation in the GUCA1A gene. British Journal of Ophthalmology. Accepted for publication 8/14/2017.

Williams ZW, Rossi EA, DiLoreto DA. In vivo adaptive optics ophthalmoscopy correlated with histopathology in cancer associated retinopathy. Ophthalmology Retina. Published online Sept. 9, 2017, doi: 10.1016/j.oret.2017.06.008

Song H, Rossi EA, Latchney L, Bessette A, Stone E, Hunter JJ, Williams DR, Chung M. Cone and rod loss in Stargardt disease revealed by adaptive optics scanning light ophthalmoscopy. JAMA Ophthalmology. 2015 Oct;133(10):1198–203.

Zhang J, Yang Q, Saito K, Nozato K, Roorda A, Williams DR, Rossi EA. An adaptive optics imaging system designed for clinical use. Biomedical Optics Express. 2015 Jun 1;6(6):2120.

Yang Q, Zhang J, Nozato K, Saito K, Williams DR, Roorda A, Rossi EA. Closed-loop optical stabilization and digital image registration in adaptive optics scanning light ophthalmoscopy. Biomedical Optics Express. 2014 Sep 1;5(9):3174.

Rossi EA, Rangel-Fonseca P, Parkins K, Fischer W, Latchney LR, Folwell MA, Williams DR, Dubra A, Chung MM. In vivo imaging of retinal pigment epithelium cells in age related macular degeneration. Biomedical Optics Express. 2013 Nov 1;4(11):2527–39.

Rossi EA, Roorda A. The relationship between visual resolution and cone spacing in the human fovea. Nature Neuroscience. 2010 Feb;13(2):156–7.

Research Interest Summary

Advanced Ophthalmic Imaging Laboratory

Research Interests

Adaptive optics ophthalmoscopy
Age-related macular degeneration
Image processing
Visual performance

Lab Personnel
Valerie Snyder ( – Ophthalmic Imaging Specialist

Research Grants

BrightFocus Foundation
Edward N. & Della L. Thome Memorial Foundation