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
Member Faculty, McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine
Member Faculty, Center for Neuroscience at the University of Pittsburgh
Member Faculty, Graduate Faculty
Affiliated Faculty, Physician-Scientist Training Program


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

Zhang M, Gofas-Salas E, Leonard BT, Rui Y, Snyder VC, Reecher HM, Mecê P, and Rossi EA. Strip-based digital image registration for distortion minimization and robust eye motion measurement from scanned ophthalmic imaging systems. Biomedical Optics Express. 2021; 12: 2353-2372. DOI: 10.1364/BOE.418070.

Mecê P, Gofas-Salas E, Rui Y, Sahel JA, & Rossi EA. Spatial frequency-based image reconstruction to improve image contrast in multi-offset adaptive optics ophthalmoscopy. Optics Letters; 46(5):1085-1088. 2021; DOI: 10.1364/OL.417903.

Amarasekera S, Williams AM, Freund KB, Rossi EA, & Dansingani, KK. Multimodal imaging of multifocal choroiditis with adaptive optics ophthalmoscopy. Retinal Cases & Brief Reports. 2021; accepted January 21st, 2021. DOI: 10.1097/ICB.0000000000001134.

Vienola K, Zhang M, Snyder VC, Sahel JA, Dansingani KK, & Rossi EA. Microstructure of the retinal pigment epithelium near-infrared autofluorescence in healthy young eyes and in patients with AMD. Scientific Reports. 2020; 10:9561. DOI:10.1038/s41598-020-66581-x. PMID: 32533046.

Suthaharan S, Rossi EA, Snyder V, Chhablani J, Lejoyeux R, Sahel JA, & Dansingani K. Laplacian feature detection and feature alignment for multimodal ophthalmic image registration using phase correlation and Hessian affine feature space. Signal Processing. 2020; DOI: 10.1016/j.sigpro.2020.107733. PMID: 32943806.

Song H, Rossi EA, Yang Q, Granger CE, Latchney LR, Chung MM. High-Resolution Adaptive Optics in Vivo Autofluorescence Imaging in Stargardt Disease. JAMA Ophthalmology. 2019; 137(3):603-609. DOI: 10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2019.0299. PMID: 30896765.

Grieve K, Gofas-Salas E, Ferguson RD, Sahel JA, Paques M, & Rossi EA. In vivo near-infrared autofluorescence imaging of retinal pigment epithelial cells with 757 nm excitation. Biomedical Optics Express. 2018; 9(12):5946-5961. DOI: 10.1364/BOE.9.005946. PMID: 31065405.

Granger CE, Yang Q, Song H, Saito K, Nozato K, Latchney LR, Leonard BT, Chung MM, Williams DR, & Rossi EA. Human retinal pigment epithelium: in vivo cell morphometry, multi-spectral autofluorescence, and relationship to cone mosaic. Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science. Dec 2018; 59:5705-5716. DOI: 10.1167/iovs.18-24677. PMID: 30513531.

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 of the United States of America. 2017; 114(3):586-591; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1613445114. PMID: 28049835.

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. DOI: 10.1364/BOE.4.002527. PMID: 24298413.

Rossi EA, Roorda A. The relationship between visual resolution and cone spacing in the human fovea. Nature Neuroscience. 2010 Feb;13(2):156–7. DOI: 10.1038/nn.2465. PMID: 20023654.

Research Interest Summary

Advanced Ophthalmic Imaging Laboratory

Research Interests

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

Lab Personnel

Valerie Snyder  ( – Ophthalmic Imaging Specialist
Min Zhang, PhD ( – Software Developer

Research Grants


NIH R01 EY030517
Foundation Fighting Blindness



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