Ian A. Sigal, PhD

  • Associate Professor of Ophthalmology and Bioengineering
  • Ocular Biomechanics Laboratory
  • Director, Image Acquisition and Analysis Core Module, Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences Center
  • University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

A Conversation With Dr. Sigal


Dr. Sigal received a degree in physics from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México in México City, a masters in aerospace engineering from the University of Toronto in Canada, and a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering also from the University of Toronto in Canada. Dr. Sigal has dedicated his scientific career to the study of biomechanics-related diseases of the eye, and to glaucoma in particular. In October 2010, he joined the University of Pittsburgh and founded the Laboratory of Ocular Biomechanics. He pioneered methods to study the eye using computational modeling to understand why some individuals develop glaucoma while others do not.  His laboratory also works developing tools to study the architecture of the eye and how this impacts vision health. He has published over 100 peer-reviewed manuscripts and is coauthor on over 300 conference abstracts and presentations. The laboratory has received support from the National Institutes of Health, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, The Glaucoma Research Foundation and others. 

Academic Affiliation


Associate Professor, Department of Ophthalmology, University of Pittsburgh
Associate Professor, Department of Bioengineering, University of Pittsburgh 
McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine


2009 - 2010 Research associate. Devers Eye Institute, Portland, OR, USA
2007 - 2009 Post-doctoral fellow. Department of Biomedical Engineering, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA, USA and Devers Eye Institute, Portland, OR, USA.
2006 - Post-doctoral fellow. Orthopaedic Biomechanics Laboratory, Sunnybrook Research Instititue, Toronto, ON, Canada.

Lab Personnel

Manik Bansal, PhD, Postdoctoral Associate

Jason (Yi) Hua, PhD, Postdoctoral Associate

Fuquiang Zhong, PhD, Postdoctoral Associate

Fengting Ji, Graduate Student, Bioengineering

Po-Yi Lee, Graduate Student, Bioengineering

Susanna Waxman, Graduate Student, Interdisciplinary Biomedical Sciences

Ziyi Zhu, Programmer

Education & Training

  • 2006 - Ph. D. Biomedical engineering collaborative program Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada.
  • 2001 - M. A. Sc. Aerospace engineering Institute for Aerospace Studies, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada.
  • 1999 - B. Sc. Physics Faculty of Sciences, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), Mexico City, DF, Mexico.

Representative Publications

  1. PY Lee, B Yang, Y Hua, B Brazile, F Ji, Z Zhu, GA Fryc and IA Sigal, “Instant polarized light microscopy for real-time wide-field visualization of collagen architecture”, Proc. SPIE, Label-free Biomedical Imaging and Sensing 2020 (Polarization and Dark-field), 11251-35, 16 January 2020.
  2. R Grytz, H Yang, Y Hua, BC Samuels and IA Sigal, “Connective tissue remodeling in myopia and its potential role in increasing risk of glaucoma”, Accepted for publication in Current Opinion in Biomedical Engineering, 15 Jan 2020.
  3. C Boote, IA Sigal, R Grytz, Y Hua, TD Nguyen and MJA Girard, “Scleral structure and biomechanics”, Accepted for publication in Progress in Retinal and Eye Research, 11 Aug 2019, doi: 10.1016/j.preteyeres.2019.100773.
  4. A Gogola, NJ Jan, KL Lathrop and IA Sigal, “Radial and circumferential collagen fibers are a feature of the peripapillary sclera of human, monkey, pig, cow, goat and sheep”, IOVS, 59(12):4763-4774, October 2018. * eCover of the October 2018 issue.
  5. B Yang, B Brazile, NJ Jan, Y Hua, J Wei and IA Sigal, “Structured polarized light microscopy for collagen fiber structure and orientation quantification in thick ocular tissues”, Journal of Biomedical Optics, 23(10), 106001, October 2018.
  6. AP Voorhees, NJ Jan, Y Hua, B Yang and IA Sigal, “Peripapillary sclera architecture revisited: A tangential fiber model and its biomechanical implications”, Acta Biomaterialia, 79:113-122, October 2018. Epub Aug 21 2018. PMID: 30142444.
  7. *BL Brazile, *Y Hua, NJ Jan, J Wallace, A Gogola and IA Sigal, “Thin lamina cribrosa beams have different collagen microstructure than thick beams”, IOVS, 59(11):4653-4661, September 2018 * Authors contributed equally to the manuscript.
  8. B Yang, NJ Jan, B Brazile, A Voorhees, KL Lathrop and IA Sigal, “Polarized light microscopy for 3D mapping of collagen fiber architecture in ocular tissues”, Journal of Biophotonics, 11(8):e201700356, August 2018, Epub May 6th 2018. PMID 29633576.
  9. NJ Jan and IA Sigal, “Collagen fiber recruitment: a microstructural basis for the nonlinear response of the posterior pole of the eye to increases in intraocular pressure”, Acta Biomaterialia, 72:295-305, May 2018. PMID 29574185.
  10. NJ Jan, BL Brazile, D Hu, G Grube, J Wallace, A Gogola and IA Sigal, “Crimp around the globe: Patterns of collagen crimp across the corneoscleral shell”, Experimental eye research, 172:159-170, April 2018 E-pub. PMID 29660327.
  11. B Yang, B Brazile, NJ Jan, AP Voorhees and IA Sigal, “Structured polarized light microscopy (SPLM) for mapping collagen fiber orientation of ocular tissues”, Proc. SPIE, Emerging Digital Micromirror Device Based Systems and Applications X, 105460I, February 22, 2018.

Research Interests

Ocular biomechanics
Methods for multivariate analysis
Statistical shape analysis and geometric morphometrics