Pioneering Rehabilitation

Glen Prusky, Ph.D.

Director, Center for Vision Restoration

Physiology and Biophysics
Weill Cornell Medicine

Vision Repair
Blythedale Children’s Hospital


(914) 597-2116

Research Focus

Our research program is centered on understanding the nature of adaptive and maladaptive change in the nervous system over the lifespan. We use the rodent visual system as our primary model, and combine molecular genetic and pharmacological manipulations with electrophysiological and behavioral measures in freely moving animals.

One research stream aims to understand the mechanisms underlying experience-dependent plasticity of vision. Typically, we test hypotheses by altering visual experience in a specific way, and measure the effects on visual function in animals with cellular perturbations. Currently, we are manipulating the function of the retina and visual cortex to establish the substrates underlying novel forms of developmental and adult visual plasticity.

Another stream focuses on developing treatments for progressive visual decline arising from retinal degenerative disease, diabetic neuropathy and aging. We utilize proactive cell, pharmacological and experiential methods to limit loss of vision in animals with inherited and acquired forms of visual dysfunction. We are testing the hypothesis that the expressivity of retina-based mutations and acquired retinal dysfunction is modulated by maladaptive retinal plasticity. Thus, we are developing treatments based on stimulating adaptive forms of retinal plasticity to prevent and reverse visual decline.

We are also involved in the development of rehabilitative strategies for stroke. We have developed rodent models of cortical stroke, and use manipulations of experience after stroke to facilitate recovery. We are currently focusing on pre-stroke experience as a causal factor in the manifestation of, and the functional recovery from, stroke. 


Ph.D. 1989: Psychology,  Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

M.Sc. 1986: Psychology,  Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

B.Sc. 1985: Psychology,  The University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada              

Dr. Prusky obtained his B.Sc. at the University of Lethbridge in 1985, and his M.Sc. and Ph.D. from Dalhousie University under the supervision of Dr. Max Cynader. Following postdoctoral training at Yale University from 1990-1992 with Dr. Martha Constantine-Paton, Dr. Prusky secured a faculty position at the University of Lethbridge in 1993. During his term at Lethbridge, Dr. Prusky moved rapidly through the academic ranks, was awarded tenure in 1997, promoted to Associate Professor in 1999, and Full Professor in 2005. He was recognized as the Distinguished Alumnus of the Year while at Lethbridge, and most recently served as Professor and Chair of the Department of Neuroscience, and as a Principle Investigator of the Canadian Stroke Network.  Dr. Prusky was recruited to the Burke Medical Research Institute and the Department of Physiology and Biophysics at Weill Cornell Medical College in 2007.


Tschetter WW, Alam NM, Yee CW, Gorz M, Douglas RM, Sagdullaev B, Prusky GTExperience-enabled enhancement of adult visual cortex function. J Neurosci. 2013 Mar 20;33(12):5362-6. 

McGill TJ, Prusky GT, Luna G, LaVail MM, Fisher SK, Lewis GP. Optomotor and immunohistochemical changes in the juvenile S334ter rat. Exp Eye Res. 2012 Nov;104:65-73. 

McGill TJ, Prusky GT, Douglas RM, Yasumura D, Matthes MT, Lowe RJ, Duncan JL, Yang H, Ahern K, Daniello KM, Silver B, LaVail MM. Discordant anatomical, electrophysiological, and visual behavioral profiles of retinal degeneration in rat models of retinal degenerative disease. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2012 Sep 14;53(10):6232-44. 

Tschetter WW, Douglas RM, Prusky GTExperience-induced interocular plasticity of vision in infancy. Front Syst Neurosci. 2011 Jun 15;5:44. 

Altimus CM, Lall GS, Güler AD, Alam NM, Arman AC, Prusky GT, Lucas RJ, Sampath AP and Hattar S. (2010) Rods provide the predominant input to melanopsin cells for circadian photoentrainment through distinct retinal circuits. Nature Neuroscience. PubMed

 Ecker JL, Dumitrescu ON, Wong KY, Alam NM, Chen S-K, LeGates T, Renna JM, Prusky GT, Berson DM and Hattar S. (2010) Melanopsin-expressing retinal ganglion-cell photoreceptors: cellular diversity and role in pattern vision. Neuron. 67, 49-60. PubMed

Pandarinath C, Bomash I, Victor JD, Prusky GT, Tschetter WW, and Nirenberg S. (2010) A novel mechanism for switching a neural system from one state to another. Frontiers in Computational Neuroscience. 4:2. PubMed

Inoue T, Coles BL, Dorval K, Bremner R, Bessho Y, Kageyama R, Hino S, Matsuoka M, Craft CM, Mclnnes RR, Temblay F, Prusky GT and van der Kooy D. (2010) Maximizing functional photoreceptor differentiation from adult human retinal stem cells. Stem Cells. 28, 489-500. PubMed

Jacobs AL, Fridman G, Douglas RM, Alam NM, Latham PE, Prusky GT and Nirenberg S. (2009) Ruling out and ruling in neural codes. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 106, 5936-5941. PubMed

Prusky GT, Silver BD, Tschetter WW, Alam NM and Douglas RM. (2008) Experience-dependent plasticity from eye opening enables lasting, visual cortex-dependent, enhancement of motion vision. Journal of Neuroscience. 28, 9817-9827. PubMed

Epp J, Keith JR, Spanswick SC, Stone JC, Prusky GT and Sutherland RJ (2008) Retrograde amnesia for visual memories after hippocampal damage in rats. Learning and Memory. 15, 214-221. PubMed

Dedek K, Pandarinath C, Alam NM, Wellershaus K, Schubert T, Willecke K, Prusky GT, Weiler R and Nirenberg S. (2008) Ganglion cell adaptability: Does the coupling of horizontal cells play a role? Public Library of Science One. 3, e1714. PubMed

McGill TJ, Prusky GT, Douglas RM, Yasumura D, Matthes MT, Nune G, Donohue-Rolfe K, Yang H, Niculescu D, Hauswirth WW, Girman SV, Lund RD, Duncan JL, LaVail MM. (2007) Intraocular CNTF reduces vision in normal rats in a dose-dependent manner. Investigative Ophthalmology and Vision Science. 48, 5756-5766. PubMed

McGill, TJ, Lund RD, Douglas RM, Wang S,  Lu B, Silver BD, Secretan MR, Arthur JN and Prusky GT. (2007) Syngeneic Schwann cell transplantation preserves vision in RCS rat without immunosuppression. Investigative Ophthalmology and Vision Science. 48, 1906-1912. PubMed

Prusky GT, Alam NM and Douglas RM. (2006) Enhancement of vision by monocular deprivation in adult mice. Journal of Neuroscience. 26, 11554-11561. PubMed

Douglas RM, Neve A, Quittenbaum JP, Alam NM and Prusky GT. (2006) Perception of visual motion coherence in rats and mice. Vision Research. 46, 2842-2847. PubMed

Bennett, BM, Reynolds JN, Prusky GT, Sutherland RJ and Thatcher GR. (2007) Cognitive deficits in rats after forebrain cholinergic depletion are reversed by a novel NO mimetic nitrate ester. Neuropsychopharmacology. 32, 505-513. PubMed

Douglas RM, Alam NM, Silver BD, McGill TJ, Tschetter WW and Prusky GT.  (2005) Independent visual threshold measures in the two eyes of freely moving rats and mice using a virtual-reality optokinetic system. Visual Neuroscience. 22, 677-684. PubMed

Driscoll I, Howard SR, Prusky GT, Rudy JW and Sutherland RJ. (2005) Seahorse wins all races: Hippocampus participates in both linear and non-linear visual discrimination learning. Behavioural Brain Research. 164, 29-35. PubMed



Dr. Robert M. Douglas - University of British Columbia
Dr. Samer Hattar - Johns Hopkins University
Dr. Hazel Szeto - Weill Cornell Medical College
Dr. Sheila Nirenberg - Weill Cornell Medical College


National Institutes of Health
National Eye Institute
Project Number: 1R21EY026753-01A1
Title: Automated Assessment of Visuomotor Function in Children with Brain Injury
Dates: July 1, 2016 – June 30, 2018
Role: Principal Investigator - Glen Prusky, Ph.D.; Co-Investigator - Jason B. Carmel, M.D., Ph.D.; Co-Investigator - Jeremy Hill, D. Phil.
Goals: These experiments will determine the utility of automated vision measurements in an underserved population that poses particular diagnostic challenges. The current study will thus will lay the groundwork for future clinical trials of OptokineSys as a tool for assessing the natural history of CVI in children with brain injury. In addition, the system could be used to train visual perception, an approach that has already proved effective in rodent studies. Together, the new system has the potential to fill the gap in our understanding of the course of CVI after brain injury, and to provide tools for changing that course.

Lab Members

Current Lab Members

Jeremy Hill, D. Phil.
Instructor, Research Scientist

Nazia Alam, Ph.D.

John O’Brien

Charles Panzerella 

Blue Prusky

Melis Suner, M.D.