Wills Vision Research Center

The Wills Vision Research Center at Jefferson works to improve vision health by bringing together scientists, clinicians and healthcare professionals from across the world. This collaboration fosters the free exchange of ideas that leads to the development of new approaches to the diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the visual system. The Center acts to break down the barriers to delivering high quality vision care to all.

The Vision Center features small Special Interest Groups (SIGs) in which those with mutual interests in vision health work together across disciplines, creating new ideas for research and better outcomes.

A unique center hosted at Jefferson and Wills Eye since 2011, we are committed to both research and education. If you would like information on becoming a member in the Vision Research Center or participating in a SIG, please contact Dr. Sue Menko.


In the spring of 2011, the Wills Vision Research Center at Jefferson was established to foster collaborations between a core group of NEI-funded vision scientists at Jefferson and clinicians at Wills Eye Institute, which serves as the home of Jefferson’s Department of Ophthalmology. The new Vision Research Center, co-founded by Drs. Sue Menko and Julia Haller, quickly grew across the Jefferson and Wills communities, then extended both regionally and nationally.

The inaugural retreat of the center, held in June 2011, hosted more than 100 attendees, including clinicians, researchers, and representatives from the pharmaceutical industry. This retreat generated great energy and provided a venue for the initiation of new collaborations, leading to the creation of Special Interest Groups in vision research, small groups of scientists and clinicians that bring diverse backgrounds but similar interests to their discussions. The Special Interest Groups have resulted in collaborations with great promise of leading to grant funding and new discoveries for improving vision health on a global scale.


A. Sue Menko, PhD
Professor, Department of Pathology, Anatomy, & Cell Biology, SKMC

1020 Locust Street, JAH, Suite 564
Philadelphia, PA 19107

Sue.Menko@jefferson.edu  |  215-503-2166

Julia Haller, MD
Wills Eye Hospital

840 Walnut Street, Suite 1510
Philadelphia, PA 19107

J.Haller@willseye.org  |  215-928-3073

Lisa Hark, PhD, RD
Wills Eye Hospital

840 Walnut Street
Will's Eye Hospital, Suite 802
Philadelphia, PA 19107

L.Hark@willseye.org  |  215-928-3045

Diane J. Abatemarco, PhD, MSW
Professor, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, SKMC

1233 Locust Street, Suite 400
Philadelphia, PA 19107

Diane.Abatemarco@jefferson.edu  |  215-955-4068

Andrew E. Aplin, PhD
Associate Director, Basic Science
Kalbach-Newton Professor of Cancer Research; Professor (tenured), Department of Cancer Biology, SKMC

233 S 10th Street, BLSB 524
Philadelphia, PA 19107

Andrew.Aplin@jefferson.edu  |  215-503-7296