Joseph Demer, MD, PhD, Director

Contact Information
Phone: (310) 825-8122
Fax: (310) 206-7826
Email: [email protected]

Location Address
Stein Eye Institute
100 Stein Plaza, Room A-110
Los Angeles, CA 90095

Research Areas

Brain-Eye Coordination in Vision and Eye Movement


Dr. Demer studies the role of the brain in the control of eye movements and visual perception. These experiments also evaluate dynamic visual acuity, which represents visual function during motion. Dr. Demer directs a National Eye Institute research project aimed at developing an understanding of the role of orbital connective tissues in the development of binocular coordination disorders. As part of this effort, new technologies are being developed for magnetic resonance imaging of extraocular muscles. This research has fundamentally contributed to the knowledge of the functional anatomy of the extraocular muscles and connective tissues. Studies are also conducted in animal models of mechanical and genetic causes of strabismus. Another project is underway with colleagues in the UCLA Department of Neurology and the UCLA Division of Head and Neck Surgery to study eye-head coordination mediated by the inner ear. This work involves recording of eye and head movements using magnetic search coils and flux gate magnetometers, as well as dynamic visual acuity. A final project in Collaboration with Dr. Elizabeth Engle at Boston Children's Hospital uses magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the extraocular muscles to clarify the phenotypes, mechanisms and genetics of the congenital ocular muscle fibrosis syndromes. Dr. Demer also employs high resolution MRI to study the optic nerve in amblyopia.

Representative Publications

Kono R, Poukens V, Demer JL. Superior oblique muscle layers in monkeys and humans. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2004;46:2790-9.

Demer JL, Clark RA. Magnetic resonance imaging of human extraocular muscles during static ocular counter-rolling. J Neurophysiol 2005;94:3292-3302.

Demer JL, Clark RA, Engle EC. Magnetic resonance imaging evidence for widespread orbital dysinnervation in congenital fibrosis of extraocular muscles due to mutations in KIF21A. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2005;46:530-9.

Clark RA, Demer JL. Magnetic resonance imaging of the effects of horizontal rectus extraocular muscle surgery on pulley and globe positions and stability. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2006;47:188-94.

Tian JR, Mokono E, Demer JL. The vestibulo-ocular reflex to transient surge translation: Complex geometric response ablated by normal aging. J Neurophysiol 2006;95:2042-54.


National Eye Institute: Biomechanical Analysis in Strabismus Surgery, 5/1/06-4/30/11

National Eye Institute: Genetic and Anatomic Basis of the Fibrosis Syndrome, 1/1/01-12/31/06 (Consortium with Boston Children's Hospital/Harvard; Principal Investigator of subcontract at UCLA)

National Institute of Deafness and Communicative Disease: New Tests of Vestibular Function and Core A, 7/1/02-6/30/07 (Multiproject grant; Project Director of Project 1)

Research to Prevent Blindness Roy and Lillian Disney Merit Award for Amblyopia Research, 2003-present

Alcon Research Institute Achievement Award, 2004-present

Available Positions

Graduate student post-doctoral fellow
Student lab assistant