Support for our endeavors
comes primarily from the
National Institutes of Health


Susan Culican, MD, PhD


Assistant Professor, Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences

Cellular mechanisms of inter-ocular competition in visual development

Dr. Culican's laboratory work relates to the cellular refinement of neural circuits during critical periods of visual development. Amblyopia, or "lazy eye", is the most common cause of vision loss in childhood, affecting approximately 5% of school-aged children. Patching the stronger eye to strengthen the lazy eye can result in spectacular improvement if performed when the brain's visual circuits are still remodeling. However, if treatment is not initiated during this critical period of development, the vision loss becomes permanent. While many studies have been aimed at localizing the site of amblyopia in the brain, there is very little known about the mechanisms that define the process at the cellular or synaptic level. The research goals are:

  1. (broadly) to identify the cellular developmental processes that underlie inter-ocular competition, such as occurs pathologically in amblyopia
  2. To better understand the changes in synaptic connectivity that occur during inter-ocular competition to identify the cellular mechanisms that define the critical period.
  3. To begin to define the molecular and activity mediated signals that regulate topographic localization of retinal projections during visual development.


  • BA, Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri, 1990
  • MD, PhD, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri, 1998
  • Internal Medicine, Barnes-Jewish Hospital, St. Louis, Missouri, 1999


  • Residency, Ophthalmology, Barnes-Jewish Hospital / Washington University Medical Center, St. Louis, Missouri, 1999-2002
  • Fellowship, Pediatric Ophthalmology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri, 2003-2004

Board Certification

  • Diplomate, American Board of Ophthalmology, 2004


  • Graduated cum laude with a BA in Biology, Washington University in St. Louis Recipient of the Harrison Daily Stalker Prize for breadth of interest and excellence in science , May 1990
  • Selected as one of two graduate-student members Chancellor Search Committee, Washington University in St. Louis, Spring 1994
  • Finalist, James L. O’Leary Prize for Research in Neuroscience Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri, Spring 1996
  • Max and Evelyn Grand Prize in Clinical Ophthalmology Washington University School of Medicine, Spring 1998
  • Doris P. and Harry J. Wexler Award for Ophthalmic Research, Spring 2000
  • Fellowship, Society of Heed Fellows, Heed Ophthalmic Foundation, 2003-2004
  • Inducted Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society, 2007
  • Special Service Award, John Cochran VA Hospital, 2008
© Copyright 2017    |    Contact Us    |    Directions    |    Login

The Vision Research Community at Washington University in St. Louis
Washington University School of Medicine
660 S.Euclid Ave., St. Louis, Missouri 63110
Campus Box 8096, McMillian Building, St. Louis, Missouri 63110