Kimberly Gokoffski, MD, PhD

Associate Professor of Clinical Ophthalmology

Associate Director of Research, Institute for Technology and Medical Systems (ITEMS)

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My research interests are focused on the clinical need for optic nerve regeneration. Optic neuropathies are diseases in which the optic nerve (ON) – the cable that transmits information from the eye to the brain – is damaged. Advanced optic neuropathies, like glaucoma, result in irreversible vision loss because the cells that make up the ON are not capable of self-renewal. To restore vision in patients with optic neuropathies, we need to regenerate the ON. The current rate-limiting step to ON regeneration is directing stem cells that have been implanted in the eye to grow an axon out of the eye to the brain — a distance that spans 5cm in humans.

The goal of my research is 1.) to elucidate the molecular signals that guide axon growth and 2.) to test whether an applied electrical field can be used to direct the growth of implanted stem cells. The results from this project will be developed into a technology to facilitate ON regeneration and restore vision in patients blinded by optic neuropathies.


  • North American Neuro-Ophthalmology Society: Thomas Carlow Young Investigator Award, 2017
  • Department of Ophthalmology, UC Davis: 1st Place Resident Research Presentation, Alumni Day, 2012
  • UC Irvine: Graduated with Distinction in Research, 2009
  • UC Irvine: Graduated with Distinction in Community Service, 2009
  • UC Irvine: Developmental and Systems Biology Training Grant, 2008
  • Center for Complex Biological Systems: Student Project Grant, 2007
  • International Conference in Systems Biology: Travel Award, 2006
  • UC Irvine: Paul H. Silverman Award for Research in Stem Cells, 2005-2007
  • UC Irvine: School of Biological Sciences Travel Award, 2002
  • University of Pittsburgh: Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP) Fellowship, 2001
  • University of Kansas: Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Fellowship, 2001
  • NIH: NINDS/AUPN/ANA Medical Students Mentoring Workshop Scholarship, 2001
  • UC Irvine: NIH Neurosciences Training Grant, 2001
  • UC Irvine: MSTP 2nd Place Oral Presentation Award, 2001
  • UC Irvine: Alpha Omega Alpha Honors Society Community Service Award, 2001
  • UC Irvine: Center for Complex Biological Systems Student Project Grant, 2001


  • Endoscopic Endonasal Transsphenoidal Resection of Pituitary Adenomas in Patients Presenting With Monocular Blindness Oper Neurosurg (Hagerstown). 2024 Apr 10. . View in PubMed
  • Advances and Challenges in Wearable Glaucoma Diagnostics and Therapeutics Bioengineering (Basel). 2024 Jan 30; 11(2). . View in PubMed
  • The Retinal Ganglion Cell Repopulation, Stem Cell Transplantation, and Optic Nerve Regeneration Consortium Ophthalmol Sci. 2023 Dec; 3(4):100390. . View in PubMed
  • Miller Fisher Syndrome With Acetylcholine Receptor Antibody: A Case Series J Neuroophthalmol. 2023 Dec 01; 43(4):e311-e312. . View in PubMed
  • Re: “Correlation of Automated Computed Tomography Volumetric Analysis Metrics With Motility Disturbances in Thyroid Eye Disease” Ophthalmic Plast Reconstr Surg. 2023 Mar-Apr 01; 39(2):194. . View in PubMed
  • Retinal ganglion cell repopulation for vision restoration in optic neuropathy: a roadmap from the RReSTORe Consortium Mol Neurodegener. 2023 09 21; 18(1):64. . View in PubMed
  • Asymmetric charge balanced waveforms direct retinal ganglion cell axon growth Sci Rep. 2023 08 14; 13(1):13233. . View in PubMed
  • AxonQuantifier: A semi-automated program for quantifying axonal density from whole-mounted optic nerves J Neurosci Methods. 2023 07 01; 394:109895. . View in PubMed
  • The Influence of Electrode Properties on Induced Voltage Gradient Along the Rat Optic Nerve IEEE J Electromagn RF Microw Med Biol. 2022 Sep; 6(3):321-330. . View in PubMed
  • Metastatic neuroendocrine tumors mimicking as primary ocular disease Am J Ophthalmol Case Rep. 2022 Jun; 26:101425. . View in PubMed
  • Sphenoethmoidal air cell sinusitis: A rare cause of recurrent optic neuritis Am J Ophthalmol Case Rep. 2022 Jun; 26:101485. . View in PubMed
  • Electrical devices for visual restoration Surv Ophthalmol. 2022 May-Jun; 67(3):793-800. . View in PubMed
  • Internuclear Ophthalmoplegia Characterizes Multiple Sclerosis Rather Than Neuromyelitis Optica Spectrum Disease J Neuroophthalmol. 2022 06 01; 42(2):239-245. . View in PubMed
  • Surgical Outcomes of Transposition Surgery for the Correction of Large-Angle Strabismus J Neuroophthalmol. 2021 Dec 01; 41(4):e806-e814. . View in PubMed
  • Clinical correlation recommended: accuracy of clinician versus radiologic interpretation of the imaging of orbital lesions Orbit. 2021 Apr; 40(2):133-137. . View in PubMed
  • Glaucoma Expert-Level Detection of Angle Closure in Goniophotographs With Convolutional Neural Networks: The Chinese American Eye Study Am J Ophthalmol. 2021 06; 226:100-107. . View in PubMed
  • A case of reversible toxic optic neuropathy from tacrolimus (FK506) Am J Ophthalmol Case Rep. 2020 Dec; 20:100932. . View in PubMed
  • Optic Nerve Regeneration: How Will We Get There? J Neuroophthalmol. 2020 06; 40(2):234-242.. View in PubMed
  • Neuro-protection and neuro-regeneration of the optic nerve: recent advances and future directions Curr Opin Neurol. 2020 02; 33(1):93-105. . View in PubMed
  • Seasonal incidence of biopsy-proven giant cell arteritis: a 20-year retrospective study of the University of California Davis Medical System Clin Exp Rheumatol. 2019 Mar-Apr; 37 Suppl 117(2):90-97. . View in PubMed
  • Physiologic Electrical Fields Direct Retinal Ganglion Cell Axon Growth In Vitro Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2019 08 01; 60(10):3659-3668. . View in PubMed
  • Ophthalmic Artery Occlusion after Cocaine Use J Emerg Med. 2015 Jul; 49(1):61-2. . View in PubMed
  • Activin and GDF11 collaborate in feedback control of neuroepithelial stem cell proliferation and fate Development. 2011 Oct; 138(19):4131-42. . View in PubMed
  • Spatial dynamics of multistage cell lineages in tissue stratification Biophys J. 2010 Nov 17; 99(10):3145-54. . View in PubMed
  • Cell lineages and the logic of proliferative control PLoS Biol. 2009 Jan 20; 7(1):e15. . View in PubMed
  • Feedback regulation in multistage cell lineages Math Biosci Eng. 2009 Jan; 6(1):59-82. . View in PubMed