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Michael A. Steinmetz, Ph.D.

Michael A. Steinmetz, Ph.D.
Michael A. Steinmetz, Ph.D.

National Eye Institute (NEI),
National Institutes of Health (NIH)

  • Program Director, Strabismus, Amblyopia, and Visual Processing


  • Neuroscience
  • Visual Processing
  • Visual System Circuitry

Current Projects

Dr. Steinmetz directs the Strabismus, Amblyopia, and Visual Processing portfolio, which supports research aimed at understanding how the brain receives and processes sensory input from the eye. A major part of the program funds projects that explore how the neural circuits that support vision develop. This and other basic research funded by the program is informing new therapies aimed at preventing and treating disorders such as myopia, optic neuropathies such as glaucoma, and prosopagnosia, a condition that inhibits the ability to recognize faces. Other research projects work to translate the basic science of brain plasticity into effective treatments for strabismus, amblyopia, and other disorders involving central visual processing. The portfolio also looks at emerging technologies such as optogenetics to explore the functions of retinal and central neural circuits.

Professional Highlights

In 1985, Dr. Steinmetz joined the neuroscience department at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. He helped establish the Johns Hopkins Zanvyl Krieger Mind/Brain Institute in 1994 and served as a senior scientist there. In 2003, Dr. Steinmetz came to the NIH as a scientific review administrator, and later a referral officer, in the Center for Scientific Review. He joined the NEI Division of Extramural Research in 2007.

Dr. Steinmetz serves on numerous trans-NIH and government-wide committees including the NIH Director’s Pioneer Award and New Innovator Award, five NIH Blueprint committees and work groups, the NIH and National Science Foundation Collaborative Research in Computational Neuroscience, and three Department of Defense vision research and medical committees and centers.

The National Eye Institute (NEI), part of the National Institutes of Health, leads the federal government’s research on the visual system and eye diseases. NEI supports basic and clinical science programs that result in the development of sight-saving treatments.

National Eye Institute
(301) 496-5248