About Ula Jurkunas, MD

Dr. Ula Jurkunas is a clinician-scientist who performs corneal and refractive surgery at Mass. Eye and Ear and conducts basic science research on Fuchs Endothelial Corneal Dystrophy and stem cell transplantation at Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear. In addition to being one of the highest volume refractive and transplant surgeons at Mass. Eye and Ear, she teaches residents and fellows about corneal, cataract, and refractive surgery as well as the clinical management and diagnosis of corneal and refractive conditions. Dr. Jurkunas is a co-director of Harvard Ophthalmology Cornea Center of Excellence.

After obtaining her medical degree from University of Louisville, Dr. Jurkunas completed her ophthalmology residency at Boston University. She then completed subspecialty training in cornea, external diseases and refractive surgery at Mass. Eye and Ear, serving as Chief Cornea Fellow for one year.

Departments, Centers, & Programs:

Clinical Interests:




Mass Eye and Ear
243 Charles St.
Boston, MA 02114
Phone: 617-523-7900

Medical Education

  • MD, University of Louisville School of Medicine
  • Residency, Boston Medical Center
  • Fellowship, Massachusetts Eye and Ear

American Board Certifications

  • Ophthalmology, American Board of Ophthalmology


At Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear, Dr. Jurkunas primarily studies the pathogenesis of Fuchs’ endothelial corneal dystrophy (FECD)—with emphasis on the role of oxidative stress in endothelial cell death—and the development of cultivated epithelial (stem) cell transplantation for the treatment of limbal stem cell deficiency.

In addition, as an Associate Professor of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School, she teaches residents and fellows about corneal surgical procedures and the diagnosis and clinical management of corneal and refractive conditions. Her main clinical areas of expertise are corneal endothelial dysfunction, femtosecond cataract surgery, refractive surgery, and lamellar keratoplasty, including DMEK and complex DSAEK.


  • 1. Liu C, Miyajima T, Melangath G, Miyai T, Vasanth S, Deshpande N, Kumar V, Ong Tone S, Gupta R, Zhu S, Vojnovic D, Chen Y, Rogan EG, Mondal B, Zahid M, Jurkunas UV. Ultraviolet A light induces DNA damage and estrogen-DNA adducts in Fuchs endothelial corneal dystrophy causing females to be more affected. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2019 Dec 18. 

    2. Miyajima T, Melangath G, Zhu S, Deshpande N, Vasanth S, Mondal B, Kumar V, Chen Y, Price MO, Price FW, Rogan EG, Zahid M, Jurkunas UV. Loss of NQO1 generates genotoxic estrogen-DNA adducts in Fuchs Endothelial Corneal Dystrophy. Free Radic Biol Med. 2019 Dec 17; 147:69-79.

    3. Pan P, Weisenberger DJ, Zheng S, Wolf M, Hwang DG, Rose-Nussbaumer JR, Jurkunas UV, Chan MF. Aberrant DNA methylation of miRNAs in Fuchs endothelial corneal dystrophy. Sci Rep. 2019 Nov 08; 9(1):16385.

    4. Miyai T, Vasanth S, Melangath G, Deshpande N, Kumar V, Benischke AS, Chen Y, Price MO, Price FW, Jurkunas UV. Activation of PINK1-Parkin-Mediated Mitophagy Degrades Mitochondrial Quality Control Proteins in Fuchs Endothelial Corneal Dystrophy. Am J Pathol. 2019 Oct; 189(10):2061-2076.

    5. Ong Tone S, Jurkunas U. Imaging the Corneal Endothelium in Fuchs Corneal Endothelial Dystrophy. Semin Ophthalmol. 2019; 34(4):340-346.

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