About Demetrios Vavvas, MD, PhD

Demetrios G. Vavvas, MD, PhD, is the Solman and Libe Friedman Professor of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School and Co-Director of the Ocular Regenerative Medicine Institute. Dr. Vavvas also serves as Associate Director of the Retina Service at Massachusetts Eye and Ear.

A full-time clinician scientist, he received his ophthalmology training in the Harvard Medical School Residency Program. After serving as the Chief Resident and Director of the Eye Trauma service at Mass Eye and Ear, he completed a fellowship in Vitreoretinal Surgery there where he received the Fellow of the Year award for his resident teaching and served as the Chief Fellow.

He is an active member of the retina faculty seeing a variety of surgical and medical vitreoretinal diseases. Dr. Vavvas' clinical work focuses on macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, trauma and oncology. He was the first to describe use of small gauge vitrectomy for complications of cataract surgery and trauma and has described a modified approach to an old surgical technique called scleral buckle in order to make it more predictable and easier to teach to trainees. Along with Drs. Dean Eliott and John B. Miller, he co-directs and organizes the Annual Fellows Course tailored for first-year vitreoretinal fellows from over 20 different programs in the nation.

Departments, Centers, & Programs:

Clinical Interests:



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

Medical Education

  • MD, Boston University School of Medicine
  • Residency, Massachusetts Eye and Ear***
  • Fellowship, Massachusetts Eye and Ear***

American Board Certifications

  • Ophthalmology, American Board of Ophthalmology


Dr. Vavvas is actively committed to research, serving as Principal Investigator in the Angiogenesis Laboratory. He is especially involved in research of cell death mechanisms and neuroprotection strategies and his lab identified receptor interacting protein kinases (RIPK) mediated programmed necrosis as significant mode of photoreceptor cell loss and showed that simultaneous inhibition of both RIP kinase and caspase pathways is necessary for effective neuroprotection. He is investigating the regulation of the energy sensor of the cell AMP dependent kinase and the potential of its small molecule activator, AICAR, to suppress intraocular inflammation and retinoblastoma tumor growth. He has performed a Phase I/II clinical trial of high dose statins as a potential to reverse high risk features in age related macular degeneration.


  • 1. Reshef ER, Miller JB, Vavvas DG. Hyperspectral Imaging of the Retina: A Review. Int Ophthalmol Clin. 2020; 60(1):85-96.

    2. Cui Y, Zhu Y, Wang JC, Lu Y, Zeng R, Katz R, Wu DM, Vavvas DG, Husain D, Miller JW, Kim LA, Miller JB. Imaging Artifacts and Segmentation Errors With Wide-Field Swept-Source Optical Coherence Tomography Angiography in Diabetic Retinopathy. Transl Vis Sci Technol. 2019 Nov; 8(6):18.

    3. Notomi S, Ishihara K, Efstathiou NE, Lee JJ, Hisatomi T, Tachibana T, Konstantinou EK, Ueta T, Murakami Y, Maidana DE, Ikeda Y, Kume S, Terasaki H, Sonoda S, Blanz J, Young L, Sakamoto T, Sonoda KH, Saftig P, Ishibashi T, Miller JW, Kroemer G, Vavvas DG. Genetic LAMP2 deficiency accelerates the age-associated formation of basal laminar deposits in the retina. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2019 Nov 19; 116(47):23724-23734.

    4. Ueta T, Ishihara K, Notomi S, Lee JJ, Maidana DE, Efstathiou NE, Murakami Y, Hasegawa E, Azuma K, Toyono T, Paschalis EI, Aihara M, Miller JW, Vavvas DG. RIP1 kinase mediates angiogenesis by modulating macrophages in experimental neovascularization. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2019 Nov 19; 116(47):23705-23713.

    5. Lee JJ, Ishihara K, Notomi S, Efstathiou NE, Ueta T, Maidana D, Chen X, Iesato Y, Caligiana A, Vavvas DG. Lysosome-associated membrane protein-2 deficiency increases the risk of reactive oxygen species-induced ferroptosis in retinal pigment epithelial cells. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2020 Jan 08; 521(2):414-419. 

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