Dr Mauricio Vargas


Board Certified Ophthalmologist

Mauricio Vargas, M.D., Ph.D.  specializes in treating medical diseases of the retina and general ophthalmology.   He trained at fellowships at the Casey Eye Institute, Oregon Health and Sciences University and the Ocular Genomics Institute at Massachusetts Eye and Ear, Harvard teaching hospital. While at Harvard, he conducted research aimed at developing novel gene therapies for inherited retinal illness.  In Oregon, he had the privilege of providing eye care for our nation’s Veterans as a staff ophthalmologist at the Portland Veterans Administration. He received his Medical Degree from the Stanford University School of Medicine and also earned a PhD in Neuroscience studying antibody responses following injury, in the laboratory of Dr. Ben Barres.  Dr. Vargas completed his internship at White Memorial Medical Center and his ophthalmology residency training at the Jules Stein Eye institute at UCLA, and completed postdoctoral training in the UCLA Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology investigating the cell biology of nerve injury in the laboratory of Dr. Alvaro Sagasti.


Dr. Vargas is board-certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology and a fellow of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.  Dr. Vargas is fluent in Spanish and is passionate about providing care to underserved communities.  He has published in medical journals and textbooks in the fields of nerve injury, wound healing following traumatic injury as well as various retinal illness.  He has repeatedly been an invited speaker at international meetings.


Peer Reviewed Publications:

  1. Levine MS, Klapstein GJ, Koppel A, Gruen E, Cepeda C, Vargas ME, Jokel ES, Carpenter EM, Zanjani H., Hurst RS, Efstratiadis A, Zeitlin S., and Chesselet MF. Enhanced sensitivity to N-methylD-aspartate receptor activation in transgenic and knockin mouse models of Huntington's disease. J Neurosci Res. 1999 Nov15;58(4):515-32 (citations 368)

  3. Goldberg JL*, Vargas ME*, Wang JT, Mandemakers W, Oster SF, Sretavan DW., and Barres B.A. An oligodendrocyte lineage-specific semaphorin, Sema5A, inhibits axon growth by retinal ganglion cells J Neurosci. 2004 May 26;24(21):4989-99* Contributed Equally (citations 196)

  5. Vargas ME*, Watanabe J*, Singh SJ, Robinson WH and Barres BA. Endogenous Antibodies Promote Rapid Myelin Clearance and Effective Axon Regeneration After Nerve Injury. Proc Natl Acad Sci. 2010 June 14 * Contributed Equally (citations 133)

  7. O’Donnell KC, Vargas ME, Sagasti A. WldS and PGC-1apha regulate mitochondrial transport and oxidation state after axonal injury. J. Neurosci. 2013, Sep 11: 33(37):14778-90 (citations 72)

  9. Di Stefano M, Nascimento-Ferreira I, Orsomando G, Mori V, Gilley J, Brown R, Janeckova L, Vargas ME, Worrell LA, Loreto A, Tickle J, Patrick J, Webster JR, Marangoni M, Carpi FM, Pucciarelli S, Rossi F, Meng W, Sagasti A, Ribchester RR, Magni G, Coleman MP, Conforti L. A rise in NAD precusor nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN) after injury promotes axon degeneration. Cell Death Differ. 2015 May;22(5):731-41(citations 100)

  11. Wang JT, Medress ZA, Vargas ME, Barres BA. Local axonal protection by Wlds as revealed by conditional regulation of protein stability. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2015 Jul 24. (citations 23)

  13. Vargas ME, Yamagishi Y, Tessier-Lavigne M, and Sagasti A. Live imaging of calcium dynamics during axon degeneration reveals two functionally distinct phases of calcium influx. J Neurosci. 2015 Nov 11;35(45):15026-38 (citations 42)

  15. Fahim AT, Bouzia Z, Branham KH, Kumaran N, Vargas ME, Feathers KL, Perera ND, Young K, Khan NW, Heckenlively JR, Webster AR, Pennesi ME, Ali RR, Thompson DA, Michaelides M. Detailed Clinical Characterization, Unique Features, and Natural History of Autosomal Recessive RDH12-Associated Retinal Degeneration. British Journal of Ophthalmology. 2019 Apr 12;2018- 31358 (citations 8)

  17. Vasconcelos HM, Vargas ME, and Pennesi ME. Multimodal Imaging of Ring 14 Syndrome Associated Maculopathy. Ophthalmic Genetics 2019 Dec;40(6):541-544