Dr. Connie Cepko received her Ph.D. degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), working with Dr. Phillip Sharp. For her postdoctoral training, she remained at MIT as a Jane Coffin Childs fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Richard Mulligan, where she helped develop the technology of retrovirus-mediated gene transduction. Dr. Cepko joined the faculty at Harvard Medical School in the Department of Genetics in 1985 and the Department of Ophthalmology in 2007. She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Dr. Cepko’s current research is focused on the understanding the development and degeneration of cells in the central nervous system, particularly in the retina. She uses genomics technology and other molecular techniques in her research to elucidate the mechanisms of human retinal disease and development.
Her laboratory has identified many of the molecular events that lead to the determination of retinal cell fates, and she continues to investigate how the retina develops with its pronounced pattern. She also studies the mechanisms of photoreceptor degeneration, particularly in genetic diseases, with the goal of developing a generic therapy that prolongs photoreceptor survival using gene therapy.