Gulgun Tezel, MD

Profile Headshot


Academic Appointments

  • Professor of Ophthalmic Sciences (in Ophthalmology)

Credentials & Experience

Education & Training

  • MD, 1983 Hacettepe Univ (Ankara,Turkey)
  • Internship: 1983 Hacettepe Univ (Ankara,Turkey)
  • Residency: Numune Hospital (Ankara, Turkey)
  • Fellowship: Washington University - St. Louis MO

Honors & Awards

2015 Present Fellow of ARVO (FARVO, Class of 2016)
2015 The Peacock Trust Research Award
2015 The Thomas and Anne D. Cooper Lectureship, Storm Eye Institute
2014 Homer McK. Rees Scholarship in Glaucoma Research
2013 Robert W. Rounsavall Jr. Family Foundation Glaucoma Research Award
2012 The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology Appreciation for Service on the IOVS Editorial Board 2007-2012
2010 Robert W. Rounsavall Jr. Family Foundation Glaucoma Research Award
2010 Distinguished Lectureship to Honor Dr. Joseph and Mable Meites at Michigan State University
2008 World Glaucoma Association Potential Future Impact Award
2008 Selection to organize The Fourth Annual Conference of the ARVO/Pfizer Ophthalmics Research Institute “The Role of Glia, Mitochondria, and the Immune System in Glaucoma”
2005 Louisville Science Center Kentucky Health Education Rural Outreach Scientist (KY- H.E.R.O.S.) Award
2004 Research to Prevent Blindness Sybil B. Harrington Scholars Award
2003 Pfizer Research Award
2000 World Glaucoma Association Top-Ten Recognition
1998 ARVO/National Eye Institute Travel Award


Gülgün Tezel, MD, is a leading scientist in the field of glaucoma research. Dr. Tezel’s translational research has focused on the molecular mechanisms, biomarkers, and new treatment targets of glaucomatous neurodegeneration. Through the studies of in vitro and in vivo experimental models of glaucoma and studies of human donor eyes, her laboratory has analyzed the signaling pathways of retinal ganglion cell death, neuron-glia interactions, and inflammatory responses. More recent studies of Dr. Tezel have defined distinct molecular responses of retinal ganglion cells and glial cells using quantitative mass spectrometry-based proteomics analysis techniques. Ongoing studies of her laboratory specifically focus on inflammation signaling and oxidative stress and pursue the profile of cell-specific proteomics alterations by functional testing of outcome molecules using specific pharmacological treatments or transgenic models. Her current work also includes the analysis of blood samples for glaucoma biomarker discovery through the proteomics/immuoproteomics approaches.

Research Interests

  • Cellular and Molecular Mechanisms of Glaucomatous Neurodegeneration
  • Immunomodulation and Neuroprotection in Glaucoma
  • Molecular Biomarkers of Glaucoma
  • Neurobiology and Proteomics of Retinal Ganglion Cells
  • Retinal Ganglion Cell/Glia Interactions



“Oxidative Stress in Neurodegeneration & Neuroprotection in Glaucoma”

Role: Principal Investigator

04/01/2015 03/31/2017

The Peacock Trusts

“Biomarkers of Glaucoma”

Role: Principal Investigator

04/01/2015 03/31/2017

Glaucoma Research Foundation

“Molecular Biomarkers of Glaucoma”

Role: Principal Investigator

03/01/2015 02/29/2016

Homer McK. Rees

“New Treatment Strategies for Glaucoma”

Role: Principal Investigator

10/01/2014 09/30/2017


“Pathogenesis of Glaucomatous Optic Nerve Damage”

Role: Consortium PI (PI: Quigley)

09/01/2012 08/31/2015


“TNF-α in Cell Death & Neuroprotection in Glaucoma”

Role: Principal Investigator

08/01/2003 07/31/2013


“Proteomic Analysis of Retinal Ganglion Cell Death in Glaucoma”

Role: Principal Investigator

12/01/2007 11/30/2012


“Na, K-ATPase studies on optic nerve head astrocytes”

Role: Co-Investigator (PI: Delamere)

09/01/2004 08/31/2006


“A Real Time Monitoring System for IOP in Glaucoma”

Role: Co-Investigator (PI: Jackson/Naber)

04/01/2003 03/31/2008

American Health Assistance Foundation

“Signaling Cascades Determining Cell Fate in Glaucoma”

Role: Principal Investigator

07/01/2002 06/30/2003

Glaucoma Research Foundation

“Heat Shock Protein 27 in the Neuroprotection of Retinal Ganglion Cells”

Role: Principal Investigator

01/01/2001 12/31/2001

The Glaucoma Foundation

“Inhibition of Caspase Activity in Retinal Ganglion Cell Apoptosis”

Role: Principal Investigator

08/01/2000 07/31/2001

Selected Publications

(selected from 112 peer-reviewed publications)

Yang X, Hondur G, Tezel G. Antioxidant treatment limits neuroinflammation in glaucoma. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2016;57:2344-2354.
Oglesby EN, Tezel G, Cone-Kimball E, Steinhart MR, Jefferys J, Pease ME, Quigley HA. Scleral fibroblast response to experimental glaucoma in mice. Mol Vis. 2016;22:82-99.
Yang X, Hondur G, Li M, Cai J, Klein JB, Kuehn MH, Tezel G. Proteomics analysis of molecular risk factors in the ocular hypertensive human retina. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2015;56:5816-30.
Tezel G. A decade of the proteomics studies of glaucomatous neurodegeneration. Special Issue "Proteomics and the Eye". Protemics Clin Appl. 2014;8:154-167.
Tezel G. A proteomics view of the molecular mechanisms and biomarkers of glaucomatous neurodegeneration. Prog Retin Eye Res. 2013;35:18-43.
Tezel G. Immune regulation towards immunomodulation for neuroprotection in glaucoma. Cur Opin Pharmacol. 2013;13:23-31.
Tezel G, Thornton IL, Tong MG, Luo C, Yang X, Cai J, Powell DW, Soltau JB, Liebmann, JM, Ritch R. Immunoproteomic analysis of potential serum biomarker candidates in human glaucoma. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2012;53:8222-8231.
Tezel G, Yang X, Luo C, Cai J,and Powell DW. An astrocyte-specific proteomic approach to inflammatory responses in experimental rat glaucoma. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2012;53:4220-4233.
Tezel G. The immune response in glaucoma: A perspective on the roles of oxidative stress. Exp Eye Res. 2011;93:178-186.
Yang X, Luo C, Cai J, Powell DW, Yu D, Kuehn MH, Tezel G. Neurodegenerative and inflammatory pathway components linked to TNF-α/TNFR1 signaling in the glaucomatous human retina. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2011;52:8442-8454.
Luo C, Yang X, Kain AD, Powell DW, Kuehn MH, Tezel G. Glaucomatous tissue stress and the regulation of immune response through the toll-like receptor signaling. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2010;51:5697-5707.
Tezel G, Yang X, Luo C, Kain AD, Powell DW, Kuehn MH, Kaplan HJ. Oxidative stress and the regulation of complement activation in human glaucoma. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2010;51:5071-5082.
Tezel G, Yang X, Luo C, Cai J, Kain AD, Powell DW, Kuehn MH, Pierce WM. Hemoglobin expression and regulation in glaucoma: Insights into retinal ganglion cell oxygenation. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2010;51:907-919.
Tezel G. The role of glia, mitochondria and the immune system in glaucoma. Conference Report. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2009;50:1001-1012.
Tezel G. TNF-α signaling in glaucomatous neurodegeneration. Research series: "Glaucoma: An Open-Window to Neurodegeneration and Neuroprotection". Prog Brain Res. 2008;173:409-421.
Wax MB, Tezel G, Yang J, Peng G, Patil RV, Agarwal N, Sappington RM, Calkins DJ. Induced autoimmunity to heat shock proteins elicits glaucomatous loss of retinal ganglion cell neurons via activated T cell-derived Fas-ligand. J Neurosci. 2008;28:12085-12096.
Yang X, Luo C, Cai J, Pierce WM, Tezel G. Phosphorylation-dependent interaction with 14-3-3 regulates Bad trafficking in retinal ganglion cells. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2008;49:2483-2494.
Tezel G, Wax MB. Glaucoma. Chem Immunol Allergy. 2007;92:221-227.
Tezel G, Luo C, Yang X. Accelerated aging in glaucoma: Immunohistochemical assessment of Advanced Glycation End-products in the human retina and optic nerve head. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2007;48:1201-1211.
Tezel G, Yang X, Luo C, Peng Y, Sun SL, Sun D. Mechanisms of immune system activation in glaucoma: Oxidative stress stimulates antigen presentation by the retina and optic nerve head glia. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2007;48:705-714.
Tezel G. Oxidative stress in glaucomatous neurodegeneration: Mechanisms and consequences. Prog Retin Eye Res. 2006;25:490-513.
Tezel G, Yang X, Cai J. Proteomic identification of oxidatively modified retinal proteins in a chronic pressure-induced rat model of glaucoma. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2005;46:3177-3187.
Tezel G, Yang X. Comparative gene array analysis of TNF-α-induced MAPK and NF-κB signaling pathways between retinal ganglion cells and glial cells. Exp Eye Res. 2005;81:207-217.
Tezel G, Yang J, Wax MB. Heat shock proteins, immunity and glaucoma. Brain Res Bull. 2004;62:473-480.
Tezel G, Wax MB. The immune system and glaucoma. Curr Opin Ophthalmol. 2004;15:80-84.
Tezel G, Yang X. Caspase-independent component of retinal ganglion cell death, in vitro. Invest Ophthalmol Vi. Sci. 2004;45:4049-4059.
Tezel G, Wax MB. Increased expression of hypoxia-inducible factor-1alpha in the glaucomatous retina and optic nerve head. Arch Ophthalmol. 2004;122:1348-1356.
Tezel G, Trinkaus K, Wax MB. Alterations in the morphology of lamina cribrosa pores in glaucomatous eyes. Br J Ophthalmol. 2004;88:25-256.
Tezel G, Yang X, Yang J, Wax MB. Role of tumor necrosis factor receptor-1 in the death of retinal ganglion cells following optic nerve crush injury in mice. Brain Res. 2004;996:202-212.
Tezel G, Wax MB. Glial modulation of retinal ganglion cells in glaucoma. J Glaucoma. 2003;12:63-68.
Tezel G, Chauhan BC, LeBlanc RP, Wax MB. Immunohistochemical assessment of the glial mitogen-activated protein kinase activation in glaucoma. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2003;44:3025-3033.
Tezel G, Wax MB. Autoantibodies in glaucoma. Curr Eye Res. 2002;25:113-116.
Tezel G, Li LY, Patil RV, Wax MB. Tumor necrosis factor-α and its receptor-1 in the retina of normal and glaucomatous eyes. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2001;42:1787-1794.
Tezel G, Hernandez MR, Wax MB. In vitro evaluation of reactive astrocyte migration, a component of tissue remodeling in glaucomatous optic nerve head. Glia. 2001;34:178-189.
Tezel G, Wax MB. Increased production of TNF-α by glial cells exposed to simulated ischemia or elevated hydrostatic pressure induces apoptosis in co-cultured retinal ganglion cells. J Neurosci. 2000;20:8693-8700.
Tezel G, Dorr D, Kolker AE, Wax MB, Kass MA. Concordance of parapapillary chorioretinal atrophy in ocular hypertension with visual field defects that accompany glaucoma conversion. Ophthalmology. 2000;107:1194-1199.
Tezel G, Wax MB. The mechanisms of hsp27 antibody-mediated apoptosis in retinal cells. J Neurosci. 2000;20:3552-3562.
Tezel G, Wax MB. Inhibition of caspase activity in retinal cell apoptosis induced by various stimuli, in vitro. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 1999;40:2660-2667.
Tezel G, Edward DP, Wax MB. Serum immunoreactivity to optic nerve head glycosaminoglycans in patients with glaucoma. Arch Ophthalmol. 1999;117:917-924.
Tezel G, Seigel GM, Wax MB. Autoantibodies to small heat shock proteins in glaucoma. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 1998;39:2277-2287.