Revathi Balasubramanian, PhD

  • Assistant Professor of Ophthalmic Science (in Ophthalmology)
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Revathi Balasubramanian, PhD, is a vision and developmental biologist and an Assistant Professor of Ophthalmic Science (in Ophthalmology) in the Department of Ophthalmology at Columbia University.

Dr. Balasubramanian holds an MS in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Rochester and a BS in Biotechnology from Rashtreeya Vidyalaya College of Engineering in India. She earned her PhD in Neurobiology and Anatomy from the University of Rochester Medical Center in 2014, where she studied under the mentorship of Dr. Lin Gan.

Following her graduation, Revathi joined the Xin Zhang laboratory at Columbia University, where she made significant discoveries related to critical regulators of ciliary margin formation in early eye development. Most recently, she served as a Research Scientist in the Simon John Lab of the Department of Ophthalmology at Columbia. Dr. Balasubramanian is recognized as a rising star in the field of ophthalmic science and holds great potential to become a leading scientist in ocular developmental biology and single-cell sequencing.

Her dedication to research excellence has been acknowledged through prestigious grants and awards, including the Knights Templar Eye Foundation Early Career Starter grant.

Academic Appointments

  • Assistant Professor of Ophthalmic Science (in Ophthalmology)

Credentials & Experience

Education & Training

  • BS, 2008 Biotechnology, Rashtreeya Vidyalaya College of Engineering, India
  • MS, 2009 Biomedical Engineering, University of Rochester, New York
  • PhD, 2014 Neurobiology and Anatomy, University of Rochester Medical Center, New York
  • Fellowship: 2019 Columbia University Medical Center

Honors & Awards

  • 2016 – 2018: Chair, Gordon Research Seminars on Visual System Development 
  • 2014: Society for Developmental Biology Travel Award 
  • 2013: Edward Curtis Peck Award for Excellence in Teaching by Graduate Student 
  • 2010: SPINES (Summer Program in Neuroscience, Ethics and Survival) Fellowship, Marine Biological Laboratories 


Dr. Balasubramanian's research is focused on understanding the development and biology of ocular drainage structures, particularly in relation to intraocular pressure and glaucoma. Her ultimate goal is to identify new treatment targets for glaucoma, which remains the second leading cause of blindness in the United States.


  • BrightFocus Foundation National Glaucoma Research Award
  • Knights Templar Eye Foundation Early Career Starter Grant
  • NYSTEM Pre-Doctoral Training Grant

Selected Publications

  1. Slavi, N*., Balasubramanian, R*., Lee, M.A., Liapin, M., Oaks-Leaf, R., Peregrin, J., Potenski, A., Troy, C., Ross, E., Herrera, E., Kosmidis, S., John, S.W.M., Mason, C. (2022) CyclinD2-mediated regulation of neurogenic output from the retinal ciliary margin is perturbed in albinism (Neuron, In press)
  2. Balasubramanian, R., Min, X., Quinn, P., Giudice, Q.L., Tao, C., Polanco, K., Makrides, N., Peregrin, J., Bouaziz, M.,Mao , Y., Wang, Q., Costa, B.L., Buenaventura, D., Wang, F., Ma, L., Tsang, S., Fabre, P.J., Zhang, X. (2021) Phase transition specified by a binary code patterns the vertebrate eye cup Science Advances
  3. Tolman, N.G., Balasubramanian, R., Macalinao, D.G., Kearney, A.L., MacNicoll, K.H., Montgomery, C.L., de Vries, W.N., Jackson, I.J., Cross, S.H., Kizhatil, K., Nair, K.S., John, S.W.M. (2021) Genetic background modifies vulnerability to glaucoma-related phenotypes in Lmx1b mutant mice. Dis. Model Mech.
  4. Harder J.M., Guymer, C., Wood, J.P.M., Daskalaki, E., Chidlow, G., Zhang, C., Balasubramanian, R., Cardozo, B.H., Foxworth, N.E., Deering, K.E., Ouellette, T.B., Montgomery, C., Wheelock, C.E., Casson, R.J., Williams, P.A., John, S.W.M. (2020) Disturbed glucose and pyruvate metabolism in glaucoma with neuroprotection by pyruvate or rapamycin. PNAS
  5. Iwai-Takekoshi, L., Balasubramanian, R., Sitko, A., Kahn, R., Weinreb, S., Robinson, K., and Mason. C. (2018) Activation of Wnt signaling reduces ipsilaterally-projecting retinal ganglion cells in pigmented retina. Development
  6. Zhang, Y., Yang, Y., Jiang, M., Huang, S., Mori, M., Chen, Y., Balasubramanian, R., Kim, E., Lin, S., Toste de Carvalho, A.L.R., Serra, C., Riccio, P., Bialecka, M., Lopes, S.M.C., Cardoso, W., Zhang, X., Snoeck, H.W., and Que, J. (2018) Differentiation of human pluripotent stem cells reveals the role of NOTCH signaling in esophageal development. Cell Stem Cell
  7. Balasubramanian, R., Bui, A., and Gan. L. (2017) Lhx9 is required for the development of nitric-oxide synthesizing amacrine cell subtype. Molecular Neurobiology
  8. Ding, Q*., Balasubramanian, R*., Zheng, D., Liang, G. and Gan, L. (2016) Barhl2 determines the early patterning of diencephalon by regulating Shh signaling. Molecular Neurobiology
  9. Balasubramanian, R., Zhang, X. (2015) Mechanisms of FGF gradient formation during embryogenesis. Seminars in cell and developmental biology
  10. Balasubramanian, R. and Gan, L. (2014) Development of amacrine cells and their dendritic stratification. Current Ophthalmology reports
  11. Balasubramanian, R*.,Bui, A*.,Xie, X., Deng. M. and Gan. L. (2014) Generation and characterization of Lhx9 GFPCreER knock-in mouse line. Genesis (Cover illustration)
  12. Balasubramanian, R., Bui, A., Ding, Q. and Gan, L. (2013) Expression of LIM-Homeodomain transcription factors in the developing and mature mouse retina. Gene expression patterns