Shirley Wray, M.D., Ph.D., FRCP

Director, Unit for Neurovisual Disorders, Massachusetts General Hospital

Dr. Wray most recent research focuses on Chromatic Pupillometry for the Assessment of the Post-illumination Pupil Response (PIPR) driven by melanopsin-containing retinal ganglion cells.

Spectral domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT) in patients with Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) shows thinning of the retinal nerve fiber layer and shrinkage of the macula indicative of degeneration of the retinal ganglion cell.  A literature search led me to the pathology of the retina in AD eyes and identification of a subset of ganglion cells – the melanopsin containing retinal ganglion cells (MRGCs).  The MRGCs are intrinsically light sensitive and they act as third photoreceptors highly sensitive to bright blue light.  In comparison, the cones are sensitive to red light and the rods to pale blue light. All three photoreceptors are sensitive to white light. Hence chromatic pupillometry is the ideal technique to serial study the pupil light reflex and PIPR in probable cases of AD and other degenerative disorders.  The results of her work study may provide new insight into the in-situ development of tau pathology in the retina.

Dr. Wray earned her M.B., Ch.B., from the University of Sheffield, M.R.C.P and F.R.C.P. from the Royal College of Physicians in London, Ph.D. from Medical Research Council at London University, and was a Postgraduate Clinical Research Fellow in Neuro-Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School.


Funded Research

These projects were made possible from Cure Alzheimer's Fund support.