Lea D. Bennett, PhD

Assistant Professor, Department of Ophthalmology


  • Undergraduate: Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX
  • PhD: University of Oklahoma (where she was a graduate student with Dr. Robert E. “Gene” Anderson in the Department of Ophthalmology), 2014
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship: The Retina Foundation of the Southwest (where she pursued scientific interest in inherited retinal degenerations and has acquired K99/R00 grant support from the National Eye Institute), Dallas, TX, 2018


Research Summary

Dr. Bennett’s primary research interests are in understanding photoreceptor degeneration and the factors influencing inherited retinal degeneration (IRD). Her laboratory utilizes a multidisciplinary approach to evaluate the effects of genetic mutations in IRD, including clinical and molecular testing, genomic analytics, in vitro variant testing, bioinformatics, inducible pluripotent stem cells (iPSC), and transcript/proteomics. Laboratory’s goals are (1) to obtain a better understanding of the role of genetic mutations in the clinical etiology of IRD, (2) to develop and evaluate molecular assays to determine variant pathogenicity, (3) to improve approaches for iPSC differentiation to human retinal organoids, and (4) to evaluate mechanisms of retinal degeneration in patient-derived retinal eyecups.