Skip to content

Bharti appointed director of National Eye Institute Intramural Research Program

April 19, 2023

The National Eye Institute (NEI) has tapped Kapil Bharti, Ph.D., to be the next scientific director of its intramural research program. 

“Bharti’s scientific acumen in vision research, as well as his strategic and organizational leadership skills and research and development oversight have led to the development of cutting-edge therapies and tools for clinical applications,” said NEI Director Michael F. Chiang, M.D. “These skills, along with practiced relationship-building among multiple stakeholder communities will serve him well as scientific director.” 

Kapil with media wells

Kapil Bharti, Ph.D. 

The NEI Intramural Program (IRP) comprises more than two dozen labs studying various aspects of eye disease and vision. Based at the National Institutes of Health campus in Bethesda, Maryland, the NEI IRP leverages the extensive resources of the greater NIH interdisciplinary community, with access to the nation’s largest clinical research center. The NEI IRP budget represents about 10% of the total NEI budget—for fiscal year 2023, about $890 million. 

NEI’s first-ever Stadtman Investigator, Bharti joined the institute in 2012 to lead the NEI Ocular Stem Cell and Translational Research Section, which conducts research on degenerative eye diseases using induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cell technology. Under Bharti’s direction, the lab has developed in vitro disease models and high throughput drug screens. Most notably, he has marshalled preclinical work leading to the first clinical trial in the U.S. to use replacement tissues from patient-derived iPS cells.  

Bharti holds a bachelor's degree in biophysics from the Panjab University in Chandigarh, India, a master’s degree in biotechnology from the Maharaja Sayaji Rao University in Baroda, India, and a Ph.D. from Johann Wolfgang Goethe University at Frankfurt in Germany. 

Bharti’s appointment is the culmination of a nationwide search to replace past NEI Scientific Director Sheldon Miller, who stepped down in early 2019. During the transition and search, NEI Deputy Scientific Director David Schneeweis, Ph.D., oversaw management and operations of the program. 

More about Bharti on the NEI website

NEI leads the federal government’s efforts to eliminate vision loss and improve quality of life through vision research…driving innovation, fostering collaboration, expanding the vision workforce, and educating the public and key stakeholders. NEI supports basic and clinical science programs to develop sight-saving treatments and to broaden opportunities for people with vision impairment. For more information, visit  

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation’s medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit 

NIH…Turning Discovery Into Health®