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Michael A. Steinmetz, Ph.D.

Michael Steinmetz

Director, Division of Extramural Science Programs
National Eye Institute (NEI),
National Institutes of Health (NIH)


  • Neuroscience
  • Visual Processing
  • Visual System Circuitry

Current projects

Dr. Steinmetz is the Director of the Division of Extramural Science Programs. He oversees the extramural grant portfolio including Retinal Diseases, Corneal Diseases, Lens and Cataract, Glaucoma, Strabismus, Amblyopia, and Visual Processing, Low Vision and Blindness Rehabilitation, and Collaborative Clinical Research. He also has a lead role in the NEI Audacious Goals Initiative to restore vision through the regeneration of visual neurons and their connections.

Dr. Steinmetz serves on numerous trans-NIH and government-wide committees including the NIH Director's Pioneer Award and New Innovator Award, the NIH Brain and Blueprint coordinating committees, and the program committee of Department of Defense Vision Research Program.

Professional highlights

Dr. Steinmetz joined the neuroscience department at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in 1985 following a postdoctoral fellowship in the laboratory of Vernon Mountcastle. He helped establish the Johns Hopkins Zanvyl Krieger Mind/Brain Institute in 1994 and served as a senior scientist there studying visual processing in awake, behaving monkeys. In 2003, Dr. Steinmetz came to the NIH as a Referral Officer and Scientific Review Officer for the Central Visual Processing and the Cognitive Neuroscience Study Sections in the Center for Scientific Review.

Dr. Steinmetz joined the NEI Division of Extramural Research in 2007 as the Director of the Strabismus, Amblyopia, and Visual Processing Program. He was named director of that division in 2014, and served as Acting Deputy Director of NEI in 2017-2018.


National Eye Institute
NEI logo.

The National Eye Institute (NEI), part of the National Institutes of Health, leads the federal government's research on the visual system and eye diseases. NEI supports basic and clinical science programs that result in the development of sight-saving treatments.

Last updated: August 20, 2019