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Catherine A. Cukras, M.D., Ph.D.

Lasker Clinical Research Scholar:

Research interests: Biomedical Engineering/Biophysics/Physics, Clinical Research, Neuroscience/Neurophysiology/Neurodevelopment

Contact Information: 301-435-5061

10 Center Drive
Building 10-CRC, Room 10C438
Bethesda, Maryland 20892-1204


Dr. Cukras obtained her combined MD/PhD degrees from Washington University in St. Louis.  She completed her ophthalmology residency at Scheie Eye Institute at the University of Pennsylvania.  She then completed a medical retina fellowship training at the National Eye Institute with Drs. Emily Chew and Dr. Rick Ferris which also provided her with training and experience in designing and conducting clinical trials.   She is a Lasker Clinical Research Scholar and clinical investigator at the NEI.  She is also a NIH Distinguished Scholar.  She has been the Principal Investigator initiating and leading both non-interventional and interventional studies on retinal disease. 

Dr. Cukras attended Princeton University where she majored in chemical engineering and received a certificate in Engineering Biology.  Her early research in cell biology and physiology grounded her in scientific research with a focus of understanding cellular physiology.  She is a board-certified ophthalmologist with specialty training in medical retina.  She uses both psychophysical functional testing and multimodal imaging to understand disease pathophysiology.   

She is the Director of the Medical Retina Fellowship Program at NEI and has been fortunate to have mentored many clinical fellows, residents, post-bac, and MRSP students.

Selected publications


Turriff A, Nolen R, D'Amanda C, Biesecker B, Cukras C, Sieving PA. "There are hills and valleys": Experiences of parenting a son with X-linked retinoschisis. Am J Ophthalmol. 2019 Nov 22.

Maldonado RS, Zein WM, Cukras C. Multimodal evidence of type 3 neovascularization in enhanced s-cone syndrome.  Retin Cases Brief Rep. 2019 Jul 24.

Jung H, Liu J, Liu T, George A, Smelkinson MG, Cohen S, Sharma R, Schwartz O, Maminishkis A, Bharti K, Cukras C, Huryn LA, Brooks BP, Fariss R, Tam J. Longitudinal adaptive optics fluorescence microscopy reveals cellular mosaicism in patients. JCI Insight. 2019 Mar 21;4(6).

Turriff A, Blain D, Similuk M, Biesecker B, Wiley H, Cukras C, Sieving PA. Motivations and Decision Making Processes of Men With X-linked Retinoschisis Considering Participation in an Ocular Gene Therapy Trial. Am J Ophthalmol. 2019 Aug;204:90-96.

Turriff AE, Cukras CA, Brooks BP, Huryn LA. Considerations in multi-gene panel testing in pediatric ophthalmology. J AAPOS. 2019 Feb 12. pii: S1091-8531(19)30048-5.

Allahdina AM, Chen KG, Alvarez JA, Wong WT, Chew EY, Cukras CA.  Longitudinal changes in eyes with hydroxychloroquine retinal toxicity.  Retina. 2019 Mar;39(3):473-484.

Keenan TD, Klein B, Agrón E, Chew EY, Cukras CA, Wong WT.  Choroidal thickness and vascularity vary with disease severity and subretinal drusenoid deposit presence in nonadvanced age-related macular degeneration.  Retina. 2019 Jan 3.

Cukras CA.  Screening for Hydroxychloroquine Retinopathy-Can We Do Better?  Retina. 2019 Mar;39(3):423-425.

Chen KG, Alvarez JA, Yazdanie M, Papudesu C, Wong WT, Wiley HE, Keenan TD, Chew EY, Ferris FL 3rd, Cukras CA.  Longitudinal Study of Dark Adaptation as a Functional Outcome Measure for Age-Related Macular Degeneration.  Ophthalmology. 2019 Jun;126(6):856-865.


Valent DJ, Wong WT, Chew EY, Cukras CA. Oral Dextromethorphan for the Treatment of Diabetic Macular Edema: Results From a Phase I/II Clinical Study.  Transl Vis Sci Technol. 2018 Dec 17;7(6):24.

Cukras C, Wiley HE, Jeffrey BG, Sen HN, Turriff A, Zeng Y, Vijayasarathy C, Marangoni D, Ziccardi L, Kjellstrom S, Park TK, Hiriyanna S, Wright JF, Colosi P, Wu Z, Bush RA, Wei LL, Sieving PA.   Retinal AAV8-RS1 Gene Therapy for X-Linked Retinoschisis: Initial Findings from a Phase I/IIa Trial by Intravitreal Delivery. Mol Ther. 2018 Sep 5;26(9):2282-2294.

Yu JJ, Agrón E, Clemons TE, Domalpally A, van Asten F, Keenan TD, Cukras C, Chew EY; Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2 Research Group.  Natural History of Drusenoid Pigment Epithelial Detachment Associated with Age-Related Macular Degeneration: Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2 Report No. 17.  Ophthalmology. 2018 Aug pii: S0161-6420(18)31752-4.

Cukras CA, Huryn LA, Jeffrey BG, Turriff A, Sieving PA.  Analysis of Anatomic and Functional Measures in X-Linked Retinoschisis.  Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2018 Jun 1;59(7):2841-2847.

Flynn OJ, Cukras CA, Jeffrey BG. Characterization of Rod Function Phenotypes Across a Range of Age-Related Macular Degeneration Severities and Subretinal Drusenoid Deposits.  Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2018 May 1;59(6):2411-2421.

Sharma A, Maiz AM, Tucker WR, Cukras C.  Accelerated Onset of Retinal Toxicity from Hydroxychloroquine use with concomitant breast cancer therapy.  Retin Cases Brief Rep. 2018 May 16.

Allahdina AM, Stetson PF, Vitale S, Wong WT, Chew EY, Iii FLF, Sieving PA, Cukras C.  Optical Coherence Tomography Minimum Intensity as an Objective Measure for the Detection of Hydroxychloroquine Toxicity. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2018 Apr 1;59(5):1953-1963.


Knickelbein JE, Jacobs-El N, Wong WT, Wiley HE, Cukras CA, Meyerle CB, Chew EY. Systemic Sunitinib Malate Treatment for Advanced Juxtapapillary Retinal Hemangioblastomas Associated with von Hippel-Lindau Disease. Ophthalmol Retina. 2017 May-Jun;1(3):181-187.

Thavikulwat AT, Jacobs-El N, Kim JS, Agrón E, Hasan J, Meyerle CB, Valent D, Cukras CA, Wiley HE, Wong WT, Chew EY. Evolution of Geographic Atrophy in Participants Treated with Ranibizumab for Neovascular Age-related Macular Degeneration. Ophthalmol Retina. 2017 Jan-Feb;1(1):34-41.

Yazdanie M, Alvarez J, Agrón E, Wong WT, Wiley HE, Ferris FL 3rd, Chew EY, Cukras C. Decreased Visual Function Scores on a Low Luminance Questionnaire Is Associated with Impaired Dark Adaptation. Ophthalmology. 2017 Jun 8.

Cukras C, Jeffrey BG. The Importance of Outcome Measure Research in Stargardt Disease.  JAMA Ophthalmol. 2017 May 25. 

Writing Committee for the OPTOS PEripheral RetinA (OPERA) study (Ancillary Study of Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2), Domalpally A, Clemons TE, Danis RP, Sadda SR, Cukras CA, Toth CA, Friberg TR, Chew EY. Peripheral Retinal Changes Associated with Age-Related Macular Degeneration in the Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2: Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2 Report Number 12 by the Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2 Optos PEripheral RetinA (OPERA) Study Research Group. Ophthalmology. 2017 Apr;124(4):479-487. 


Arno G, Agrawal SA, Eblimit A, Bellingham J, Xu M, Wang F, Chakarova C, Parfitt DA, Lane A, Burgoyne T, Hull S, Carss KJ, Fiorentino A, Hayes MJ, Munro PM, Nicols R, Pontikos N, Holder GE; UKIRDC., Asomugha C, Raymond FL, Moore AT, Plagnol V, Michaelides M, Hardcastle AJ, Li Y, Cukras C, Webster AR, Cheetham ME, Chen R.  Mutations In REEP6 Cause Autosomal-Recessive Retinitis Pigmentosa. Am J Hum Genet. 2016 Dec 1;99(6):1305-1315. doi: 10.1016/j.ajhg.2016.10.008.

Cukras C, Flamendorf J, Wong WT, Ayyagari R, Cunningham D, Sieving PA.  LongitudinalStructural Changes in Late-Onset Retinal Degeneration. Retina. 2016 Dec;36(12):2348-2356.

Wiley HE, Thompson DJ, Bailey C, Chew EY, Cukras CA, Jaffe GJ, Lee RW, Loken EK, Meyerle CB, Wong W, Ferris FL 3rd.  A Crossover Design for Comparative Efficacy: A 36-Week Randomized Trial of Bevacizumab and Ranibizumab for Diabetic Macular Edema. Ophthalmology. 2016 Feb 10.

2015 - 2000

Al-Holou SN, Tucker WR, Agrón E, Clemons TE, Cukras C, Ferris FL 3rd, Chew EY; Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2 Research Group.  The Association of Statin Use with Age-Related Macular Degeneration Progression: The Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2 Report Number 9.  Ophthalmology. 2015 Dec;122(12):2490-6. 

Flamendorf J, Agrón E, Wong WT, Thompson D, Wiley HE, Doss EL, Al-Holou S, Ferris FL 3rd, Chew EY, Cukras C. Impairments in Dark Adaptation Are Associated with Age-Related Macular Degeneration Severity and Reticular Pseudodrusen.  Ophthalmology. 2015 Oct;122(10):2053-62.

Petrou PA, Cunningham D, Shimel K, Harrington M, Hammel K, Cukras CA, Ferris FL, Chew EY, Wong WT.  Intravitreal sirolimus for the treatment of geographic atrophy: results of a phase I/II clinical trial.  Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2014 Dec 18;56(1):330-8.

Cukras C, Huynh N, Vitale S, Wong WT, Ferris FL 3rd, Sieving PA. Subjective and Objective Screening Tests for Hydroxychloroquine Toxicity. Ophthalmology. 2014 Oct 14. pii: S0161-6420(14)00735-0.

Jeffrey BG, Cukras CA, Vitale S, Turriff A, Bowles K, Sieving PA. Test-Retest Intervisit Variability of Functional and Structural Parameters in X-Linked Retinoschisis. Transl Vis Sci Technol. 2014 Oct 3;3(5):5.

Nicholson BP, Nigam D, Toy B, Stetson PF, Agrón E, Jacobs-El N, Cunningham D, Cukras C, Wong W, Wiley H, Chew E, Ferris F, Meyerle CB. Effect of ranibizumab on high-speed indocyanine green angiography and minimum intensity projection optical coherence tomography findings in neovascular age-related macular degeneration. Retina. 2014 Jul 30.

Huynh N, Jeffrey BG, Turriff A, Sieving PA, Cukras CA. Sorting out co-occurrence of rare monogenic retinopathies: Stargardt disease co-existing with congenital stationary night blindness. Ophthalmic Genet. 2014 Mar;35(1):51-6.

D'Souza L, Cukras C, Antolik C, Craig C, Lee JY, He H, Li S, Smaoui N, Hejtmancik JF, Sieving PA, Wang X. Characterization of novel RS1 exonic deletions in juvenile X-linked retinoschisis. Mol Vis. 2013 Nov 7;19:2209-16.

Toy BC, Krishnadev N, Indaram M, Cunningham D, Cukras CA, Chew EY, Wong WT. Drusen regression is associated with local changes in fundus autofluorescence in intermediate age-related macular degeneration. Am J Ophthalmol. 2013 Sep;156(3):532-42.

Wong WT, Dresner S, Forooghian F, Glaser T, Doss L, Zhou M, Cunningham D, Shimel K, Harrington M, Hammel K, Cukras CA, Ferris FL, Chew EY.  Treatment of Geographic Atrophy With Subconjunctival Sirolimus: Results of a Phase I/II Clinical Trial.  Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2013 Apr 26;54(4):2941-50.

Cukras C, Gaasterland T, Lee P, Gudiseva HV, Chavali VR, Pullakhandam R, Maranhao B, Edsall L, Soares S, Reddy GB, Sieving PA, Ayyagari R.  Exome Analysis Identified a Novel Mutation in the RBP4 Gene in a Consanguineous Pedigree with Retinal Dystrophy and Developmental Abnormalities.  PLoS One. 2012;7(11):e50205.

Cukras CA, Petrou P, Chew EY, Meyerle CB, Wong WT.  Oral Minocycline for the Treatment of Diabetic Macular Edema (DME): Results of a Phase I/II Clinical Study.  Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2012 Jun 22;53(7):3865-74.

Toy BC, Koo E, Cukras C, Meyerle CB, Chew EY, Wong WT.  Treatment of Nonneovascular Idiopathic Macular Telangiectasia Type 2 with Intravitreal Ranibizumab: Results of a Phase II Clinical Trial.  Retina. 2012 May;32(5):996-1006.

Bowles K, Cukras C, Turriff A, Sergeev Y, Vitale S, Bush RA, Sieving PA.  X-linked retinoschisis: RS1 mutation severity and age affect the ERG phenotype in a cohort of 68 affected male subjects.  Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2011 Nov 29;52(12):9250-6. Print 2011 Nov.

Cukras CA, Wong WT, Caruso R, Cunningham D, Zein W, Sieving PA.  Centrifugal expansion of fundus autofluorescence patterns in Stargardt disease over time.  Arch Ophthalmol. 2012 Feb;130(2):171-9. Epub 2011 Oct 10.

Krishnadev N, Forooghian F, Cukras C, Wong W, Saligan L, Chew EY, Nussenblatt R, Ferris F 3rd, Meyerle C.  Subconjunctival sirolimus in the treatment of diabetic macular edema.   Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol. 2011 May 13.

Chavali VR, Khan NW, Cukras CA, Bartsch DU, Jablonski MM, Ayyagari R.  A CTRP5 gene S163R mutation knock-in mouse model for late-onset retinal degeneration.  Hum Mol Genet. 2011 May 15;20(10):2000-14.

Forooghian F, Meleth AD, Cukras C, Chew EY, Wong WT, Meyerle CB.  Finasteride for Chronic Central Serous Chorioretinopathy.  Retina. 2011 Jan 26. Epub

Wong WT, Kam W, Cunningham D, Harrington M, Hammel K, Meyerle CB, Cukras C, Chew EY, Sadda SR, Ferris FL. Treatment of Geographic Atrophy by the Topical Administration of OT-551: Results of a Phase II Clinical Trial.  Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2010 Jun 23.

Cukras, C,  Agrón , E, Klein, ML, Ferris, FL, Chew, EY, Wong, WT, and the Age-Related Eye Disease Study Research Group.   Natural History of Drusenoid Pigment Epithelial Detachment in Age-Related Macular Degeneration:  Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) Report #28.  Ophthalmology. 2010 Mar;117(3):489-99.

Yeh S, Forooghian F, Wong WT, Faia LJ, Cukras C, Lew JC, Wroblewski K, Weichel ED, Meyerle CB, Sen HN, Chew EY, Nussenblatt RB.  Fundus autofluorescence imaging of the white dot syndromes.  Arch Ophthalmol. 2010 Jan;128(1):46-56.

Forooghian F, Stetson PF, Meyer SA, Chew EY, Wong WT, Cukras C, Meyerle CB, Ferris FL 3rd. Relationship between photoreceptor outer segment length and visual acuity in diabetic macular edema. Retina. 2010 Jan;30(1):63-70.

Forooghian F, Chew EY, Meyerle CB, Cukras C, Wong WT.  Investigation of the role of neutralizing antibodies against bevacizumab as mediators of tachyphylaxis.  Acta Ophthalmol. 2009 Nov 7.

Forooghian F, Cukras C, Meyerle CB, Nussenblatt RB, Gottlieb CC, Chew EY, Wong WT. Gallium scintigraphy in the investigation of retinal inflammatory vasculopathy.  Acta Ophthalmol. 2009 Oct 30. 

Cukras, C, Wang, YD, Meyerle, CB, Forooghian, F, Chew, EY, Wong, WT.  Optical Coherence Tomography-Based Decision Making in Exudative Age-related Macular Degeneration:  Comparison of Time- versus Spectral-Domain Devices.  Eye. 2009.  Epub Aug 21 2009.

Ranchod, TM, Cukras C, Hopkins, TB, Liu, C, Yin, G, Brucker, AJ (2008). Evaluation of actual versus expected PDT spot size.  Am J Ophthalmol. 2009 May;147(5):859-64, 864.e1. Epub 2009 Feb 5.

Roth DB, Cukras C, Radhakrishnan R, Feuer WJ, Yarian DL, Green SN, Wheatley HM, Prenner J. Intravitreal triamcinolone acetonide injections in the treatment of retinal vein occlusions.  Ophthalmic Surg Lasers Imaging. 2008 Nov-Dec;39(6):446-54.

Lee TK, Forooghian F, Cukras C, Wong WT, Chew EY, Meyerle CB. Complementary angiographic and autofluorescence findings in pseudoxanthoma elasticum.  Int Ophthalmol. 2008 Oct 15

Forooghian F, Cukras C, Meyerle CB, Chew EY, Wong WT. Evaluation of Time Domain and Spectral Domain Optical Coherence Tomography in the Measurement of Diabetic Macular Edema.  Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2008 May 30.

Forooghian F, Cukras C, Chew EY.  Retinal Angiomatous Proliferation Complicated by Pigment Epithelial Tear Following Intravitreal Bevacizumab Treatment.  CJO.  2008 Apr;43(2):246-8.

Enkvetchakul D, Bhattacharyya J, Jeliazkova I, Groesbeck DK, Cukras CA, Nichols CG. (2004) Functional characterization of a prokaryotic Kir channel.  J Biol Chem. 279(45):  47076-80.

Cukras CA, Jeliazkova I, Nichols, CG (2002) The role of N-terminal positive charges in the activity of inward rectifier KATP channels J. Gen. Physiol  120, 437-446.

Cukras CA, Jeliazkova I, Nichols CG (2002) Structural and functional determinants of conserved lipid interaction domains of inward rectifying K channels J. Gen. Physiol.  119, 1-12.

Nichols CG and C.A. Cukras. (2001) KATP channel regulators: Balanced diets include carbohydrates, proteins and fats! Circulation Research. 88, 849-851. 

Shyng SL, Cukras C, Harwood J, Nichols, CG (2000) Structural Determinants of PIP2 Regulation of Inward Rectifier KATP channels. J. Gen. Physiol. 116, 599-607.

Shyng SL, Barbieri A, Gumusboga A, Cukras C, Pike L, Davis JN, Stahl PD Nichols CG (2000). Modulation of nucleotide sensitivity of KATP channels by PI-4-P 5-kinase.  Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci  97, 937-941.

Last updated: December 15, 2020