Jonathan Demb, PhD

Associate Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Science, of Cellular And Molecular Physiology and of Neuroscience

Departments & Organizations

Cellular & Molecular Physiology

Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program

Swartz Program in Theoretical Neurobiology

Yale Combined Program in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences (BBS): Molecular Medicine, Pharmacology, and Physiology | Neuroscience

Office of Cooperative Research


Jonathan Demb is an Associate Professor in the Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Science with secondary appointments in the Department of Cellular & Molecular Physiology and the Department of Neuroscience. Dr. Demb obtained his doctoral degree from Stanford University and did postdoctoral training at the University of Pennsylvania. Demb was a faculty member at the University of Michigan before moving to Yale in 2011.

The Demb lab investigates the basic mechanisms that enable healthy visual processing by the mammalian retina. Major accomplishments include identifying fundamental nonlinearities at retinal synapses that mediate specialized spatial processing by retinal ganglion cells; elucidating the role of disinhibition in visual contrast processing; characterizing asymmetries between the retina's ON and OFF pathways; determining roles of NMDA-type glutamate receptors in ganglion cell receptive fields; identifying characteristic properties of cone-mediated vision in the mouse retina; developing the use of a glutamate sensor (iGluSnFR) for study of retinal circuitry; identifying novel amacrine cell circuits using optogenetic technology; and testing experimental therapies in mouse models of retinal disease. Demb is a Reviewing Editor at the Journal of Neuroscience and is on the Editorial Board of PLoS Biology. He was awarded the Cogan Award in 2013 from the Associate for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) to recognize his contributions to the field of retinal neuroscience.

Education & Training

PhD Stanford University (1997)
BA Boston University (1993)
Postdoctoral Researcher University of Pennsylvania

Honors & Recognition

  • Cogan AwardAssociation for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) (2013)

  • Orthwein Yale Scholar AwardYale University (2011)

  • FellowAlfred P. Sloan Foundation (2004)

  • Career Development AwardResearch to Prevent Blindness (2004)

Professional Service

  • PLoS Biology (2017 - Present) Editorial Board

  • Journal of Neuroscience (2016 - Present) Reviewing Editor

  • NIH (2010 - Present) Study sections, ad hoc

  • Journal of Neuroscience (2008 - 2013) Associate Editor

Edit this profile

Contact Info

Jonathan Demb, PhD
Mailing Address
300 George St.
New Haven, CT 06511
Research Image 1

Stimulating the in vitro retina with visual contrast in a 'Y' shape evokes glutamate release from bipolar cell axon terminals in the same 'Y' shape, imaged with the glutamate sensor iGluSnFR (from Borghuis et al., 2013).

Research Image 2

Retinal ganglion cell filled with a fluorescent dye after whole-cell patch clamp recording.