Members

  • Irina De la Huerta

    Assistant Professor
    Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences

    Irina De la Huerta obtained her undergraduate degree magna cum laude from Harvard University. In addition to her medical degree, she received her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Harvard. She completed her ophthalmology residency at the University of California, San Francisco, followed by a fellowship in retinal and vitreous surgery at the William Beaumont Hospital. In her clinical practice, she cares for adults and children with vitreoretinal conditions. She is an NIH-funded physician scientist whose laboratory is focused on the roles of retinal neurons in retinal vascular diseases such as diabetic retinopathy, retinopathy of prematurity and age-related macular degeneration.

  • Jacob graduated with a B.S. in Biological Sciences with a concentration in Microbiology from the University of Tennessee Knoxville in 2020. He is currently a member of the De la Huerta lab, joining in 2021. He studies the roles of retinal photoreceptors in pathological angiogenesis and vascular permeability. In his free time he enjoys golfing, reading, and playing video games.

  • Varun is an undergraduate student at Vanderbilt currently studying Neuroscience and MHS with a minor in Mediterranean Studies. He joined the De la Huerta Lab in 2021, and his research focuses on studying the how photoreceptors are impacted by the C2 isoform of the transcription factor NFAT. When not in the lab, he enjoys playing the saxophone and being tormented by his favorite soccer team, Manchester United.

  • Sebastian Bujoi

    Undergraduate

    Sebastian is an undergraduate at Vanderbilt, majoring in Molecular and Cellular Biology. He joined the lab in 2022. He is studying the effect of inflammatory pathways in retinal microvascular endothelial cells. Sebastian grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico. In his spare time he enjoys hiking and filming with a camera.

Alumni

  • Jorge Nunez

    Research Assistant I

    Jorge graduated with a B.Sc. in Biomedical Engineering from Yale University in 2020. He was a member of the De la Huerta lab from 2020 - 2022 and he worked on animal models of diabetic retinopathy. He is currently a first year MD PhD student in the joint MSTP program between Weill Cornell, Rockefeller Institute and Memorial Sloan Kettering in New York City. 

  • Devyn Zaminski

    Undergraduate

    Devyn was an undergraduate at Vanderbilt who majored in Medicine, Health and Society. She was the first member of the De la Huerta lab and she was part of the team from 2019 – 2021. She studied the effect of high glucose on retinal photoreceptors in vitro. She is now a medical student at the NYU Grossman School of Medicine.

  • Emily Chen

    Research Assistant I

    Emily earned her B.A. from Vanderbilt University in 2020 with a double major in Biochemistry and Chemical Biology and Medicine, Health and Society. She was part of the team from 2020-2021. She worked primarily on in vivo experiments in mouse models of diabetic retinopathy, and helped to keep everything in the lab running smoothly. She is now a medical student at the University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center.