Joanne Matsubara

Degrees / Credentials



Professor, Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, UBC


Full Member

Dr. Matsubara trained in Neurosciences with an emphasis on visual systems and pathways in the brain. Her research for the past 10 years has been in the basic and translational studies of retinal diseases and their treatments. Her lab also focuses on the use of the retina as a way to assess neurodegenerative diseases of the brain, such as Alzheimer’s disease.

Contact Info

Lab Manager
Eleanor To
Lab Email
Lab Phone
Mailing Address
Eye Care Centre
2550 Willow Street
Vancouver, BC V5Z 3N9

Research Information

Research in Dr. Matsubara’s lab focuses on the early triggers associated with vision loss in age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and in glaucoma, two age-related neurodegenerative diseases of the eye.

Dr. Matsubara and her team have shown that NLRP inflammasome activation is an early cellular event that precedes retinal degeneration in both AMD and glaucoma. The lab uses genetic, molecular and cellular techniques to study the pathogenesis of these eye diseases in in vitro and in vivo models. Her team’s research projects are highly collaborative and interdisciplinary in nature.

Working with basic and clinical colleagues in academia and industry, her team has developed 1) gene and small molecule treatment strategies for eye disease, 2) cutting edge improvements on ocular drug delivery and the 3) next-generation imaging of the retina and anterior segment in animal models and patients for preclinical and clinical assessment of disease and treatments.

Read more about the team and their research projects at



  • neurodegeneration
  • Retina
  • Eye
  • Biomarkers for Alzheimer's disease
  • Neuroinflammation
  • Glia Activation
  • Drug Discovery
  • Gene Treatment