Steven Andrew Barnes

Professor-in-Residence, Ophthalmology, University of California Los Angeles

Professor-in-Residence, Neurobiology, University of California Los Angeles

Research Interests

The neuronal circuits of the retina are the part of the eye that my laboratory studies. We are investigating how and why photoreceptors, horizontal cells, bipolar cells, amacrine cells and ganglion cells shape and tune their electrical signals using membrane ion channels, and how they transfer these signals to one another using chemical neurotransmitter synapses. We work on how the retinal neurons detect spatial and color contrast in visual space and respond to temporal changes in light intensity, how newly generated neurons develop proper retinal properties when grown from stem cells in a dish, and how the different retinal metabolic environments affect the signaling and well-being of their neurons. Our current work is undertaken in collaboration with other laboratories at the Doheny Eye Institute and UCLA’s Stein Institute, along with the Departments of Ophthalmology and Neurobiology.


Dr. Steven Barnes a Professor in the Departments of Ophthalmology and Neurobiology at UCLA, based at the Doheny Eye Institute. His retinal neurobiology lab studies the function of cells and synapses in the retina, integrating this knowledge with the emerging impact that retinal diseases, such as glaucoma and macular degeneration, have on retinal cell activity and vision due to disrupted metabolic function. Prior to joining UCLA and the Doheny Eye Institute in 2018, Dr. Barnes had been a Professor of Physiology & Biophysics at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, Canada for 20 years. Before that, he was Assistant and then Associate Professor at the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada. Born in Vancouver, British Columbia, he received his Ph.D. in Neurobiology from UC Berkeley under Frank Werblin and did postdoctoral training with Bertil Hille at the University of Washington in Seattle.