Dr Ehsan Vaghefi

BSc, MSc, PhD


Dr Ehsan Vaghefi holds a joint appointment as a research fellow (Molecular Vision Lab and Auckland Bioengineering Institute) and lecturer in Physiological Optics (Department of Optometry and Vision Sciences). His appointment is a strategic initiative to develop a joint research-led teaching program in Physiological Optics. It also provides him access to a talented pool of potential graduate students with a mix of optics and modelling backgrounds, to perform both the computational and experimental portions of his research.

Dr Vaghefi received his Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering from the Polytechnic University of Tehran in 2005 for his bachelor project based on x-ray based biomedical imaging systems. He continued his education at the University of New South Wales where he obtained his Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences in 2006. The focus of his masters project was computer modelling of the heart's electrical activity. He then joined the Auckland Bioengineering Institute to model and image the microcirculation of the ocular lens for his doctoral thesis.

Dr Vaghefi has been developing magnetic resonance imaging techniques to non-invasively monitor the fluid fluxes inside the ocular lens. His achievements have been published in highly respected international biomedical journals.

Research | Current

Ehsan is a member of the ABI Special Sense Organs research project.

Currently he is continuing his research in the fields of

  • Clinically applied physiological optics
  • Cataracts research
  • Ocular biomedical imaging
  • Ocular computational modelling

He has the following funded postgraduate projects available:

Although age-related changes to the optical properties of the ocular lens are the leading causes of refractive error (presbyopia) and blindness (cataract), we know little about how the optical properties of the lens are established and maintained at the molecular and cellular levels. Like any glass lens, our biological lens suffers from inherent refractive error, but being a living tissue it compensates for these errors by overexpressing crystallin proteins to create a gradient of refractive index (GRIN). It is our hypothesis that differences in crystallin subtype expression and processing combined with lens structure and function generate and maintain the GRIN.

We have recently shown that inhibition of lens transport increases lens water content and decreases the GRIN, suggesting the GRIN is actively maintained and that changes in lens physiology will affect overall vision quality. In this application will investigate how lens structure and function interact to establish and maintain the GRIN, and how alterations in these mechanisms affect our quality of vision. This research involves stressing the lens physiology with known external stimuli and then measure its GRIN profile, using an existing laser ray-tracing system. These optical measurements are then used in our optical modelling software (ZEMAX) to create accurate models of the scanned lenses and also to assess their optical efficacy. This project requires basic understanding of ocular physiology, optics and computer modelling.

Areas of expertise

  • Physiological Optics
  • Non-invasive ocular imaging
  • Computational modelling of the eye tissue

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Wu, H.-T. D., Howse, L. A., & Vaghefi, E. (2017). Effect of Age-Related Human Lens Sutures Growth on Its Fluid Dynamics. Investigative ophthalmology & visual science, 58 (14), 6351-6357. 10.1167/iovs.17-22099
  • Qiu, C., Maceo Heilman, B., Kaipio, J., Donaldson, P., & Vaghefi, E. (2017). Fully automated laser ray tracing system to measure changes in the crystalline lens GRIN profile. Biomedical Optics Express, 8 (11), 4947-4964. 10.1364/BOE.8.004947
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Jari Kaipio, Paul Donaldson
  • Khanal, S., Turnbull, P., Vaghefi, E., & Phillips, J. (15/9/2017). Intra- and inter-sessional reproducibility of blood perfusion MRI measures in the human choroid. Poster presented at International Myopia Conference: the 16th International Myopia Conference, Aston University, Birmingham. Related URL.
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Safal Khanal, Phil Turnbull, John Phillips
  • Lim, J. C., Umapathy, A., Grey, A. C., Vaghefi, E., & Donaldson, P. J. (2017). Novel roles for the lens in preserving overall ocular health. Experimental eye research, 156, 117-123. 10.1016/j.exer.2016.05.027
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Gus Grey, Julie Lim, Paul Donaldson
  • Braakhuis, A., Raman, R., & Vaghefi, E. (2017). The association between dietary intake of antioxidants and ocular disease. Diseases, 5 (1).10.3390/diseases5010003
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/33775
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Andrea Braakhuis
  • Raman, R., Vaghefi, E., & Braakhuis, A. J. (2017). Food components and ocular pathophysiology: a critical appraisal of the role of oxidative mechanisms. Asia Pacific journal of clinical nutrition, 26 (4), 572-585. 10.6133/apjcn.082016.01
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/35120
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Andrea Braakhuis
  • Qiu, C. P., Donaldson, P. I., & Vaghefi, E. (2016). Monitoring the optical changes of the lens in real time under physiological perturbations. Paper presented at Annual Meeting of the Association-for-Research-in-Vision-and-Ophthalmology (ARVO), Seattle, WA. 1 May - 5 May 2016. INVESTIGATIVE OPHTHALMOLOGY & VISUAL SCIENCE. (pp. 2).
  • Wu, H. T. D., Donaldson, P. J., & Vaghefi, E. (2016). Modelling of lens fluid dynamics with additions of different geometrical structures. Paper presented at Annual Meeting of the Association-for-Research-in-Vision-and-Ophthalmology (ARVO), Seattle, WA. 1 May - 5 May 2016. INVESTIGATIVE OPHTHALMOLOGY & VISUAL SCIENCE. (pp. 2).
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Paul Donaldson


Contact details

Primary location

M&HS BUILDING 503 - Bldg 503
Level 3, Room 353
New Zealand

Social links

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