Dr.Sabesan was born and raised in New Delhi, India. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in Engineering Physics from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi. He earned his Ph.D. at the Institute of Optics, University of Rochester developing non-invasive optical tools for the study and treatment of corneal pathologies. Following his doctorate, he did a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California, Berkeley studying the retinal basis of color perception using advanced high-resolution imaging.

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Undergraduate Education: (degree/major/School/Location/Date):
Bachelors of Technology, Engineering Physics, Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, India, 2005
Graduate Education:
PhD, Optics, Institute of Optics, University of Rochester, 2012
Post-Doctoral Education:
Postdoctoral Fellow, University of California, Berkeley, 2012-2014
Assistant Research Staff, University of California, Berkeley, 2014-2015

Dr. Sabesan’s research group studies how the human retina enables the fundamental, yet, intricate aspects of our daily vision - color, motion and so on; and how such visual capacities are disrupted in the face of retinal diseases.

To achieve this, they develop and use novel imaging tools which enable them to see, stimulate, manipulate and record the functional activity of individual retinal cells in living humans.

Ultimately, they aim to use these high-resolution functional assays as biomarkers for early disease diagnosis and end-points for the treatment of blinding retinal disorders.

2015                       Kavli fellow nominated by the National Academy of Sciences

2014                       Burroughs Wellcome Fund Careers at the Scientific Interface award

2014                       Retina Research Foundation travel award

2013                       Fight for Sight postdoctoral award

2012                       Outstanding dissertation award, Engineering and Applied sciences, University of Rochester

2012                       Founders’ award for best invited presentation, Wavefront Congress

2011                       Edmund Optics higher education grant finalist

2007                       Photonics Technology Access Program grant for research devices sponsored by the National Science Foundation and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency

Sabesan R., Hofer H., Roorda A., Characterizing the Human Cone Photoreceptor Mosaic via Dynamic Photopigment Densitometry, PLoS One. 2015; 10(12): e0144891.

Sincich L., Sabesan R., Tuten W., Roorda A., Harmening W. Functional Imaging of Cone Photoreceptors, in Human Color Vision, New York: Springer. Edited by Rigmor Baraas, Justin Marshall, Jan Kremers. Invited book chapter in press, 2015


Sheehy C., Tiruveedhula P., Sabesan R., Roorda A. Active Eye-Tracking for an Adaptive Optics Scanning Laser Ophthalmoscope. Biomed. Opt. Express 6, 2412-2423 (2015)


Hindman H., Huxlin K., Pantanelli S., Callan C, Sabesan R., Ching S., Miller B., Martin T., Yoon G., Post DSAEK Optical Changes: A Comprehensive Prospective Analysis on the Role of Ocular Wavefront Aberrations, Haze, and Corneal Thickness. Cornea 2013; 32(12):1567-77.


Zheleznyak L., Sabesan R., Yoon G. Modifying monovision to improve through-focus visual per- formance in presbyopia. Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science 2013; 54(5):3157-65.


Sabesan R., Johns L., Tomashevskaya O., Jacobs D., Rosenthal P., Yoon G. Wavefront-guided cus- tomized scleral lens prosthetic device to correct higher order aberrations in keratoconus. Optometry& Vision Science 2013; 90(4):314:23


Sabesan R., Zheleznyak L., Yoon G. Binocular visual performance and summation after correcting higher order aberrations. Biomedical Optics Express 2012; 12(3):3176-89


Pantanelli S., Sabesan R., Cai X., Yoon G., Hindman H. Visual Performance With Wave Aberration Correction After Penetrating, Deep Anterior Lamellar, or Endothelial Keratoplasty Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science 2010; 53(8):4797-804.


Sabesan R., Yoon G. Neural compensation for long-term asymmetric optical blur to improve visual performance in keratoconic eyes. Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science 2010; 51:3835-9.


Pantanelli S., Sabesan R., Yoon G. Characterization and correction of abnormal optics in the human eye. Biomedical Optics & Medical Imaging SPIE newsroom. (2009)


Sabesan R., Yoon G. Visual performance after correcting higher order aberrations in keratoconic eyes. Journal of Vision 2009; 9:1-10.


Chen M, Sabesan R., Ahmad K, Yoon G. Correcting anterior corneal aberration and variability of lens movements in keratoconic eyes with back-surface customized soft contact lenses. Optics Letters 2007;32, 3203-3205.


Sabesan R., Ahmad K., Yoon G. Correcting highly aberrated eyes using large-stroke adaptive optics. Journal of Refractive Surgery 2007;23, 947-952.


Sabesan R., Carvalho L., Jeong T. M., Cox I. G., Williams D. R., Yoon G. Vision Improvement by correcting higher-order aberrations with customized soft contact lenses in keratoconic eyes. Optics Letters 2007, 32, 1000-1002


University of Washington
Vision Science Center
South Lake Union
Mailing Address:
University of Washington
750 Republican St.
Bldg. E, Room 213
Box 358058
Seattle, WA 98109-8058

Phone:  206-221-4925
Fax:  206-685-9315   
Sabesan Lab


Vision Research Scientist