Dr. Claudio Punzo is an Associate Professor at the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS), in Worcester, MA.
Dr. Punzo graduated from the University of Basel with a B.S. and Ph.D. in Cell Biology working on Drosophila eye development. After his Ph.D. Dr. Punzo joined the laboratory of professor Constance Cepko for a post-doctoral training at Harvard Medical School. In Dr. Cepko’s laboratory he initiated a new research direction based on his interest in retinal degeneration. During his post-doctoral training Dr. Punzo published a seminal finding in which he proposed a new model for why cone photoreceptors die in inherited retinal degenerative disease, such as retinitis pigmentosa. In 2010, Dr. Punzo joined the University of Massachusetts Medical School as assistant professor. His laboratory continues to focus on his postdoctoral work of prolonging cone photoreceptor survival in retinitis pigmentosa. In particular, the lab focuses on understanding how a metabolic imbalance in photoreceptors affects photoreceptor survival during disease and how this deficit can be overcome in order to prolong cone photoreceptor survival. Recently, Dr. Punzo has also started to work on age-related macular degeneration showing that altered photoreceptor metabolism underlies the development of age-related macular degeneration in humans.