Stephen H Tsang, MD

Our Providers

Academic Appointments

  • Laszlo T. Bito Professor of Ophthalmology, and Pathology and Cell Biology

Current Administrative Positions

  • Course co-director, BMENE6510 Stem Cells, Genome Engineering and Regenerative Medicine
Stephen H Tsang, MD

Stephen H. Tsang, M.D, Ph.D. is an acclaimed clinical geneticist in the care of individuals with retinal degenerations, and is known worldwide for his pivotal research in reprogramming the metabolome as a therapeutic avenue. His team successfully treated preclinical models of Pde6a, Pde6b, Mfrp, Rho, Cngb1 and autosomal recessive bestrophin retinopathies.

His contributions were recognized by the 2005 Bernard Becker-Association of University Professors in Ophthalmology-Research to Prevent Blindness Award. He is an elected member of several honorary societies including the American Society for Clinical Investigation, Alcon Research Institute and American Ophthalmological Society. He is consistently named to various NIH study sections (DPVS standing member 2014-8) and serves on the Scientific Advisory Panel of Research to Prevent Blindness. Dr. Tsang received 2008 resident teaching award and was the Columbia ophthalmology basic science course director (2006-2018).

Dr. Tsang has been a pioneer in genome surgery in stem cells. Most recently, he has been invited to lecture at CRISPR genome surgery workshop during the annual Association for Research in Vision & Ophthalmology (ARVO) 2015, 16, 18, 19 & 20 Annual Meetings; and as a Moderator for Gene Editing/Rewriting the Genome: Moving from Association to Biology and Therapeutics session during the 65th American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) Annual Meeting, and a lecturer at 2015 & 2016 CRISPR Revolution conference and 2020 "Progress toward Meaningful Disease Modification in Proteinopathies and Neurodegenerative Disorders" at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. He delivered a keynote address for a Gordon Research Conference on Feb 16th, 2020. He serves as a consultant for Cellular Tissue and Gene Therapies Advisory Committee (CTGTAC) at the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER), FDA {2020-4 and 2011-9}.

In his New York State supported stem cell program (N09G-302), Dr Tsang is examining embryonic stem (ES) cells to model and replace diseased human retinal cells. He is one of a handful of clinicians who can direct the full spectrum of bench-to-bedside research. PI’s research on cGMP-phosphodiesterase (PDE6) is a case in point. PDE6 defects lead to blindness in 72,000 people worldwide. PI generated the world’s first gene-targeted model of retinitis pigmentosa (a PDE6 mutant), and then used these mice to dissect the underlying pathophysiology. These studies led to novel and fundamental discoveries on PDE6 regulation of G-protein-coupled-receptor signaling and, eventually, preclinical testing in the same mice; of the different therapies tested, viral-gene therapy is slated for clinical trials. Many of his publications are in widely-read general interest journals such as Science, NEJM, Lancet, Cell Stem Cell, Nature Genetics, and Journal of Clinical Investigation, which attests to the broad impact that his work has had.

Dr. Tsang graduated from Johns Hopkins University, where he began his medical genetics training under the tutelage of Professor Victor A. McKusick. He received his M.D.-Ph.D. degrees from the NIH-National Institute of General Medical Sciences Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) at Columbia University. Dr. Tsang then completed his residency at Jules Stein Eye Institute/UCLA, followed by studies with Professors Alan C. Bird and Graham E. Holder on improving the care of individuals with macular degenerations.

Board Certifications

  • Ophthalmology

Areas of Expertise

  • Adult Genetics
  • Applied Eye Genetics
  • Clinical Genetics
  • Clinical Molecular Genetics
  • Diabetic Retinopathy
  • Electrophysiology
  • Eye Genetics
  • Genetic Disorder
  • Genetic Disorders
  • Genetic Testing
  • Hereditary Retinal Degeneration
  • Macular Degeneration
  • Marfan's Syndrome
  • Molecular Biology
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pediatric Genetics
  • Precision Medicine
  • Retina Degeneration
  • Retina Disorder
  • Retinal Bleeding
  • Retinal Disease
  • Retinal Disorders
  • Retinal Vascular Disorders
  • Retinitis pigmentosa
  • Retinopathy
  • Skin Pigmentation Disorder
  • Stem Cell Transplantation
  • Vitreoretinal Disorder

Education and Training

  • Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons
  • Internship: New York Hospital Queens
  • Residency: UCLA - Jules Stein Eye Institute
  • Fellowship: Moorfields Eye Hospital, London


  • CUIMC/Edward S. Harkness Eye Institute

    635 West 165th Street
    New York, NY 10032
    For new and current patient appointments, call:
    (212) 305-9535
    (212) 342-5293
  • CUIMC/Edward S. Harkness Eye Institute Research Annex

    160 Fort Washington Ave
    5th Floor, Room 509B
    New York, NY 10032
    (212) 342-1189
    (212) 305-4987

Insurance Programs

Please contact the provider's office directly to verify that your particular insurance is accepted.

  • AETNA [Aetna Signature Administrators, EPO, HMO, Medicare Managed Care, NYP Employee Plan, NY Signature, POS, PPO, Student Health]
  • CIGNA [EPO, Great West (National), HMO, POS, PPO]
  • Emblem/GHI [Medicare Managed Care, PPO]
  • Emblem/HIP [ConnectiCare, EPO, Essential Plan, HMO, Medicaid Managed Care, Medicare Managed Care, POS, PPO, Select Care (Exchange), Vytra]
  • Empire Blue Cross/Blue Shield [EPO, HMO, PPO]
  • Local 1199 [Local 1199]
  • MagnaCare (National) [MagnaCare]
  • Medicare [Railroad, Traditional Medicare]
  • Multiplan [Multiplan]
  • Oxford Health Plans [Freedom, Liberty]
  • Quality Health Management [Quality Health Management]
  • RiverSpring [Special Needs]
  • UnitedHealthcare [Columbia University Employee Plan, Compass (Exchange), Empire Plan, HMO, Medicare Managed Care, POS, PPO]

This provider accepts new patients

Appointment Phone Number: (212) 305-9535

Honors and Awards

  • Named Lectureships
  • 2006 Dr. Isaac Bekhor Lecturer, Doheny Eye Institute at University of Southern California (9/29)
  • 2013 Dr. Paul Stringer Memorial Lectureship, McMaster University
  • 2013 Dr. Bradley Straastma Lecturer, Resident Graduation, UCLA
  • 2015 Dr. Joginder Nath Lecturer, West Virginia U. School of Medicine
  • 2016 Lecturer, World Science Festival, CRISPR Technologies
  • 1988 – 1989 Alpha Epsilon Delta, National Premedical Honor Society, Maryland Alpha (Historian)
  • 1988 – 1989 Dean’s List, The Johns Hopkins University
  • 1989 Graduate with Departmental Honor
  • 1989 Recipient of Student Activities Award, The Johns Hopkins University
  • 1989 – 1997 NIH-National Institute of General Medical Sciences Medical Scientist Training Program: MSTP fellowship PHS Grant #T32GM073667-14
  • 1995 ARVO/National Eye Institute Travel Fellowship Grant for the 1995 ARVO meeting
  • 1996 Dean’s Award for Excellence in Research, Graduate Sch of Arts & Sciences, Columbia U. Dr. Alfred Steiner Award for Best Medical Student Research, Columbia U.
  • 1997 Best Overall Presentation at Eastern Student Research Forum sponsored by American Medical Association and the University of Miami
  • 1997 Travel Grant, European Students’ Conference at the Charité in Berlin
  • 1998 Edith McKane Award in Ophthalmology, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia U.
  • 1998 John Lattimer Award in Urology, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia U.
  • 2000 Jules Stein Eye Institute Research Award
  • 2000 RPB-Association of University Professors in Ophthalmology (AUPO) Resident Award
  • 2001 – present Fight for Sight/Grant-In-Aid Review Panel Member
  • 2003 Burroughs-Wellcome Fund Career Award in Biomedical Sciences
  • 2003 RPB Association of University Professors in Ophthalmology Resident Award
  • 2003 Nesburn Resident Award
  • 2004 Dennis W. Jahnigen Award, American Geriatrics Society
  • 2005 Becker-AUPO-RPB Award
  • 2006 ARVO/Alcon Early Career Clinician Scientist Award
  • 2007 Charles E. Culpeper Award
  • 2008 Teacher Recognition Award, Columbia U.
  • 2008 – 2009 Listed as one of “America’s Top Ophthalmologists” by Consumers’ Research Council of America
  • 2009 Patients' Choice Award for 2008
  • 2009 Elected to Macular Society
  • 2010 Keynote Speaker, GTCbio 2nd Annual Ocular Disease & Drug Discovery conferen. May 28, 2010
  • 2012 Invited Lecturer, University of Geneva
  • 2013, 14 Elected by his peers for inclusion in Best Doctors in America®
  • 2013 ARVO Foundation Carl Camras Award
  • 2014 Foundation Fighting Blindness Visionary Award Recipient and “Banking on a Cure” Honoree
  • 2015 ARVO 2015 Annual Meeting Gene Editing Symposium Invited Lecturer in Denver, Colorado
  • 2015 Elected to American Ophthalmological Society
  • 2015 Invited Lecturer,Deutsche Ophthalmologische Gesellschaft DOG
  • 2015 Plenary lecture, Rensselaer Center for Stem Cell Research (RCSCR) - Symposium
  • 2015 Chair, Gene Editing/Rewriting the Genome Symposium American Society of Human Genetics Annual Meeting
  • 2016 Elected to American Society for Clinical Investigation
  • 2018 Young Investigator Award, Macular Society