Principal Investigator

Neurobiology of the Eye

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Frank Schaeffel

First nameFrank
Present position and titleProfessor Dr. rer. nat.
Head of the Section of Neurobiology of the Eye

Business address

Section of Neurobiology of the Eye
Institute for Ophthalmic Research
Centre for Ophthalmology,
University of Tübingen
Elfriede-Aulhorn-Strasse 7
D-72076 Tübingen,

Phone: +49 (0)7071 29-80739
Fax: +49 (0)7071 29-5196
E-mail: frank.schaeffel[at]

Academic Education

Year Degree University Field of study
1985 Ph.D.(Dr. rer. nat.) University of Freiburg Biophysics
1980 Staatsexamen University of Freiburg Biology and Physics
1974-1980 Studies biology and physics University of Freiburg Biology

Professional Experience

Period Institution Position Discipline
2000- University of Tübingen C3 Professor Neurobiology of the Eye
1994-1999 University of Tübingen Professorship of Schilling Foundation
1991-1994 University of Tübingen Head of Lab
1989-1990 University of Tübingen Research Associate Ophthalmic Research
1988-1989 Max-Planck-Laboratory
Eye Hospital Munich, Germany
Postdoc Ophthalmic Research
1985-1988 Cornell University, USA DFG funded young researcher Neurobiology

Awards, Honors & Functions:

2012European Vision Award 2012
2010Chair of the 13th International Myopia Conference in Tübingen 2010
(together with Marita Feldkaemper)
2009ARVO Silver Fellow
2001Offer of a Professorship at the University Eye Clinic of Würzburg, Germany (C3)
1999Offer of a Professorship at the FH Aalen, Germany
1995Offer of a Professorship at the New England College of Optometry Boston, USA
1994-1999Professorship of the Schilling-Foundation (C3)
1996Max-Planck Award for international collaboration (250.000 DM)
1992German optical society travel grant (10.000,- DM)
1991“Attempto Preis”, Tübingen (5.000,- DM)

Editorship for Scientific Journals & Reviewer Activities

Since 1988 Reviewer for scientific journals: Nature Medicine, Science, Journal of Physiology, Vision Research, European Journal of Neuroscience, Journal of Neuroscience, Journal of the Optical Society of America, Visual Neuroscience, Experimental Eye Research, Ophthalmological and Physiological Optics, Graefe´s Archive for Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology, Clinical Vision Science, Canadian Journal of Zoology, Investigative Opthalmology and Visual Science, Journal of Comparative Physiology, Ophthalmic Research, Optometry and Visual Science, Neurochemistry International, Strabismus, Journal of cataract and refractive surgery and others

2014-2018Senior Editor at Vision Research
1998-2010Editorial Board of Vision Research, since 2006 also Editor at Ophthalmic & Visual Optics

Supervision of PhD and MD Students

From 1994 until now, 20 PhD students (Marieluise Bartmann, Hartmut Schwahn, Sigrid Diether, Sibylle Ohngemach, Matthias Ott, Anne Seidemann, Michaela Bitzer, Daniel Hartmann, Perikles Simon, Christine Brand, Beatrix Kovacs, Christine Schmucker, Ruth Schippert, Arne Ohlendorf, Alexandra Penha, Tudor Tepelus, Weizhong Lan, Yun Chen, Klaus Graef, Felix Maier) have completed under my supervision and 4 are currently supervised (Barbara Świątczak, Andrea Carillo Alleman, Sandra Gisbert, Daria Ivanchenko).

In addition, 3 MD student have finished (Florian Gekeler, Hakan Kaymak, Silke Thomas). About 15 students have completed their Diploma thesis in Biology.

Publications, patents and grants

More than 150 original research articles were published from 1985 until now (mostly on myopia), four patents, and more 5 Million Euros of extramural grants were attracted (German Research Council and German Ministery of Science and Technology (BMBF)).

In addition, three multicenter grants from the European Community, a Madam Curie Research Training Network (RTN) on Myopia (see archived website with a volume of 3.2 Million Euros, an Initial Training Network (ITN) on optical and adaptational limits of vision (see archived website with a volume of 2.8 Million Euros and a European Training Network (ETN) on the fundamental understanding of Myopia with a volume of 3.5 Million Euro were attracted.

Invited presentations

Over 200 invited national and international presentations outside Tübingen from 1990-2016

Citations and h-index

Citations and h-index of Frank Schaeffel on Google Scholars

Recent Publications (2007-2012)

  1. Penha AM, Burkhardt E, Schaeffel F, Feldkaemper MP. Ultrasonography and optical low-coherence interferometry compared in the chicken eye. Optom Vis Sci. 2012 Jun;89(6):916-21.
  2. Jaeken B, Tabernero J, Schaeffel F, Artal P. Comparison of two scanning instruments to measure peripheral refraction in the human eye. J Opt Soc Am A Opt Image Sci Vis. 2012 Mar 1;29(3):258-64.
  3. Tabernero J, Ohlendorf A, Fischer MD, Bruckmann AR, Schiefer U, Schaeffel F. Peripheral refraction in pseudophakic eyes measured by infrared scanning photoretinoscopy. J Cataract Refract Surg. 2012 May;38(5):807-15.
  4. Graef K, Schaeffel F. Control of accommodation by longitudinal chromatic aberration and blue cones. J Vis. 2012 Jan 18;12-21(1)
  5. Tepelus TC, Vazquez D, Seidemann A, Uttenweiler D, Schaeffel F. Effects of lenses with different power profiles on eye shape in chickens. Vision Res. 2011 Dec 13;54C:12-19
  6. Schaeffel F. Myopia update 2011. Klin Monbl Augenheilkd. 2011 Sep;228(9):754-6 (in German)
  7. Bueno JM, Giakoumaki A, Gualda EJ, Schaeffel F, Artal P. Analysis of the chicken retina with an adaptive optics multiphoton microscope. Biomed Opt Express. 2011 Jun 1;2(6):1637-48
  8. Jiang L, Long K, Schaeffel F, Zhang S, Zhou X, Lu F, Qu J. Disruption of emmetropization and high susceptibility to deprivation myopia in albino guinea pigs.Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2011 Aug 3;52(9):6124-32
  9. Penha AM, Schaeffel F, Feldkaemper M. Insulin, insulin-like growth factor-1, insulin receptor, and insulin-like growth factor-1 receptor expression in the chick eye and their regulation with imposed myopic or hyperopic defocus. Mol Vis. 2011;17:1436-48
  10. Ohlendorf A, Tabernero J, Schaeffel F. Visual acuity with simulated and real astigmatic defocus. Optom Vis Sci. 2011 May;88(5):562-9
  11. Chen YP, Hocking PM, Wang L, Povazay B, Prashar A, To CH, Erichsen JT, Feldkaemper M, Hofer B, Drexler W, Schaeffel F, Guggenheim JA. Selective breeding for susceptibility to myopia reveals a gene-environment interaction. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2011 Jun 8;52(7):4003-11
  12. Mutti DO, Schaeffel F, Feldkaemper M. 13th International Conference on Myopia.Optom Vis Sci. 2011 Mar;88(3):362-4
  13. Ohlendorf A, Tabernero J, Schaeffel F. Neuronal adaptation to simulated and optically-induced astigmatic defocus. Vision Res. 2011 Mar 25;51(6):529-34
  14. Tabernero J, Ohlendorf A, Fischer MD, Bruckmann AR, Schiefer U, Schaeffel F. Peripheral refraction profiles in subjects with low foveal refractive errors. Optom Vis Sci. 2011 Mar;88(3):E388-9
  15. Ashby RS, Schaeffel F. The effect of bright light on lens compensation in chicks. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2010 Oct;51(10):5247-53
  16. Mathis U, Schaeffel F. Transforming growth factor-beta in the chicken fundal layers: an immunohistochemical study. Exp Eye Res. 2010 Jun;90(6):780-790
  17. Schippert R, Schaeffel F, Feldkaemper MP. Microarray analysis of retinal gene expression in Egr-1 knockout mice. Mol Vis. 2009 Dec 10;15:2720-2739
  18. Diedrich E, Schaeffel F. Spatial resolution, contrast sensitivity, and sensitivity to defocus of chicken retinal ganglion cells in vitro. Vis Neurosci. 2009 Nov;26(5-6):467-476
  19. Tepelus TC, Schaeffel F. Individual set-point and gain of emmetropization in chickens. Vision Res. 2010 Jan;50(1):57-64
  20. Tabernero J, Schaeffel F. Fast scanning photoretinoscope for measuring peripheral refraction as a function of accommodation. J Opt Soc Am A Opt Image Sci Vis. 2009 Oct;26(10):2206-2210
  21. Chen YP, Prashar A, Hocking PM, Erichsen JT, To CH, Schaeffel F, Guggenheim JA. Sex, eye size, and the rate of myopic eye growth due to form deprivation in outbred white leghorn chickens. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2010 Feb;51(2):651-657
  22. Tabernero J, Vazquez D, Seidemann A, Uttenweiler D, Schaeffel F. Effects of myopic spectacle correction and radial refractive gradient spectacles on peripheral refraction. Vision Res. 2009 Aug;49(17):2176-2186
  23. Ashby R, Ohlendorf A, Schaeffel F. The effect of ambient illuminance on the development of deprivation myopia in chicks. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2009 Nov;50(11):5348-5354
  24. Tabernero J, Schaeffel F. More irregular eye shape in low myopia than in emmetropia. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2009 Sep;50(9):4516-4522
  25. Barathi VA, Beuerman RW, Schaeffel F. Effects of unilateral topical atropine on binocular pupil responses and eye growth in mice. Vision Res. 2009 Feb;49(3):383-387
  26. Jiang L, Schaeffel F, Zhou X, Zhang S, Jin X, Pan M, Ye L, Wu X, Huang Q, Lu F, Qu J. Spontaneous axial myopia and emmetropization in a strain of wild-type guinea pig (Cavia porcellus). Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2009 Mar;50(3):1013-1019.
  27. Ohlendorf A, Schaeffel F. Contrast adaptation induced by defocus - A possible error signal for emmetropization? Vision Res. 2009 Jan;49(2):249-256
  28. Feldkaemper MP, Neacsu I, Schaeffel F. Insulin acts as a powerful stimulator of axial myopia in chicks. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2009 Jan;50(1):13-23
  29. Schippert R, Schaeffel F, Feldkaemper MP.Microarray analysis of retinal gene expression in chicks during imposed myopic defocus. Mol Vis. 2008 Aug 31;14:1589-1599.
  30. Schaeffel F. Test systems for measuring ocular parameters and visual function in mice. Front Biosci. 2008 May 1;13:4904-4911.
  31. Schaeffel F. Binocular lens tilt and decentration measurements in healthy subjects with phakic eyes. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2008 May;49(5):2216-2222.
  32. Brand C, Schaeffel F, Feldkaemper MP. A microarray analysis of retinal transcripts that are controlled by image contrast in mice. Mol Vis. 2007 Jun 18;13:920-932.
  33. Schaeffel F, Mathis U, Brüggemann G. Noncycloplegic photorefractive screening in pre-school children with the "PowerRefractor" in a pediatric practice. Optom Vis Sci. 2007 Jul;84(7):630-639.
  34. Schippert R, Burkhardt E, Feldkaemper M, Schaeffel F. Relative axial myopia in Egr-1 (ZENK) knockout mice. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2007 Jan;48(1):11-7.
  35. Diether S, Schaeffel F, Lambrou GN, Fritsch C, Trendelenburg AU. Effects of intravitreally and intraperitoneally injected atropine on two types of experimental myopia in chicken. Exp Eye Res. 2007 Feb;84(2):266-74
  36. Mathis U, Schaeffel F.Glucagon-related peptides in the mouse retina and the effects of deprivation of form vision. Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol. 2007 Feb;245(2):267-75.