Diego Fernandez

Diego C. Fernandez

Assistant Professor-Affiliate

Medical Sciences Building

COM Ophthalmology Affiliate Prog CCHMC - 0527

Professional Summary

I am a neuroscience researcher studying sensory biology and circadian rhythms. Our lab is broadly interested in understanding how the body and brain encode environmental stimuli, such as daily changes in light and feeding patterns, to timely coordinate physiology and behavior.
I obtained my PhD from the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina. My work identified ischemic conditioning as a strategy to ameliorate the damage caused by ischemic retinal pathologies, such as diabetic retinopathy.
Following my interest in studying retina-related processes, I joined the laboratory of Dr. Samer Hattar at Johns Hopkins University with the support of the Pew Latin American Postdoctoral Fellows Award. My postdoctoral work revealed that parallel retina-brain circuits mediate the direct effects of light on learning and mood in mice. I then joined the National Institutes of Health (NIH)/National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) as a staff scientist, and later as an associate scientist, where I initiated a new line of research revealing a novel link between retinal and feeding circuits that control the integration of environmental time cues, thereby affecting metabolism and behavior.
Since joining Cincinnati Children’s in 2023, I have been developing novel lines of research aimed at investigating the mechanisms that guide the assembly and maturation of circuits linking sensory and circadian systems. The information obtained from this multidisciplinary approach is relevant for investigating the basis of disorders linked to deleterious environmental factors, such as light pollution, thus expanding opportunities to develop therapeutic strategies. Our lab embraces and promotes diversity, equity, and inclusion. We derive our strength from teamwork and believe that the most efficient way to achieve goals is through the collective search and discussion of ideas and approaches. For more information, please visit our lab website:


Peer Reviewed Publications

Weil T.; Daly K.M.; Castillo H.Y.; Thomsen M.B.; Wang H.; Mercau M.E.; Hattar S.; Tejeda H.; Fernandez D.C. (06-01-2022. ) Daily changes in light influence mood via inhibitory networks within the thalamic perihabenular nucl.Science Advances, , 8 (23 ) , More Information

Duy P.Q.; Komal R.; Richardson M.E.S.; Hahm K.S.; Fernandez D.C.; Hattar S. (12-01-2020. ) Light Has Diverse Spatiotemporal Molecular Changes in the Mouse Suprachiasmatic Nucleus.Journal of Biological Rhythms, , 35 (6 ) ,576-587 More Information

Fernandez D.C.; Komal R.; Langel J.; Ma J.; Duy P.Q.; Penzo M.A.; Zhao H.; Hattar S. (05-14-2020. ) Retinal innervation tunes circuits that drive nonphotic entrainment to food.Nature, , 581 (7807 ) ,194-198 More Information

Zhan J.; Komal R.; Keenan W.T.; Hattar S.; Fernandez D.C. (08-01-2019. ) Non-invasive strategies for chronic manipulation of dreadd-controlled neuronal activity.Journal of Visualized Experiments, , 2019 (150 ) , More Information

Rupp A.; Ren M.; Altimus C.; Fernandez D.; Richardson M.; Turek F.; Hattar S.; Schmidt T. (07-01-2019. ) Distinct ipRGC subpopulations mediate light’s acute and circadian effects on body temperature and sl.eLife, , 8 , More Information

Fernandez D.C.; Fogerson P.M.; Lazzerini Ospri L.; Thomsen M.B.; Layne R.M.; Severin D.; Zhan J.; Singer J.H.; Kirkwood A.; Zhao H.; Berson D.M.; Hattar S. (09-20-2018. ) Light Affects Mood and Learning through Distinct Retina-Brain Pathways.Cell, , 175 (1 ) ,71-84.e18 More Information

Keenan W.; Fernandez D.; Shumway L.; Zhao H.; Hattar S. (11-23-2017. ) Eye-drops for activation of DREADDs.Frontiers in Neural Circuits, , 11 , More Information

Chew K.S.; Renna J.M.; McNeill D.S.; Fernandez D.C.; Keenan W.T.; Thomsen M.B.; Ecker J.L.; Loevinsohn G.S.; Vandunk C.; Vicarel D.C.; Tufford A.; Weng S.; Gray P.A.; Cayouette M.; Herzog E.D.; Zhao H.; Berson D.M.; Hattar S. (06-15-2017. ) A subset of iprgcs regulates both maturation of the circadian clock and segregation of retinogenicul.eLife, , 6 , More Information

Chew K.; Fernandez D.; Hattar S.; Südhof T.; Martinelli D. (06-01-2017. ) Anatomical and Behavioral Investigation of C1ql3 in the Mouse Suprachiasmatic Nucleus.Journal of Biological Rhythms, , 32 (3 ) ,222-236 More Information

Somasundaram P.; Wyrick G.R.; Fernandez D.C.; Ghahari A.; Pinhal C.M.; Richardson M.S.; Rupp A.C.; Cui L.; Wu Z.; Brown R.L.; Badea T.C.; Hattar S.; Robinson P.R. (03-07-2017. ) C-terminal phosphorylation regulates the kinetics of a subset of melanopsin-mediated behaviors in mi.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, , 114 (10 ) ,2741-2746 More Information

Fernandez D.C.; Chang Y.T.; Hattar S.; Chen S.K. (05-24-2016. ) Architecture of retinal projections to the central circadian pacemaker.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, , 113 (21 ) ,6047-6052 More Information

Rosenstein R.; Fernandez D.; Chianelli M.; Del Sole M.; Sáenz D.; Sande P. (04-01-2015. ) Melatonin as an ocular anti-inflammatory .Indoleamines: Sources, Role in Biological Processes and Health Effects, , 147-164

Dorfman D.; Aranda M.; González Fleitas M.; Chianelli M.; Fernandez D.; Sande P.; Rosenstein R. (07-08-2014. ) Environmental enrichment protects the retina from early diabetic damage in adult rats.PLoS ONE, , 9 (7 ) , More Information

Rosenstein R.; Fernandez D. (01-01-2014. ) Induction of ischemic tolerance as a promising treatment against diabetic retinopathy.Neural Regeneration Research, , 9 (17 ) ,1581-1584 More Information

Sande P.H.; Dorfman D.; Fernandez D.C.; Chianelli M.; Domínguez Rubio A.P.; Franchi A.M.; Silberman D.M.; Rosenstein R.E.; Sáenz D.A. (01-01-2014. ) Treatment with melatonin after onset of experimental uveitis attenuates ocular inflammation.British Journal of Pharmacology, , 171 (24 ) ,5696-5707 More Information

Legates T.A.; Fernandez D.C.; Hattar S. (01-01-2014. ) Light as a central modulator of circadian rhythms, sleep and affect.Nature Reviews Neuroscience, , 15 (7 ) ,443-454 More Information

Fernandez D.; Sande P.; De Zavalía N.; Belforte N.; Dorfman D.; Casiraghi L.; Golombek D.; Rosenstein R. (05-01-2013. ) Effect of experimental diabetic retinopathy on the non-image-forming visual system.Chronobiology International, , 30 (4 ) ,583-597 More Information

Dorfman D.; Fernandez D.; Chianelli M.; Miranda M.; Aranda M.; Rosenstein R. (02-01-2013. ) Post-ischemic environmental enrichment protects the retina from ischemic damage in adult rats.Experimental Neurology, , 240 (1 ) ,146-156 More Information

Fernandez D.; Pasquini L.; Dorfman D.; Aldana Marcos H.; Rosenstein R. (12-20-2012. ) Ischemic Conditioning Protects from Axoglial Alterations of the Optic Pathway Induced by Experimenta.PLoS ONE, , 7 (12 ) , More Information

Rosenstein R.; Sande P.; Fernandez D.; Aba M.; Sarmiento M.; Sáenz D.; Sole M. (08-01-2012. ) Feline uveitis: Therapeutic effect of melatonin .Felines: Behavior, Classification and Diseases, , 127-153

Del Sole M.; Sande P.; Fernandez D.; Sarmiento M.; Aba M.; Rosenstein R. (01-01-2012. ) Therapeutic benefit of melatonin in experimental feline uveitis.Journal of Pineal Research, , 52 (1 ) ,29-37 More Information

Fernandez D.; Pasquini L.; Dorfman D.; Aldana Marcos H.; Rosenstein R. (01-01-2012. ) Early distal axonopathy of the visual pathway in experimental diabetes.American Journal of Pathology, , 180 (1 ) ,303-313 More Information

Rosenstein R.; Sande P.; Fernandez D.; Chianelli M.; Sáenz D. (08-25-2011. ) Melatonin as a treatment for uveitis .Melatonin in the Promotion of Health: Second Edition, , 187-204

Belforte N.; Sande P.; de Zavalía N.; Fernandez D.; Silberman D.; Chianelli M.; Rosenstein R. (08-24-2011. ) Ischemic tolerance protects the rat retina from glaucomatous damage.PLoS ONE, , 6 (8 ) , More Information

De Zavalía N.; Plano S.; Fernandez D.; Lanzani M.; Salido E.; Belforte N.; Sarmiento M.; Golombek D.; Rosenstein R. (06-01-2011. ) Effect of experimental glaucoma on the non-image forming visual system.Journal of Neurochemistry, , 117 (5 ) ,904-914 More Information

Fernandez D.; Sande P.; Chianelli M.; Marcos H.; Rosenstein R. (01-01-2011. ) Induction of ischemic tolerance protects the retina from diabetic retinopathy.American Journal of Pathology, , 178 (5 ) ,2264-2274 More Information

González L.; Díaz M.E.; Miquet J.G.; Sotelo A.I.; Fernández D.; Dominici F.P.; Bartke A.; Turyn D. (03-01-2010. ) GH modulates hepatic epidermal growth factor signaling in the mouse.Journal of Endocrinology, , 204 (3 ) ,299-309 More Information

De Zavalía N.; Fernandez D.; Sande P.; Keller Sarmiento M.; Golombek D.; Rosenstein R.; Silberman D. (02-01-2010. ) Circadian variations of prostaglandin E2 and F2 ? release in the golden hamster retina.Journal of Neurochemistry, , 112 (4 ) ,972-979 More Information

Fernandez D.; Bordone M.; Chianelli M.; Rosenstein R. (12-01-2009. ) Retinal neuroprotection against ischemia-reperfusion damage induced by postconditioning.Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science, , 50 (8 ) ,3922-3930 More Information

Fernandez D.; Chianelli M.; Rosenstein R. (10-01-2009. ) Involvement of glutamate in retinal protection against ischemia/reperfusion damage induced by post-c.Journal of Neurochemistry, , 111 (2 ) ,488-498 More Information

Del Sole M.J.; Sande P.H.; Felipe A.E.; Fernandez D.C.; Keller Sarmiento M.I.; Aba M.A.; Rosenstein R.E. (11-01-2008. ) Characterization of uveitis induced by use of a single intravitreal injection of bacterial lipopolys.American Journal of Veterinary Research, , 69 (11 ) ,1487-1495 More Information

Franco P.; Fernandez D.; Sande P.; Sarmiento M.; Chianelli M.; Sáenz D.; Rosenstein R. (10-01-2008. ) Effect of bacterial lipopolysaccharide on ischemic damage in the rat retina.Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science, , 49 (10 ) ,4604-4612 More Information

Moreno M.; de Zavalía N.; Sande P.; Jaliffa C.; Fernandez D.; Keller Sarmiento M.; Rosenstein R. (03-01-2008. ) Effect of ocular hypertension on retinal GABAergic activity.Neurochemistry International, , 52 (4-5 ) ,675-682 More Information

Sande P.; Fernandez D.; Marcos H.; Chianelli M.; Aisemberg J.; Silberman D.; Sáenz D.; Rosenstein R. (01-01-2008. ) Therapeutic effect of melatonin in experimental uveitis.American Journal of Pathology, , 173 (6 ) ,1702-1713 More Information

Contact Information

Research - https://scienceoflightcenter.org/diego-fernandez-lab/