M. Elizabeth Fini, Ph.D.


Dr. Fini is a member of the Special & Scientific Staff at Tufts Medical Center and directs the Scientific Staff Career Development Program. She also serves as Professor of Ophthalmology at Tufts University School of Medicine and she teaches in the Tufts School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences.


Dr. Fini is a biomedical scientist, best known for her innovative work on diseases of the eye, focusing on a family of enzymes called the Matrix Metalloproteinases. In 2002, she shared the Lewis Rudin Glaucoma Prize from the New York Academy of Medicine for discovery of a unifying mechanism of glaucoma pathogenesis. During the course of her academic career, she held increasingly senior leadership positions in academic medicine. She has made a significant impact as a mentor to young scientists, many of whom have gone on to leadership positions at institutions across the USA, and around the world. She holds an honorary doctorate from Stonehill College, North Easton, MA.

Fini began her faculty career at Harvard Medical School in 1988, based first at the Schepens Eye Research Institute, and later at the Massachusetts General Hospital. She moved to Tufts Medical Center and Tufts University School of Medicine in 1995 with award of the Jules & Doris Stein Research to Prevent Blindness Professorship. While there, she founded the Tufts Center for Vision Research, and competed successfully for its first NIH center grant.

In 2002, Fini was recruited to the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, where she led a major expansion of research programs as scientific director of the Evelyn F. & William L. McKnight Vision Research Center and holder of the Walter G. Ross chair at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute. In 2008, Fini was recruited to the Keck School of Medicine of USC in Los Angeles, where she served as research dean during a transformative period in which the university acquired its hospital and substantially expanded its faculty and research programs. She also headed the Institute for Genetic Medicine until its closing in 2017.

In May 2018, Dr. Fini re-joined New England Eye Center and Tufts Medical Center. She serves as Professor of Ophthalmology at Tufts University School of Medicine and teaches in the basic biomedical science graduate

Fini has authored a large number of peer-reviewed papers in top scientific journals and has edited a book entitled Vertebrate Eye Development. She has served on numerous federal, state, and foundation committees and boards. This includes a diverse array of National Institutes of Health and Department of Defense advisory panels, the governing board of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (a state-funded entity), the scientific committee for the Massry Prize (considered a precursor to the Nobel Prize), the scientific committee for the A.P. Giannini Foundation (funds fellowships for trainees in the biomedical science), and the Board of Trustees, Stonehill College, North Easton, MA (private college).

During her academic consulting time, Dr. Fini serves as the Chief Scientific Officer for a start-up biotechnology company (Proteris Biotech) that she co-founded. She is listed as an inventor on two issued US patents.

A native of greater Boston, Fini (née O’Connor) currently resides with her husband in Mansfield, MA. She recently co-authored a novel with Australian writer Derek Emerson-Elliot entitled The Immortality Project.

Research Interests

The Fini lab goal is development of innovative therapeutics for the treatment of eye disease. This objective is approached by investigation of disease mechanisms in order to ferret out new drug targets and drugs. The lab is funded by the National Institutes of Health, various research foundations, the Massachusetts Lions Eye Research Fund, and Research to Prevent Blindness, Inc. Peer-reviewed scientific publications: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/?term=fini+me&sort=date


Stonehill College, North Easton, MA
B.S. in Biology

Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA
M.S. in Biology

Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH
Ph.D. in Biology (Molecular Genetics)


Dartmouth Medical School, Hanover, NH
Molecular Biology/Biochemistry

Massachusetts Institute for Technology, Cambridge, MA
Molecular Cell Biology

Academic Appointment

Professor of Ophthalmology, Tufts University School of Medicine

Faculty Member, Tufts School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences

  • Program in Pharmacology & Drug Development
  • Program in Genetics, Molecular Biology & Cellular Biology

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