Dr. Freya Mowat’s research focuses on outer retinal aging and disease.

Dr. Mowat is an Assistant Professor with joint appointments in the Department of Surgical Sciences in the School of Veterinary Medicine and the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences in the School of Medicine and Public Health at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

​She is a trainer in the Comparative Biomedical Sciences and Cellular and Molecular Pathology graduate programs, and a member of the McPherson Eye Research Institute.

The Mowat Lab studies mechanisms of retinal susceptibility to dysfunction and degeneration.

The laboratory’s broad research focus areas include:

  • The effect of aging on the retina, visual function, and visually mediated behavior in dogs.
  • The interaction between visual aging and aging of other senses and cognitive decline
  • Risk factors shared between humans and dogs that affect aging of the senses and brain using a “human-down” vs. a “dog-up” approach.
  • Multifactorial risk factors for retinal neurodegeneration including diet factors, genetic factors, and aging.




  • Evaluating potential risk factors and etiopathogenesis of Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration Syndrome (SARDS) in dogs.
  • Examining new cases of clinical retinal disease in companion or wild animals for possible genetic or environmental involvement.