Dr. Petroll received his BS degree in Biomedical Engineering from Duke University in 1984, and his PhD in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Virginia in 1989. After two years at Georgetown University in the lab of Drs. James Jester and Dwight Cavanagh, he joined the faculty at UT Southwestern in 1991. He was promoted to professor in 2005, and became Chair of the Graduate Program in Biomedical Engineering in 2012.

Dr. Petroll’s laboratory applies engineering approaches and design principles to the investigation of fundamental clinical and biological problems in ophthalmology, while providing training to graduate students, medical students and post-docs. The main focus of Dr. Petroll’s research is cell mechanics and tissue engineering, in which multidimensional time-lapse imaging is used to investigate how the mechanical behavior of corneal fibroblasts is regulated by both biochemical and biophysical stimuli. He also has a longstanding interest in the development and application of in vivo confocal microscopy, which allows quantitative 3-D imaging of the cornea and has been used in numerous research and clinical studies on corneal wound healing, toxicity, development and infection.


Duke University (1984), Biomedical Engineering
Graduate School
University of Virginia - Sfs (1989), Biomedical Engineering

Research Interest

  • Cell Mechanics
  • Cellular Imaging
  • Corneal Cell Biology
  • Tissue Engineering
  • Wound Healing


Featured Publications LegendFeatured Publications

Infectious keratitis after corneal crosslinking: a systematic review.
Murchison CE, Petroll WM, Robertson DM, J Cataract Refract Surg 2021 Feb
Fibulin-3 knockout mice demonstrate corneal dysfunction but maintain normal retinal integrity.
Daniel S, Renwick M, Chau VQ, Datta S, Maddineni P, Zode G, Wade EM, Robertson SP, Petroll WM, Hulleman JD, Journal of molecular medicine (Berlin, Germany) 2020 Sep
ECM Stiffness Controls the Activation and Contractility of Corneal Keratocytes in Response to TGF-?1.
Maruri DP, Miron-Mendoza M, Kivanany PB, Hack JM, Schmidtke DW, Petroll WM, Varner VD, Biophys J 2020 Sep

Honors & Awards

  • Fellow, Gold Level
    Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (2020)
  • Fellow, American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering
  • Fellow, Silver Level
    Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (2009)
  • Senior Scientific Investigator Award
    Research to Prevent Blindness (2008)
  • Olga Keith Weiss Scholar Award
    Research to Prevent Blindness (1999)

Professional Associations/Affiliations

  • Chair, UTSW Graduate Program in Biomedical Engineering (2012)
  • Member, American Society for Cell Biology
  • Member, Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology
  • Member, Biomedical Engineering Society