Ophthalmologists cited by vision research group

By Russell Rian


Seven physicians and researchers in UT Southwestern’s Department of Oph­thal­mology were honored recently as part of the inaugural class of dis­tin­guished fellows of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthal­mology (ARVO), the largest eye and vision research organization in the world.

“We are extremely honored to have so many researchers from UT South­western recognized for the cutting-edge work done in their labs that over the years has added sub­stantially to both basic and clinical science,” said Dr. James McCulley, chairman of oph­thal­mology and one of those recognized.

Dr. Jerry Niederkorn, professor of oph­thalmology and microbiology, was honored as a gold member. His lab investigates the immunobiology of corneal transplants, as well as immune-related functions and diseases of the eye.

Honored as silver members were:

  • Dr. McCulley, director of the Jean H. & John T. Walter Jr. Center for Research in Age-Related Macular De­generation. Dr. McCulley spe­cial­izes in corneal and external disease, kerato­refractive sur­gery, anterior segment and cataract surgery.
  • Dr. H. Dwight Cavanagh, vice chair­man of ophthalmology and a former executive director of ARVO. Dr. Cava­nagh’s research focuses on the cornea, including cell biology, trans­plantation, wound healing, bioimaging and con­tact lenses. 
  • Dr. W. Matt Petroll, professor of ophthal­mology. Dr. Petroll’s research interests include corneal wound heal­ing, imag­ing, cell motility and tissue engi­neering.
  • Dr. David Birch, adjunct professor of ophthalmology and chief scientific and executive officer of the Retina Foundation of the Southwest.
  • Dr. Eileen Birch, adjunct professor of ophthalmology and senior scientist of the Retina Foundation of the Southwest.
  • Dr. Martin Wax, visiting professor of ophthalmology and former vice presi­dent of research and develop­ment for Fort Worth-based Alcon Labo­ra­tories.

In addition, Dr. Yu-Guang He, asso­ciate professor of ophthalmology, re­ceived the 2009 ARVO/Alcon Early Career Clinician-Scientist Research Award during the keynote session at ARVO’s annual meeting for his re­search on age-related macular degene­ration (AMD). Dr. He’s lab is working to identify the early steps in the path­o­genesis of AMD, and to investigate novel methods to treat and prevent its development.

ARVO members are recognized as distinguished fellows for their accom­plishments, leadership and contribu­tions to the association. They serve as role models and mentors for indi­viduals pursuing careers in vision and ophthalmology research, and further ARVO’s mission to facilitate world­wide efforts to advance vision research and care.

“We are very excited to offer this new prestige to our membership. We know that it will galvanize current members and inspire future ones,” ARVO president Dr. Todd P. Margolis said.

Members include some 12,500 eye and vision researchers from more than 73 countries. The association en­cour­ages and assists research, training, pub­lication and dis­semination of knowl­edge in vision and ophthal­mology.

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Dr. Cavanagh holds the Dr. W. Max­well Thomas Chair in Ophthal­mology.

Dr. He is holder of the Zora Meagher Macular Degeneration Research Pro­fes­sorship.

Dr. McCulley holds the David Bruton Jr. Chair in Ophthalmology.

Dr. Niederkorn is holder of the George A. and Nancy P. Shutt Professorship in Medical Science.