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Department of Ophthalmology Annual Report
Fiscal Year 2012 

Overview
It has been another remarkable year for the Department of Ophthalmology as we continue our three-tiered mission to educate the next generation of leaders, advance science and pursue excellence in patient care. We achieved significant milestones throughout FY12 and in every sphere of our mission - from opening our new Longwood multi-specialty ambulatory care center to launching our innovative, computer surgical simulation tool, the Mass. Eye and Ear Cataract Master™. We continued to strengthen affiliate ties and, in October, created a formal clinical and research alliance with Joslin Diabetes Center.  Our research efforts forged ahead marked by two significant milestones – the first combined MEE/Schepens annual research faculty retreat and the appointment of Patricia D’Amore, Ph.D., M.B.A,. FARVO to Director of Research at Schepens.  We are also making significant headway in establishing our Ocular Genomics Institute (OGI) as a burgeoning center of excellence for genomics and gene therapy research; promising translational investigations are underway in the Institute and the Berman Gund Laboratory for the Study of Retinal Degenerations, and already yielding exciting results. On the administrative front, vigorous recruitment efforts resulted in six additional full-time faculty members, while a continued and robust focus on HMS Ophthalmology faculty development led to 18 new promotions and appointments.

Milestones and New Initiatives
Patricia A. D’Amore, Ph.D., M.B.A., FARVO is named Schepens Director of Research

Following an international search, Patricia D’Amore, Ph.D., M.B.A., FARVO was named Director of Research at Schepens Eye Research Institute, effective November 1, 2012.  Dr. D’Amore is Professor of Ophthalmology and Pathology at Harvard Medical School (HMS), HMS Ophthalmology Vice Chair of Basic Research, and Senior Scientist and Ankeny Scholar of Retinal Molecular Biology at Schepens. As director, Dr. D’Amore will serve as the senior leader at Schepens and as a member of the Mass. Eye and Ear research leadership team, reporting to Chief and Chair, Dr. Joan Miller, and to the Schepens Board of Directors. Dr. D’Amore will also be nominated for appointment as the Charles L. Schepens Professor of Ophthalmology at HMS. Dr. D’Amore’s selection follows a rigorous, eight-month effort by an HMS-appointed search committee to identify a highly accomplished academic and scientific leader who has achieved significant success in advancing the field of vision science.

Service Expansions

Mass. Eye and Ear, Longwood
• The new Mass. Eye and Ear multi-specialty ambulatory care center at 800 Huntington Ave officially opened October 31, 2012. The location will provide the Longwood/Mission Hill neighborhoods greater access to Mass. Eye and Ear’s world-class physicians and surgeons, and outpatient services. The facility is expected to begin accepting patients in November. Comprehensive and subspecialty services in Retina, Cornea, Glaucoma, Eye Plastics and Uveitis will be available, and the site will be fully equipped for surgery, procedures, imaging and diagnostics.  Mass. Eye and Ear will continue to provide inpatient and emergency eye trauma care at affiliated hospitals. Participating Mass. Eye and Ear faculty include: Carolyn Kloek (Medical Director), M.D., John Loewenstein, M.D., Sheila Borboli-Gerogiannis, M.D., F.A.C.S., Daniel Lefebvre, M.D., Ann-Marie Lobo, M.D., Zhonghui Katie Luo, M.D., Ph.D., David Wu, M.D., Ph.D., Lucy Shen, M.D., and Mark Bernardo, O.D.  Several open houses will be held over the next few months to introduce the facility and staff to the neighboring hospital and referral community.
• Mass. Eye and Ear Retina Consultants, Stoneham
In January, Mass. Eye and Ear acquired a large retina practice at 3 Woodland Road in Stoneham where it opened a new satellite office, Retina Consultants. The new practice offers subspecialty medical and surgical care for macular degeneration, diabetic eye and all conditions associated with the retina. The new practice expands the department’s reach in a suburban area and makes retina services more accessible to patients. The service is directed by Daniel Esmaili, M.D., with participation from several retina physicians, including: Dean Eliott, M.D.,Leo Kim, M.D., Ph.D.; Joan W. Miller, M.D., FARVO; and Lucy Young, M.D., Ph.D.

Mass. Eye and Ear Cataract Master™
The Mass. Eye and Ear Cataract Master™, a new and highly innovative, computer-based simulation tool designed to teach residents phacoemulsification cataract surgery, was launched in the spring and is now available to ophthalmology residency programs and the ophthalmology community worldwide.  Nearly a decade in the making, the Cataract Master™ was co-developed by Harvard Medical School Residency Training Program Director, John I. Loewenstein, M.D., Bonnie An Henderson, M.D., F.A.C.S., Adam Neaman, Ph.D., and several of their colleagues.  The Cataract Master ™ received an enthusiastic reception during its official debut at the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery (ASCRS) annual meeting in April 2012.  Mass. Eye and Ear has licensed the English version of the program to ASCRS for worldwide distribution over the internet.


Mass. Eye and Ear and Joslin Diabetes Center Form Clinical and Research Alliance
Under the direction of Lloyd Paul Aiello, MD, PhD, Associate Chief for Longwood, this novel new partnership will provide a full array of high quality, comprehensive and subspecialty eye care to ophthalmology patients, especially to those who are at-risk for diabetes-related eye complications. Clinical offices will be co-located at One Joslin Place and Mass. Eye and Ear’s new ambulatory care center at 800 Huntington Avenue. Combining the expertise and resources of these institutions will allow us to provide high quality and cost-effective care while making our services more convenient and accessible to more patients. Strengthening our research collaborations will more rapidly advance our shared goal of eradicating eye disease.

Centers of Excellence Gain Steam in FY12
We continue to expand, develop and build out the department’s five disease-based Centers of Excellence in age-related macular degeneration, cornea, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and mobility and vision rehabilitation. The centers are designed to drive collaboration across the full, three-tier mission of the department – clinical care, education and research - by bringing together the exceptional expertise, talent and resources of our entire Harvard Medical School community. This disease-based approach helps to identify like-minded research going on across the department. It also builds grassroots collaboration and programs - linking ideas, resources and people in pursuit of common goals. The Centers are designed to help fuel more rapid advances in bench-to-bedside medicine so that, ultimately, we can eliminate blinding diseases in our lifetime.
In September, Bonnie Brodowski, M.B.A., Manager of Business and Program Development was hired to support the program development initiatives of each Center and the Institutes. Bonnie is working with Lloyd Paul Aiello, M.D., Ph.D., HMS Vice Chair for the Centers of Excellence, to fine tune COE strategy, goals and objectives, identify programmatic needs and resources, develop fundraising and outreach opportunities, and support COE branding and website resources.

HMS Department of Ophthalmology External Review
The Department underwent a successful HMS External Review by Visiting Committee in January, 2012. Feedback was very positive in all areas and highlighted the department’s strong clinical growth and innovation, positive financial performance, key research recruits, and outstanding programs in graduate medical education. Special mention was made of efforts by Chief and Chair, Joan W. Miller, M.D., FARVO to bring together the department’s uniquely diverse affiliate structure into a united whole, underscored by the unification of Mass. Eye and Ear and Schepens Eye Research Institute, as well as several important affiliate partnerships. The committee consensus is that HMS Ophthalmology is recognized now as a well-integrated department with a laudable array of programs whose success is driven by collaboration and consensus. The next review cycle will take place in approximately five years.

Mass. Eye and Ear Ophthalmology Ranking
Once again, Mass. Eye and Ear ranks as a top specialty hospital nationwide, according to the 2012-2013 U.S. News & World Report “Best Hospitals” survey. Mass. Eye and Ear Ophthalmology is listed #4 nationally, assisting MGH in attaining the #1 spot in the nation.   

Mass. Eye and Ear Releases 3rd Annual Quality and Outcomes Report
In early October 2012 Mass. Eye and Ear released its 3rd Annual Quality and Outcomes Report, documenting clinical and surgical outcomes data for key Ophthalmology procedures. The 2012 Quality and Outcomes Report (second combined Ophthalmology/ENT report) creates a full view of our highly specialized care and surgery, while creating measures and establishing industry benchmarks that resonate nationwide.

NEW (FULL-TIME) RECRUITS

Clinicians and Clinician Scientists

Jason Comander, M.D., Ph.D., Mass. Eye and Ear, Retina and Electroretinography Services

Daniel Esmaili, M.D., Mass. Eye and Ear, Retina Service

Daniel Lefebvre, M.D., Mass. Eye and Ear, Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Service

Zhonghui Katie Luo, M.D., Ph.D., Mass. Eye and Ear, Comprehensive Ophthalmology Service

David Wu, M.D., Ph.D., Mass Eye and Ear, Retina Service

Mark Bernardo, O.D., Mass. Eye and Ear, Optometry

Research Investigators

Luk Vandenberghe, Ph.D., Ocular Genomics Institute and the Howe and Berman-Gund Laboratories

FACULTY APPOINTMENTS & PROMOTIONS

Promotions at HMS

Janey Wiggs, M.D., Ph.D., Paul Austen Chandler Associate Professor of Ophthalmology

***

Dean Eliott, M.D., Mass. Eye and Ear, Associate Professor of Ophthalmology

Ivana Kim, M.D., Mass. Eye and Ear, Associate Professor of Ophthalmology

Gabriel Kreiman, Ph.D., M.Sc., Boston Children’s Hospital, Associate Professor of Ophthalmology

Shizuo Mukai, M.D., Mass. Eye and Ear, Associate Professor of Ophthalmology

Eric Pierce, M.D., Ph.D., Mass. Eye and Ear, to Associate Professor of Ophthalmology

Roberto Pineda II, M.D., Mass. Eye and Ear, Associate Professor of Ophthalmology

Deborah VanderVeen, M.D., Boston Children’s Hospital to Associate Professor of Ophthalmology

***

Jing Chen, Ph.D., Boston Children’s Hospital, Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology 

Sherleen Chen, M.D., Mass. Eye and Ear, Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology

Joseph Ciolino, M.D., Mass. Eye and Ear, Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology

Magali Saint-Geniez, Ph.D., Schepens, Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology

Carolyn Kloek, M.D., Mass. Eye and Ear, Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology

Nurhan Torun, M.D., Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology

Russell Woods, Ph.D., Schepens, Assistant Professor Ophthalmology

***

Promotions and New Roles at Mass. Eye and Ear/Schepens

Patricia D’Amore, Ph.D., M.B.A., FARVO, Director of Research at Schepens Eye Research Institute.

Peter Veldman, M.D., Mass. Eye and Ear Chief Resident and Director of the Ocular Trauma Service for AY 2012-2013

fACULTY AWARDS, PRIZES AND HONORS

Eliot Berson, M.D., received the Visionary Award from Foundation Fighting Blindness, recognizing his significant role in advancing research of blinding diseases and for the development of the first treatment for retinitis pigmentosa.

Teresa Chen, M,D., F.A.C.S., has been named the 2012 President of the Chandler-Grant Glaucoma Society. The society’s mission is to work for the prevention of blindness from glaucoma through integration of research and clinical disciplines.

Joseph Ciolino, M.D., received the 2012 HMS Cornea Center of Excellence Fellowship Shore Scholars in Medicine award.

Patricia D’Amore, Ph.D., M.B.A., FARVO, was the recipient of the 2012 ASIP Rous-Whipple Award.

Reza Dana, M,D., M.P.H., M.Sc., was named the 2012 Chancellor’s Awardee in Neuroscience and Ophthalmology from Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center School of Medicine.  He joins a distinguished group of recipients from the past 25 years, which includes 12 Nobel Laureates.

Claes Dohlman, M.D., Ph.D., received the prestigious Gullstrand Gold Medal from the Swedish Medical Society. This is Europe’s most preeminent ophthalmology award and is presented only once a decade.  Dr. Dohlman was honored for his field defining contributions to corneal medicine and science.

Aaron Fay, M.D., was inducted into the highly prestigious Orbit Society.  He joins an elite group (30 members worldwide) of surgeons dedicated to the understanding and treatment of orbital disease.

Scott Greenstein, M.D., F.A.C.S., was presented with a Mass. Eye and Ear Distinguished Service Award.

Deborah Jacobs, M.D.,was accepted into the Academy at HMS.

Richard Masland, Ph.D., received a 2012 Alcon Research Institute award.

Joan W. Miller, M.D., Chief and Chair, delivered the LXIX (69th) Jackson Memorial Lecture at the 2012 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology held on November 11 at McCormick Place in Chicago. Her lecture focused on research developments in age-related macular degeneration. Dr. Miller is only the second woman to deliver this prestigious lecture since its inauguration in 1944.  The associated paper will be published in a forthcoming issue of American Journal of Ophthalmology.
Joan W. Miller, MD, Chief and Chair, was appointed as one of two Directors of the Heed Ophthalmic Foundation for five years effective January 1, 2012.

Dr. Miller was also named a winner of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce’s 2012 Pinnacle Award, which honors women for workplace achievement, leadership and a commitment to enhance the quality of life in the region.

Lucy Q. Shen, M.D., won the American Glaucoma Society’s surgical video contest at the society’s annual meeting. Dr. Shen’s video showed an endoscopic cyclophotocoagulation on a patient with a Boston Keratoprosthesis Type II implant after a pars plana vitrectomy.

Demetrios Vavvas, M,D., Ph.D., was awarded a Retina Research Foundation Travel Grant to attend the XXXVIII Club Jules Gonin Meeting in Reykjavik, Iceland in June 2012. The meeting is sponsored by the International Council of Ophthalmology.

Jessica Wong, M.D., was named as the first Richard J. Simmons and Ruthanne B. Simmons Fellow in Glaucoma.

Mass. Eye and Ear resident, Yoshihiro Yonekawa, M.D., was selected as one of four winners of this year’s EyeWiki competition for his article, “Pseudophakic Cystoid Macular Edema.” Dr. Yonekawa received an all-expenses paid trip to the American Academy of Ophthalmology mid-year forum.

Twelve investigators in the department received ARVO/AFER Travel Grants to attend the 2012 spring ARVO Annual Meeting. 

Five faculty members from the Department of Ophthalmology were selected to participate in the HMS Leadership Development for Physicians and Scientists course. They include: Dean Cestari, M.D; Ula Jurkunas, M.D; Carolyn Kloek, M.D; George Papaliodis, M.D; and Louis Pasquale, M.D, FARVO

Six faculty members were nominated for a 2011-12 HMS A. Clifford Barger Excellence in Mentoring Award: James Chodosh, M.D., M.P.H; Lotfi Merabet, O.D., Ph.D; Shizuo Mukai, M.D; Alexandra Bowers, Ph.D; Ilene Gipson, Ph.D., FARVO; Magali Saint-Geniez, Ph.D.

 


NEW EQUIPMENT & TECHNOLOGY

Research

• Schepens Eye Research Institute Morphology Core – Leica PT 2030 Automatic Tissue Processor for use in histopathology applications.

• Schepens Eye Research Institute Retinal Gene Transfer Core – Biosafety Cabinets, Ultracentrifuge, and incubators for Vector Production

• Schepens Eye Research Institute Two-Photon Confocal Microscope Core – MicroVideo Instruments intravital microscope

• MacPro Two and Bitplane Scientific Imaris Software for Image Analysis

• Ocular Genomics Institute – CLIA Diagnostic Laboratory and DNA Sequencing Core
• Illumina iScan and  MiSeq Systems and Life Technologies 3730XL DNA analyzer
• Thermal Cyclers for research and Clinical DNA sequence analysis

Clinical

• Veris Multi-Focal ERG for the 3rd Floor

• Veris Multi-Focal ERG for the 12th Floor

• Cirrius OCT machine for the Retina Service

• Vu Max Ultrasound Unit – A Scan B Scan UBM

• Sonomed Escalon Lenstar for the Cornea Service

• 2 OPTOS wide angle cameras for the Retina Service

• Spectrum microscope for the Mass. Eye and Ear Retina Associates in Stoneham

NEW SERVICES/RENOVATIONS

Mass. Eye and Ear, Longwood

Mass. Eye and Ear Retina Associates, Stoneham

In April (2012), the Glaucoma Service moved into its newly renovated clinical space on the first floor of the main building. 

New laboratories have been established at Schepens for Lotfi Merabet, O.D., Ph.D., Luk Vandenberghe, Ph.D., and Pedram Hamrah, M.D.,Ph.D.

RESEARCH SUCCESSES

Cornea

• Completed a clinical study evaluating the efficacy of a topical combined anti-PDGF and anti-VEGF therapy in corneal angiogenesis.

• Created and validated an ocular redness continuous (0.0 – 100.0) scale using a novel, state-of-the-art computer program.

• Received a grant from the Department of Defense to conduct a multi-center clinical trial to assess the safety and efficacy of a anti-VEGF in patients who are at high-risk for graft rejection following their corneal transplant.

• Completed a study assessing the use of tear osmolarity as a new method to diagnose and monitor dry eye disease.

• Developed telomerase-immortalized corneal endothelial cell line which will provide a new tool for the in vitro study of corneal endothelial cell biology and will be made available to the NIH community.

• Determined that deficiency in Nrf2-regulated pathway is involved in the pathogenesis of Fuchs endothelial corneal dystrophy.

• Determined that corneal limbal fibroblasts can be differentiated into corneal epithelial cells thus serving as a novel source of corneal epithelium usually destroyed in limbal stem cell deficiency disorders.

• Demonstrated the presence of the integrin MadCAM-1 in the ocular surface vasculature and determined its role in the recruitment of corneal immune cells.

• First human implantation of an intraocular device to measure IOP by telemetry. This may resolve the inability to measure IOP in keratoprosthesis patients.

• Conducted the first large scale cataract surgery outcomes review (18,000 cases) in the UK independent sector.

• Demonstrated with live corneal imaging that unilateral corneal infections, including in herpes zoster ophthalmicus, lead to contralateral changes in corneal nerves in the unaffected eye, suggesting neuro-regulatory mechanisms between eyes.

• Demonstrated that a drug-eluting contact lens can deliver a therapeutic amount of a glaucoma medication for one month.

• Determined that devices used in PROSE treatment can be customized to accommodate any eye with keratoconus or post-LASIK ectasia regardless of disease severity.

• Performed first collagen cross-linking in Boston, an experimental treatment for keratoconus, under the auspices of an FDA-sanctioned clinical trial.


Boston Keratoprosthesis (KPro)

• In a large worldwide surveillance study, 4610 KPro implantations by 368 surgeons, there were 176 incidents (3.8%) of endophthalmitis.  In contrast, in a Boston (local) series of 271 KPro cases performed from 2000-2009, only 3 cases (1.1%) of bacterial endophthalmitis occurred.  New highly effective, low-cost antibiotics combinations for once-daily prophylaxis have been proposed.

• In a clinical study on alkali burns, the Boston KPro was shown to have good retention, but severe glaucoma often ruined the optic nerve.  Experiments on ex vivo pig eyes and in vivo mouse eyes showed that the glaucoma was not caused by backwards diffusion of the alkali itself.  Rather, it seems that easily diffusible inflammatory cytokines can reach the ganglion cell layer and cause widespread apoptosis within 24 hours.  Of potential practical importance was the additional finding that infliximab (Remicade™) has a very strong protective effect, both anteriorly and posteriorly.  It is thus possible that patients with severe chemical burns, when they reach an emergency room, should also have an immediate intravenous infusion of infliximab.

• Demonstrated better wound anatomy following Boston KPro surgery using larger backplates, suggesting one solution to the problem of retroprosthetic membrane formation.

Retina

• For the first time identified the mode of death of cone photoreceptor cells in an animal model of retinitis pigmentosa. This research has further identified the receptor interacting protein kinase pathway as a potential target for developing treatment for vision loss in patients with RP.

• Investigate the anti-inflammatory action of the exercise mimetic acadesine, a medication that activates AMP kinase, and showed that it suppresses ocular inflammation in an animal model of autoimmune uveitis

• Researchers from the Angiogenesis Laboratory highlighted that a commonly used strain of laboratory animals used in retinal research exhibit baseline pathology that can alter the conclusions of other studies.

• Dr. Dean Eliott received approval for a Phase I/II trial is a prospective, open-label study designed to determine the safety and tolerability of the human embryonic stem cells-derived RPE cells for sub-retinal transplantation into patients with dry AMD.

• Researchers from the Mass. Eye and Ear, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Loyola University Chicago Health Sciences Division and their collaborators have isolated an elusive human gene that causes a common form of Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA), a relatively rare but devastating form of early-onset blindness.  The new LCA gene is called NMNAT1.  Finding the specific gene mutated in patients with LCA is the first step towards developing sight-saving gene therapy. Eric Pierce, MD, PhD, Director of the Ocular Genomics Institute is a co-senior author on the study.

• Administration of a gene therapy vector carrying the RPE65 gene to one eye in each of 12 patients with congenital blindness due to RPE65 mutations led to improvements in retinal and visual function and proved to be a safe and stable procedure.

• Analyzed visual acuity data from three clinical trials conducted involving patients with typical retinitis pigmentosa to show that a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids appears associated with slowing visual acuity decline in retinitis pigmentosa patients on Vitamin A.

• Discovery that VEGG, which is known to cause blood vessel growth, also seems to unexpectedly bind the receptor for another growth factor known as platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF), and prevent PDGF from binding. This suggests that VEGF may contribute to the development of proliferative vitreoretinopathy, the most common serious side-effect of retinal re-attachment surgery.

Glaucoma

• In research conducted with Dr. Jae Hee Kang from the Channing Division of Network Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Dr. Pasquale reported that heavy consumption of caffeinated coffee is associated with an increased risk for exfoliation glaucoma or exfoliation glaucoma suspect.

• Results from the largest genetic study of glaucoma, a leading cause of blindness and vision loss worldwide, showed that two genetic variations are associated with primary open angle glaucoma, a common form of the disease. The identification of genes responsible for this disease is the first step toward the development of gene-based disease detection and treatment. Researchers included study lead author Janey Wiggs, MD, PhD, and Lou Pasquale, MD, FARVO.

• Researchers from the Mass. Eye and Ear, Brigham and Women's Hospital, and University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Mich., set out to find out how demographic and geographic risk factors are associated with ES. Their study, the “Demographic and Geographic Features of Exfoliation Glaucoma in two United States-Based Prospective Cohorts” was published in the January 2012 issue of Ophthalmology. This study confirmed established associations with age and family history and exfoliation glaucoma or exfoliation glaucoma suspect (EG/EGS), as well as provided new data on associations with gender, eye color and ancestry.

• Dr. Pasquale and colleagues described ocular injury, including glaucoma, after laser photoepilation to remove unwanted eyebrow hair. These ocular injuries occurred despite protective eyewear. The authors report that preventive measures that account for the rounded contour of the orbital rim are needed to prevent unwanted interaction between laser energy emitted from the laser probe and intraocular structures during eyebrow laser photoepilation.

• For the first time, Dr. Teresa Chen described a case of bilateral secondary angle closure glaucoma after bupropion (wellbutrin) use.

• Dr. Janey Wiggs led a group of researchers to describe an association between a common polymorphism in the p53 gene and initial paracentral vision loss in primary open angle glaucoma.

• Work from the angiogenesis laboratory investigated the protective role of the TNF inhibitor, Etanercept (Also known as Enbrel, a medication used for autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis) in an animal model of glaucoma.

RESEARCH GRANTS

Teresa Chen, MD received a Harvard Catalyst pilot grant award for her project, “Spectral Domain OCT 3D.”

James Chodosh, M.D., M.P.H., was awarded a Research to Prevent Blindness Senior Scientific Investigator Award for his project, “Adenovirus Evolution & Emergence of New Ocular Pathogens.” 

Dr.  Chodosh also received a new research agreement award from Janssen Biotech, Inc. for his project: Infliximab Therapy to improve retention of the Boston Keratoprosthesis.

Joseph Ciolino, M.D., received a 4-year Research to Prevent Blindness Career Development Award.

Kip Connor, Ph.D., H.M.S. Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology received a new supplement for his R01 Grant, “Complement Mediated Neovascularization in Retinopathy.” 

Dr. Connor was also awarded a Janssen Research & Development grant for his project: “hUTCs in the Retina.

Reza Dana, M.D., M.P.H., M.Sc., was awarded a four year, $2.3 million cooperative agreement award with the Department of Defense: “Safety and Efficacy of Bevacizumab in High-risk Corneal Transplant Survival.”

Michael Gilmore, Ph.D., received a new research award from Bausch & Lomb for his project, “Comparative Genomics of Ocular Pathogens.”

Tatjana Jakobs, MD received a Research to Prevent Blindness Dolly Green Special Scholar Award.

Ann-Marie Lobo, M.D., received a grant from AbbVie, Inc. for her study, “A Multicenter Study of the Efficacy and Safety of the Human Anti-TNF Monoclonal Antibody Adalimumab as Maintenance Therapy in Subjects Requiring High Dose Corticosteroids for Inactive Non-infectious Intermediate-, Posterior-, or Pan-uveitis.”

Gang Luo, Ph.D., received a William F. Milton Fund at Harvard University award, for his work, “Seeing in blind field in visually impaired people.”

Richard Masland, Ph.D., received a two-year grant from HMS for his project, “Retinal Ganglion Cells.”

Lotfi Merabet, O.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., received a new supplement to his NEI R01 grant, “Audio Based Navigation in the Blind”

Louis Pasquale, M.D., FARVO, received a gift of $100,000 from Mass. Eye and Ear supporter, Mr. Paul Margolis for his project, “The Genetics of Retinal Vascular Dysregulation in Glaucoma.”

Roberto Pineda II, M.D., received a Harvard Catalyst pilot grant award for his project, "Early Detection of Corneal Extasia Through In Vivo Brillouin Imaging."

Douglas Rhee, M.D., received a new study agreement award from Merck Sharp & Dohme Corporation for the project, “Effect of Ophthalmic Preservatives on Trabecular Meshwork Outflow Facility.”

Joseph Rizzo III, M.D., received a research award from the VA Boston Healthcare System, for his project: “Penetrating Electrodes in the Boston Retinal Prosthesis.”

The National Eye Institute has awarded researchers at Schepens a five year-grant totaling more than $2.4 million to understand the origins of eye allergies, Daniel Saban, PhD, MS is the principal investigator for the project entitled “Cellular and Molecular Mechanisms that Contributed to Ocular Surface Allergy.”

Lucy Q. Shen, M.D., received a Young Clinician Scientist Award from the American Glaucoma Society for her project, “Using Structure-Function Relationship to Aid the Diagnosis and Monitoring of Glaucoma.”

Dimitra Skondra, M.D., Mass. Eye and Ear Vitreoretinal Fellow, was named the 2012 Alcon Clinical Research Scholar. This award is granted to a Clinical Research fellow to support a certified or board eligible subspecialty fellowship candidate for a one-year structured clinical and research development program under mentorship of a senior HMS faculty member.

Lucia Sobrin, M.D., M.P.H., received an RO1 grant from NIH for the project, "Multi-Ethnic GWAS of Diabetic Retinopathy: Enhanced Power Using New Methods."

Mass. Eye and Ear Research Fellow in Ophthalmology, Ariel Weinberger, Ph.D., received a F32 fellowship award grant from the NIH for her project entitled, "The Evolutionary Dynamics of Plasmid Uptake in Pathogenic Bacteria.”

Janey Wiggs, M.D., Ph.D., received an R01grant from the National Eye Institute for her project entitled, "The Neighborhood: POAG Heritable Overall Operational Database."

Research to Prevent Blindness has awarded a grant of $110,000 to the Mass. Eye and Ear to support research into the causes, treatment and prevention of blinding diseases. The research will be directed by Joan W. Miller, MD, FARVO.

For the third year in a row, an application to support the Alcon Research Scholar position has been approved to support the work of a clinical/translational research fellow in the Mass. Eye and Ear Cornea Service. The grant is administered by Reza Dana, M.D., M.P.H., M.Sc.

Mass. Eye and Ear Curing Kids Fund has awarded grants to three Mass. Eye and Ear ophthalmology faculty, including:  Eric Pierce, M.D., Ph.D. (Disease Gene Discovery for Leber Congenital Amaurosis); Dong Feng Chen, M.D., Ph.D. (Epigenetic Regulation of Congenital Retinal Dystrophy); and Bruce R. Ksander, Ph.D. (A New Treatment to Prevent the Development of Drug Resistant Cancer Stem Cells in Retinoblastoma).

CLINICAL TRIAL AWARDS

The department’s clinical research efforts continue strong growth.  Between March 2012 and October 2012 the department experienced a 23 percent increase in clinical research studies, from 132 to 162.  Clinical trials (NIH definition) increased as well during the same time period, from 29 to 37.   

EDUCATION HIGHLIGHTS

• A generous philanthropy gift from HMS alumnus Richard Simmons, and his wife, Anne, was used to establish the Ruthanne B. Simmons Lecture in Ophthalmology.  The lectureship, which gives first preference for glaucoma or glaucoma-related topics, honors the life and career of the Simmons’ late daughter, Ruthanne, on the occasion of her 25th anniversary and Dr. Simmons’ 55th from Harvard Medical School.  The first lecture was delivered by Joel S. Schuman, M.D., F.A.C..S, Professor and Chairman of Ophthalmology, and Professor of Bioengineering at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Dr. Schuman is a highly regarded clinician and glaucoma specialist.

• The 2nd International Biennial Symposium on AMD (September 21-22, 2012) led by Committee Co-Chairs: Patrica A. D’Amore, Ph.D., M.B.A; Ivana K. Kim, M.D; and Joan W. Miller, M.D, FARVO, followed the highly successful precedent set by the inaugural 2010 symposium.  A diverse and distinguished group of clinicians and researchers from around the world engaged in stimulating and open-ended panel discussions on a wide array of AMD topics that included: RPE/Bruch’s membrane/choriocapillaris, inflammation, lipids/cardiovascular disease, imaging, angiogenesis beyond VEGF, neuroprotection/regeneration, drug delivery, and neurodegenerative diseases. The interactive format and lively discussion and debate drew kudos from the.200+ clinicians, researchers, and trainees in attendance.

• The 27th Cornea Biennial Conference (September 30-October 1, 2011), co-hosted by Schepens Eye Research Institute and the Mass. Eye and Ear, with support from Boston University School of Medicine, and Tufts university Center for Vision Research featured 29 distinguished national and international speakers, and raised over $100,000 for eye research. 

• In March 2012, Robert Pineda II, M.D., and Sherleen Chen, M.D., traveled to Shanghai, China to conduct a course in advanced skills to phacoemulsification cataract surgeons. The “China Alcon Advanced Cataract Course,” the first of its kind in Shanghai, was undertaken as part of the department’s educational partnership with Shanghai Eye and ENT Hospital. 

• For the third year in a row, we held another highly successful Mass. Eye and Ear Intensive Vitreoretinal Course (July 20-21, 2012), a unique and comprehensive workshop covering the theory and practice of vitreoretinal surgery. Free of charge to participants, the course is designed exclusively for first-year vitreoretinal fellows to prepare them for the OR experience of the clinical fellowship. This event continues to draw a distinguished cadre of eminent faculty from various institutions worldwide.  Course Directors are John Loewenstein, M.D., Dean Eliott, M.D., and Demetrios Vavvas, M.D., Ph.D.

• The 5th Military Vision Symposium on Ocular & Vision Injury held September 18-20, 2012 focused on military and civilian ocular research.  The symposium covered the topics of combat ocular readiness, blast injury/blast eye, ocular pain, inflammation and infection, telehealth, telepresence & informatics, regenerative medicine, and vision funding. 

• Digital Journal of Ophthalmology will now be included in PUbMed Central and indexed in the National Library of Medicine’s MEDLINE database, which should significantly increase its profile.


COMMUNITY SERVICE ACTIVITIES

Local/Regional

• Neighborhood Charter School (17th) year – Provided vision screenings to 500 children.

• Camp Harbor View, Long Island, MA (17th year) - Eye screenings for 149 campers, ages 11-14, from underserved Boston neighborhoods. 

• Mass. Eye and Ear partnered with Vision Coalition MA to provide vision exams to students in the Year Up, Boston program.

• Boomers and Seniors Expo at the Seaport World Trade Center: Shelia Borboli, MD, Comprehensive Ophthalmology Service, presented “Cataracts and Baby Boomers.”

• A Graves Disease and Thyroid Eye Disease Support Group was held quarterly by the Ophthalmic Plastic Surgery.

• Theresa Chen, M.D., Medical Director, Ophthalmology Quality and Outcomes volunteered on the Lions Eye Van providing free eye screenings.

• Mark Bernardo, O.D., of the Mass. Eye and Ear Optometry Service served with Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity.

• Lucia Sobrin, M.D., M.P.H., Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology at HMS, was a featured guest speaker in January for the ArtsEmerson one-woman show, “Sugar,” starring Emerson College performing arts professor and internationally acclaimed performance artist Robbie McCauley.  “Sugar,” examines the struggles and conquests of living with “a little bit of sugar”: diabetes.  A central theme of the show was to reflect on diabetes from the African American perspective as this disease disproportionately affects people of color.  As the featured guest, Dr. Sobrin participated in a “talk back” session along with Ms. McCauley after one of the performances and discussed her promising research on diabetic retinopathy that may one day lead to cures to this disease. 

• On behalf of The Glaucoma Foundation, Louis Pasquale, MD, Director, Glaucoma Service and Director, Telemedicine led a teleconference for lay people regarding lifestyle issues in glaucoma. 

National/International

•  Mass. Eye and Ear hosted the Association of Vision Science Librarians (AVSL), which met for several days in Boston. The international group is composed of librarians from ophthalmic hospitals and institutes, optometry schools, ophthalmic drug and device companies, schools for the blind, the National Institutes of Health and the American Academy of Ophthalmology. There are 124 member libraries including Mass. Eye and Ear’s Howe Library, 64 of which represent 25 foreign countries. Fifteen members, including members from China and Puerto Rico, were able to attend in person this year, while others attended via the internet. AVSL’s mission is to improve access to vision information, including sharing books and serials, and to answer difficult reference questions.

• Director of Ophthalmic Plastic Surgery Suzanne Freitag, MD and ophthalmic plastic surgery fellow, Daniel Lefebvre, MD provided care and surgery to patients as part of a medical mission at the St. John Eye Hospital in East Jerusalem. They were invited by Dr. Robert Della Rocca, Director of Oculoplastic Surgery at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary and Chief of Ophthalmology at St. Lukes/Roosevelt Hospitals in New York City. Established in 1882, the St. John Eye Hospital primarily serves Palestinians from the West Bank, as well as from the Gaza Strip and Hebron. It is the only charitable provider of eye care to the people of the Palestinian territory.  Oculoplastics care has been provided there only a few times per year on a volunteer basis. During the trip, the team saw a large number of patients daily and performed a variety of oculoplastic surgery procedures, ranging from congenital eyelid disorders to repair of orbital fractures. Additionally, they gave daily morning lectures to the staff of the hospital, including attending ophthalmologists, residents, and nurses.

• Lotfi Merabet, O.D., Ph.D., HMS Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology, recently traveled to Saudi Arabia to attend the international conference, “Clinical Research, from Appraisal to Synthesis of Evidence,” where he led a workshop at the King Abdul Aziz University on firsthand knowledge and practice of clinical research. Organized with cooperation from Harvard Medical School, the goal of the three-day international conference was to address ways to increase and advance clinical research in Saudi Arabia.

 

OTHER ACHIEVEMENTS/EVENTS OF NOTE 

The Department of Ophthalmology’s comprehensive report, Frontiers in Ophthalmology, was chosen as one of a handful of winners in the 2012 U360 Design Competition, a national competition sponsored by paper company, Appleton-Coated Utopia. A panel of leading designers selected the final 14 of 330 entries based on communication, design, and print excellence. Frontiers was chosen as one of eight winners in the category of Communication Excellence. Winners are included in a show book distributed throughout North America.
 

Page updated: 4/8/13 . 

 

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