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Wilmer Eye Institute | Newsletter

2023-09-20 20:07:47
 Dear friends and colleagues,   As the number one ophthalmology research program in the nation, Wilmer led last week’s annual meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) with more than 80 Wilmer and Johns Hopkins affiliates presenting – including Peter Campochiaro, who presented the Proctor Award Lecture, and Tom Johnson, who gave the David L. Epstein Award Lecture. 

In this issue of Wilmer in Focus, you’ll find many more examples of leadership at Wilmer. Whether they’re leading the nation in research to protect eyesight, working to eliminate health inequities, or educating the next generation of ophthalmology leaders, Wilmer faculty continue to lead the way, one story at a time. 

Yours in continued good health, 

Peter J. McDonnell, M.D. 

Featured Articles  

Mentoring as Our Mission: The Lutty Legacy At Wilmer Eye Institute

Gerard “Jerry” Lutty, Ph.D. worked his way from lab tech to full professor, becoming a world-renowned expert in ocular vascular development, the choroid, and diseases of the retina. Along the way, he mentored countless students, fellows, and much of the field in his areas of expertise. 

Leaders are Born Here

The Wilmer Eye Institute has produced more ophthalmology leaders than any other institution. See where some of these leaders have landed and what their leadership roles entail.    

Get to Know Ji Yi

Ji Yi, Ph.D. joined the Wilmer Eye Institute in September as an assistant professor of ophthalmology with a joint appointment in biomedical engineering. We spoke to Yi to learn more about his work and how it stands to benefit patients and the field. 

My Wilmer Memory

For Wilmer alumni, seemingly simple objects or places can elicit a flood of memories of their time at Wilmer. In this occasional series, we look at some of the things and places at Wilmer that have the power to transport our alumni – and through them, us – back in time. 

The Reading Chair

“In the library, there’s this little reading room with a leather chair. I can only imagine how many people have sat in it, trying to get some studying in before rounds or late on-call. I think we all remember sitting in that chair — sometimes trying to get some sleep, and sometimes trying to read.” Shameema Sikder, M.D. Wilmer Class of 2010

Bressler, in NYT, Cites Lack of Outdoor Time in Rise of Myopia in Children

Decreased exposure to outdoor light appears to be a major factor in rising rates of myopia in young people around the world, says Neil Bressler, M.D. in a New York Times article on the subject.

Substantial Gift Will Go to Fund Two Professorships at Wilmer 

The School of Medicine received a $16 million gift that includes $6 million for Wilmer Eye Institute. The gift was made by Philip Gerdine on behalf of himself and his late wife, Marjorie, both of whom were patients at Wilmer. The gift will be used to establish the Philip and Marjorie Gerdine Professorship of Ophthalmology for the Cornea Division, and endow the Philip and Marjorie Gerdine Professorship of Ophthalmology for Age-Related Macular Degeneration Research.

Swenor Input Sought by Biden-Harris COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force

At a meeting of the Biden-Harris COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force on April 9, Bonnielin Swenor, M.P.H., Ph.D. stressed the need for funding research that would form the basis of efforts to remedy the problem of health inequities for everyone.

Sage Advice for Women in Ophthalmology

What advice does Bryn Burkholder, M.D. have for physicians looking to match into an ophthalmology residency program? How has Sharon Solomon, M.D. juggled motherhood and life as a physician? Women of Wilmer are well represented in the powerful new book, Women in Ophthalmology: A Comprehensive Guide for Career and Life, now available for download.

Woreta Shares Vision for Equity in Ophthalmology 

As a child, Fasika Woreta, M.D., M.P.H. experienced a lack of diversity in the schools she attended. Fortunately, that changed for Woreta in college and in medical school at Johns Hopkins University. She shares her experience, and her vision for increasing diversity in ophthalmology, in the latest issue of MillenialEye.

Research News

Ensign-Led Team Engineers Neuroprotective Eye Drop

In glaucoma, eye drops are used to deliver IOP-lowering medications to the anterior segment, but degeneration of nerve cells in the retina may progress regardless. A new formula spearheaded by Laura Ensign, Ph.D. is poised to change that dynamic.

Scott Touts Advent of AI-Based Applications for Screening, Monitoring of Sickle Cell Retinopathy

Sickle cell retinopathy can be asymptomatic even in proliferative stages, yet it can still progress to cause vision loss. AI has great potential for screening and tracking disease progression, according to Adrienne Scott, M.D. in the journal NatureEye.

Soiberman and Colleagues ID Possible Therapeutic Target for Keratoconus

Keratoconus usually starts in adolescence, causing the cornea to thin and eventually distort into a cone-like shape that can significantly affect vision. Now Uri Soiberman, M.D. and colleagues have identified gene expression changes that occur in keratoconus, providing a possible therapeutic target for this all too-common condition.

An Inflection Point in Regenerative Medicine? Maybe, says Zack.

When treated with a protein cocktail, rodent retinal ganglion cells showed reversal of changes associated with aging. While much work needs to be done to determine if the research will translate into safe and effective therapy in humans, the science is intriguing, says Donald J. Zack, M.D., Ph.D. and Vittorio Sebastiano, Ph.D. in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Awards and Honors

Ahmed Receives Heed Fellowship

Third-year resident Ishrat Ahmed, M.D., Ph.D. was named a 2021-2022 Heed Fellow. Heed Ophthalmic Foundation fellowships support young men and women in pursuing postgraduate studies in ophthalmology.

Berkenstock is PA Medical Society’Top Physician Under 40′

Meghan Berkenstock, M.D. has been selected as a 2021 Top Physician Under 40 by the Pennsylvania Medical Society.

Collins Named Healthcare Hero

Megan Collins, M.D., M.P.H. was named one of The Daily Record’s 2021 Health Care Heroes for Community Outreach and Education. The awards honor those who have made an impact on the quality of healthcare in the state of Maryland.  Berkenstock is PA Medical Society’Top Physician Under 40′Meghan Berkenstock, M.D. has been selected as a 2021 Top Physician Under 40 by the Pennsylvania Medical Society.

Sheila West Honored for Landmark Discovery to Curb Blindness in Developing Nations 

Sheila West, Ph.D., Pharm.D., a world-renowned expert on environmental factors and disparities causing blindness, was this month awarded the 2020 Helen Keller Prize for Vision Research, considered the “Nobel Prize for Vision.”

Upcoming Events

Dana Center Faculty Series Webinar.

The Dana Center Faculty Series presents “Where You Are From Matters to Your Health,” with Cindy Cai, M.D. 
June 8 from 5:00pm – 6:00pm. Click here to register.

Virtual Grand Rounds

Please join Wilmer for virtual Grand Rounds on Thursday mornings from 7:30am – 8:30am. CME credit is available for Johns Hopkins affiliates. Click here to register for upcoming sessions

Wilmer Science Seminar Series 

The Wilmer Science Seminar Series presents former Wilmer research fellow Kyoko Ohno-Matsui, M.D., Ph.D., chair of Ophthalmology & Visual Science at Tokyo Medical and Dental University, who will present on the topic, “Pathologic Myopia” June 10 from 10:00am–11:00am. Join Meeting

Stay on Top of News and Research at Wilmer Eye Institute

Welcome to Wilmer in Focus, a monthly newsletter featuring the latest on Wilmer’s exciting collaborations, pioneering research, and inspiring patient stories. Stay up to date on major events and initiatives through our website. Learn More

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Global eye hospital specialists converge on Melbourne

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Certificate Course on Community Outreach and Social Marketing of Eye Care

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Head of Lions Eye Donation Service – Victoria

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Gene Therapy: Tom Edwards

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