An internationally recognized expert in Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) and renowned vitreoretinal surgeon, Demetrios Vavvas, MD, PhD, was promoted to Professor of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School (HMS), effective June 1, 2021.
He is the first incumbent of the Monte J. Wallace Ophthalmology Chair in Retina and the Associate Director of the Retina Service at Mass Eye and Ear. Dr. Vavvas was the first to describe the use of trans-conjunctival minimal invasive vitrectomy for the management of complicated cataract surgery and eye trauma, which is now the standard of care for these conditions.
An accomplished researcher and scholar, Dr. Vavvas’ research focuses on identifying the potential mechanisms of AMD, with particular focus on the modalities of neuronal cell death and neuroprotection, as well as the role of AMPK and LAMP2 in eye pathophysiology. His clinical research using high-dose statins to reverse certain hazardous AMD characteristics in a high-risk non-neovascular cohort was the first demonstration that AMD pathology could be reversed with potential functional benefits to the patient.
Generous with his time and skills, he mentors and teaches numerous clinical and research fellows. Ten of his past trainees now have faculty positions as Assistant, Associate or Full Professors at top academic medical institutions around the world. Dr. Vavvas founded and co-directs the Mass Eye and Ear Annual Vitrectomy Couse, one of the premier vitreoretinal fellowship training courses in the country, now in its eleventh year. In 2007, he received the Mass Eye and Ear Fellow of the Year Teaching Award, and he was nominated for the HMS Excellence in Mentoring Award in 2008, 2009, 2020, and 2021, as well as the HMS Barbara J. McNeil Faculty Award for Exceptional Institutional Service to the medical school in 2019 and 2020.