Highlights from the 2016 Harvard Ophthalmology Annual Meeting and Alumni Reunion

June 30, 2016

Attracting more than 330 alumni, faculty, and trainees, the 2016 HMS Ophthalmology Annual Meeting and Alumni Reunion offered an array of continuing medical education (CME) events as well as opportunities for networking and reconnecting with classmates. Most attendees were from the New England and Tristate areas, although a few traveled from as far as California, Singapore, and India. All nine HMS Ophthalmology affiliates were represented.

Co-chaired by Ula Jurkunas, MD, and Gena Heidary, MD, the Annual Meeting on June 10th featured faculty presentations on scientific and clinical topics related to diabetic macular edema, age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, ocular inflammatory disease, cataracts, and more. As the 2016 Mariana Mead Lecturer, alumna Kathy Colby, MD, PhD, described the past, present, and future of Fuchs’ dystrophy. In the afternoon, alumni toured Mass. Eye and Ear’s facilities (either new or under renovation). In the evening, more than 50 trainees participated in the Annual Trainee Poster Contest, held during a cocktail reception at the Four Seasons hotel. Entries were reviewed by a four-judge faculty panel: Peter Veldman, MD; Lucia Sobrin, MD, MPH; Reza Dana, MD, MSc, MPH; and Eli Peli, OD. The evening concluded with a celebratory gala dinner.

The Alumni Reunion, held on June 11th and chaired by Joseph Rizzo III, MD, held special significance this year as it was dedicated to the late Simmons Lessell, MD, one of the departments most esteemed teachers, mentors, and leaders in medical education (See Dr. Rizzo's tribute to Dr. Lessell in this video). The program included a department update, introductions to the newest alumni, and alumni presentations from the classes of 1966 to 2016 (classes ending in 1 and 6). Roger Steinert, MD, (via video conference) and Richard Masland, PhD, presented their Distinguished Clinical and Research Achievement Award lectures, respectively. As Dr. Steinert was not able to attend the meeting in person, Ann Bajart, MD, accepted his award on his behalf.

The event was sponsored by Harvard Ophthalmology, Genentech, Bausch & Lomb, Mass. Eye and Ear Alumni Association, Mass. Eye and Ear, Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear, Boston Children’s Hospital, Joslin Diabetes Center, and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

2016 Awards

  • Gragoudas Prize for Best Basic and Translational Paper by a Mass. Eye and Ear trainee
    Rosaria Fernandez-Godino, PhD, for her paper titled “A local complement response by RPE causes early-stage macular degeneration” published in Human Molecular Genetics.
  • Gragoudas Prize for Best Basic and Translational Paper by a Mass. Eye and Ear trainee
    Avni Patel, MD, for her paper titled “Visual Outcomes after Proton Beam Irradiation for Choroidal Melanomas Involving the Fovea” published in Ophthalmology.
  • Cornea Center of Excellence Best Resident Research Award in Cornea and Refractive Surgery
    Emma Davies, MD, for her paper titled “Herpes Zoster Ophthalmicus: Declining Age at Presentation” which was publish in British Journal of Ophthalmology
  • Annual Trainee Poster Award for Basic and Translational Research
    Sharad Mittal, PhD, for his poster titled "Mesenchymal stem cells restore corneal transparency via secretion of hepatocyte growth factor"
    Li Wang, MD, PhD, for her poster titled "In Silico reconstructed ancestral adeno-associated viruses transduce mouse anterior segment"
  • Annual Trainee Poster Award for Clinical Research
    Aubrey Gilbert, MD, PhD, for her poster titled "Radiographic features of pediatric idiopathic intracranial hypertension"
    Ines Laines, MD, for her poster titled "Structural changes associated with delayed dark adaption in age-related macular degeneration" (also received award in 2015)
  • Distinguished Clinical Achievement Award
    Roger Steinert, MD, presented "From Resident to Department Chair and Everything in Between" via video conference
  • Distinguished Research Achievement Award
    Richard Masland, PhD, presented "Optogenetic Therapies for Blindness: Problems and Prospects"

Photography and Videos:

  • 2016 Photo Slide Show
  • 2016 Mariana Mead Lecture (Kathryn Colby, MD, PhD)
  • 2016 Tribute to Simmons Lessell, MD (Joseph Rizzo III, MD)
  • 2016 Distinguished Clinical Achievement Award Lecture (Roger Steinert, MD)
  • 2016 Distinguished Research Achievement Award Lecture (Riachard Masland, PhD)

Photography by Pierce Harman

See also: Alumni, Education, Events