Highlights from the 2018 Annual Meeting and Alumni Reunion

June 14, 2018

Harvard Ophthalmology hosted its Annual Meeting and Alumni Reunion on June 8-9. The CME-accredited event featured faculty and alumni lectures, award presentations, a poster contest, networking opportunities, and much more. Below are some of the highlights.

Mariana Mead Lecture

Dr. Joe Rizzo presents 2018 Mariana Mead lecture

During the Annual Meeting on Friday, Dr. Joseph Rizzo III, MD, presented the Mariana D. Mead lecture. His talk focused on unraveling the enigma of non-arteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy. 

This lecture was established to honor the memory of Mariana D. Mead, MD, an accomplished ophthalmologist who trained and worked at Harvard Ophthalmology and Mass. Eye and Ear before she passed away in 2002. Dr. D’Amato discussed the development of thalidomide—a potent angiogenesis inhibitor—for the treatment of cancer.

Trainee Poster Contest

Trainees present their posters during the 2018 Annual Meeting

On Friday evening, residents and fellows participated in the Annual Trainee Poster Contest at the Four Seasons hotel. Michael Young, PhD, Associate Professor of Ophthalmology, and Michael Gilmore, PhD, Sir William Osler Professor of Ophthalmology, judged the basic and translational entries, while Melanie Kazlas, MD, Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology, and Jia Yin, MD, PhD, Instructor in Ophthalmology, judged the clinical entries. The evening concluded with a celebratory gala dinner.

Basic and Translational Research
In the basic and translational research category, postdoctoral fellow Ahmad Al Moujahed, MD, won first place for his poster, titled “The role of cytosolic accumulation of nuclear DNA in retinal pigment epithelium dysfunction and age-related macular degeneration.” 

Anitha Krishnan, PhD, a research fellow at Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear, won second place for her poster, “Glaucoma and vision loss is initiated by inflammasome-triggered neuroinflammation."

Clinical Research
In the clinical research category, Swapna Satish Shanbhag, MD, a research fellow at Mass. Eye and Ear, won first place for her poster, "Long-term impact of a protocol for treatment of ocular involvement in the acute phase of Stevens-Johnson syndrome/toxic epidermal necrolysis."

Inês Laíns, MD, a research fellow at Mass. Eye and Ear, won second place for her poster, "Human plasma metabolomics in age-related macular degeneration – Results of two distinct cohorts."

Alumni Reunion

Audience enjoys lecture during 2018 Alumni Reunion

Dr. Rizzo, Co-Chair of the Alumni Reunion and Director of Alumni at Harvard Ophthalmology, opened the day on June 9. The day's program included alumni presentations from representatives of the classes of 1968 to 2013 (classes ending in 3 and 8), a department update from Harvard Ophthalmology Chair Dr. Joan W. Miller, and Distinguished Achievement Award Lectures. 

Dimitri Azar, MD, MBA, presented the 2018 Distinguished Research Achievement Award Lecture. A global leader in corneal disease research and treatment, Dr. Azar discussed corneal wound healing and angiogenic privilege. He is Senior Director of Alphabet Verily Life Sciences and Distinguished University Professor and BA Field Chair of Ophthalmological Research at the University of Illinois College of Medicine. 

C. Stephen Foster, MD, presented the 2018 Distinguished Clinical Achievement Award Lecture. A pioneer in systemic immunomodulatory therapies for ocular inflammatory diseases, Dr. Foster discussed the history of uveitis treatment. He is Professor of Ophthalmology, part-time at Harvard Medical School, Founder and President of the Ocular Immunology & Uveitis Foundation, and Founding Director of the Mass. Eye and Ear Immunology and Uveitis Service. 


Iraty Award for Research in Retinal Diseases
Magali Saint-Geniez, PhD, received the 2018 Iraty Award. This award was established by an anonymous donor to honor the life and work of Dr. Charles Schepens. 

Gragoudas Prize for Best Basic and Translational Paper by a Mass. Eye and Ear Trainee
Xionggao Huang, MD, PhD; Guohong Zhou, MD, PhD; and Wenyi Wu, MD, (co-first authors) received the award for their paper “Genome editing abrogates angiogenesis in vivo," which was published in Nature Communications.

Gragoudas Prize for Clinical Retina Research by a Mass. Eye and Ear Trainee
Inês Laíns, MD,  received the award for “Human plasma metabolomics study across all states of age-related macular degeneration identifies potential lipid biomarkers,” which was published in Ophthalmology.

Best Resident Research Award in Cornea and Refractive Surgery
Yvonne Wang, MD, received the award for her paper “Prosthetic replacement of the ocular surface ecosystem treatment for ocular surface disease in pediatric patients with Stevens-Johnson syndrome."