Highlights from the 2019 Annual Meeting and Alumni Reunion

June 13, 2019

Harvard Ophthalmology hosted its Annual Meeting and Alumni Reunion on June 7-8. The CME-accredited event featured faculty and alumni lectures, award presentations, a poster contest and networking opportunities. The event was co-chaired by faculty members  Joseph B. Ciolino, MD; Gena Heidary, MD, PhD; Daniel R. Lefebvre, MD, FACS; Joan Miller, MD and Joseph F. Rizzo III, MD.

Mariana Mead Lecture

Joan W. Miller and Sharon F. Freedman

During the Annual Meeting on Friday, Sharon F. Freedman, MD, Harvard Ophthalmology alumnus and Chief of Pediatric Ophthalmology at Duke University School of Medicine, presented the Mariana D. Mead lecture. Her talk focused on treatment strategies for refractory congenital and childhood glaucoma, including the use of pharmacologic agents and modified surgical interventions.

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.

Iraty Award for Research in Retinal Diseases

Joan W. Miller and Jason Comander

Jason I. Comander, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology, received the 2019 Iraty Award. This award was established by an anonymous donor to honor the life and work of Dr. Charles Schepens.

Dr. Comander is a vitreoretinal surgeon, who specializes in the pathogenesis and treatment of inherited retinal diseases, or IRDs. The Iraty award will support two of his research projects: DNA base-editing as a treatment for inherited retinal degenerations (IRDs) caused by mutations in large genes, and the application of high-throughput methods of functional genomics to genes involved in IRDs.

Trainee Poster Contest

Trainee Poster Contest

On Friday evening, residents and fellows participated in the Annual Trainee Poster Contest at the Boston Harbor Hotel. The Poster Contest was judged by David S. Friedman, MD, PhD, MPH, Co-Director, Glaucoma Center of Excellence; Ula V. Jurkunas, MD, Associate Professor of Ophthalmology; Leo A. Kim, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology; and Hajirah N. Saeed, MD, Instructor in Ophthalmology. The evening concluded with a celebratory gala dinner.

In the basic and translational research category Michelle LeBlanc, PhD, a research fellow at Mass. Eye and Ear, won first place, and Wonkyung Cho, MD, also a research fellow at Mass. Eye and Ear, won second place.

In the clinical research category, Ryan Collantes, MD, a research fellow at Mass. Eye and Ear, won first place, and Shawn Lin, MD, a clinical fellow at Mass. Eye and Ear, won second place.

Alumni Reunion

M. Roy Wilson

The Alumni Reunion program included alumni presentations from representatives and Distinguished Achievement Award Lectures.

Elio Raviola, MD, Professor of Ophthalmology, Emeritus, and Bullard Professor of Neurobiology, Emeritus at Harvard Medical School, presented the 2019 Distinguished Research Achievement Award Lecture. A Leading researcher of physiology of myopia and visual systems, Dr. Raviola discussed the two types of retinal amacrine cells and how they perform radically different mechanisms in vision. 

Nancy J. Newman, MD, the LeoDelle Jolley Chair in Ophthalmology and Professor of Ophthalmology and Neurology at Emory University School of Medicine, presented the 2019 Distinguished Clinical Achievement Award Lecture. An author of more than 450 publications and an accomplished lecturer, Dr. Newman discussed her research on Leber’s hereditary optic neuropathy, a rare degenerative eye disease that leads to subacute irreversible blindness.

Elio Raviola