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In the News

Wallace named as VUMC’s New Chair of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences


David Wallace, MD, MPH, the Marilyn K. Glick Professor and chair of the Department of Ophthalmology for Indiana University School of Medicine, has been named as the new chair of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences and director of the Vanderbilt Eye Institute (VEI) for Vanderbilt University Medical Center. He will join VUMC Aug. 1. CLICK HERE to read full article. 

Sternberg to step down after two decades at Vanderbilt

After a long and impactful career at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Paul Sternberg, Jr., MD, is stepping down from his role as chair of the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences and director of the Vanderbilt Eye Institute, effective June 30, 2023. CLICK HERE to read the full article.

Dr. David Calkins Presented with The President's Award by the Glaucoma Research Foundation


The 2022 President’s Award was presented to David J. Calkins, PhD, Vice President for VUMC Research and Vice Chairman and Director for Research of the Vanderbilt Eye Institute, and Director of the Vanderbilt Vision Research Center. This well-deserved award was given in recognition of his ongoing leadership and exemplary commitment to advancing glaucoma research. CLICK HERE to read the full article


These awards are made by the Patient and Family Advisory Councils to recognize outstanding clinicians across the organization and irrespective of job.  For the ambulatory care category, there were over 1600 nominations. The Award was presented by Tom Nantais, Executive Vice President for Adult Ambulatory Operations, Terrell Smith, Director of Patient and Family Engagement, Pam James, Chair of the VUH Patient and Family Advisory Council, and Dr. Paul Sternberg as Chief Medical Officer

Dr. Tamara Fountain Presented the 16th Annual Sternberg, Sr. Lecture


Ribbon Cutting for Vanderbilt Eye Institute Murfreesboro

Vanderbilt expands eye care services in Murfreesboro with new clinic; original location transitioning to a dedicated pediatric eye clinic.


Vanderbilt Eye Institute's Drs. Donahue and Tran chosen as inaugural members of Vanderbilt Academy for Excellent in Clinical Medicine. 


CLICK HERE for the full article in the VUMC reporter

Academy for Excellence in Education Awards and New Member Recognition 2020

As a result of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the Academy for Excellence in Education (AEE) Recognition gathering took place virtually this year on August 31st. There was "live" recognition of the Chazen awardee, Janice Law.

Vanderbilt researchers receive $1.4 million grant to improve outcomes after macular hole repair

A research team from Vanderbilt, led by Yuankai “Kenny” Tao and including VEI faculty Karen Joos and Shriji Patel, have received a $1.4 million grant from the National Eye Institute at the National Institute of Health to identify surgical techniques that improve vision after macular hole repair.

Dr. Deepa Chandrasekaran travels to Ghana to lecture faculty and students about specialty contact lenses.


In November 2019, Dr. Deepa had the opportunity through a grant from Volunteer Optometric Services for Humanity (VOSH) to be able to lecture about specialty contact lenses and how to fit them, to the students and staff at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Department of Optometry and Visual Sciences in Kumasi, Ghana.  She was also privileged to lecture to the optometrists as part of the Ghana Optometric Association meeting in Kumasi. 

Dr. Shieh's Work Highlighted in VUMC Discover

VUMC Discover discussed limbal stem cell deficiencies (LSCD) and its team-based treatment approach with Vanderbilt Eye Institute's Dr. Shieh. LSCD may lead to persistent or recurrent epithelial defects, neovascularization, and subsequent cornea scarring. In addition to decreased vision, the patient also may experience significant light sensitivity or pain. Transplantation is a potential treatment possibly requiring a multi-specialty approach involving oculoplastics surgeons.

Dr. Law awarded 2020 Geoffrey David Chazen Faculty Award for Innovation in Medical Education

The Academy for Excellence in Education is pleased to announce that Dr. Janice Law is the recipient of the 2020 Geoffrey David Chazen Faculty Award for Innovation in Medical Education. This Award was established in 1998 to recognize a faculty member who has made special contributions to the educational programs of the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine through the development and implementation of effective innovation in educational approach. The award was established to honor the memory of Dr. Chazen, who received his MD at Vanderbilt.

Dr. Law is an Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology. She has been extensively involved in graduate and undergraduate medical education, previously served as the Associate Director for Residency Education, and currently serves as the Director for Medical Student Education in the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences. Dr. Law has received numerous honors at the local and national levels for her leadership, educational accomplishments, and contributions to the profession of ophthalmology. She is receiving the Chazen Award for her work in developing an ophthalmology experience that is integrated into the neurology clerkship. This visionary program includes an ophthalmic skills refresher course, a clinical experience at the Vanderbilt Eye Institute, and an ophthalmic skills examination with standardized patients. The educational program has been highly successful, very well received by the medical students, and has tripled student interest in ophthalmology at Vanderbilt.

Dr. Sternberg awarded 2020 J. Donald Gass Medal

Paul Sternberg, Jr., MD has been announced as the 2020 recipient of the prestigious J. Donald Gass Medal by the Macula Society for outstanding contributions to the study of macular diseases.

Dr. Padovani-Claudio receives ASCI Award

Dolly Padovani-Claudio, MD, PhD, is one of four Vanderbilt faculty members receiving a American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI) Council Young Physician-Scientist Award for her studies into vascular diseases of the retina.

Improving Treatment for Neurotrophic Keratopathy

Drs. Christine Shieh and Rachel Sobel are part of a multidisciplinary team at Vanderbilt University Medical Center that has begun performing corneal neurotization, a new procedure with revolutionary potential to improve cornea nerve function and reestablish corneal sensation.

Improving Surgical Guidance During Eye Surgery

Under a new five-year $1.8 million grant from the National Eye Institute, a multidisciplinary team of engineers and clinicians at Vanderbilt University Medical Center including Dr. Joos of the Vanderbilt Eye Institute will advance their work on novel, 4D intraoperative spectrally encoded coherence tomography and reflectometry (iSECTR) technology that allows for simultaneous, intrinsically co-registered and cross-sectional OCT imaging.

How a New Generation Is Transforming the Future of Ophthalmology

Drs. Law and Lindsey were quoted in this Discover article on the changing face of ophthalmology and training. “Millennials are the most educated, the most diverse, and the most tech-savvy of any group that has come before,” Law said. “They are the driving force that is changing ophthalmic treatment paradigms today.”

Collaboration with Dr. Joos highlighted by Vanderbilt School of Engineering

A collaboration between Dr. Joos and Vanderbilt engineers has expanded the capabilities for robotic microsurgery. Professor of mechanical engineering Nabil Simaan, mechanical engineering graduate student Giuseppe Del Giudice, Research Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Science Jin-Hui Shen, and physician Karen M. Joos, have accomplished a preliminary integration of a custom-made OCT probe.

Dr. Sternberg awarded 2019 energEYES award

At the American Academy of Ophthalmology 2019 national meeting, Dr. Sternberg was awarded the energEYES award for displaying exemplary leadership skills by energizing others to improve ophthalmology.

VEI authors the most read article in the Journal of Academic Ophthalmology!

Drs. Jennifer Lindsey and Laura Wayman's article on technology use in ophthalmology resident education was the most read article in the Journal of Academic Ophthalmology.

Small molecule compounds to promote intrinsic, regenerative responses in vivo

Dr. Sabine Fuhrmann's research into retinal pigmented epithelium (RPE) regeneration has been featured by Discover. Her work, funded by a Catalyst Award from Research to Prevent Blindness, will test several small molecule agents which may help the repair and regeneration of RPE in a mammalian model.

Dr. Wayman working with ORBIS

Using Technology to Improve Eye Care in Peru

Dr. Laura Wayman has been a part of the Orbis Volunteer Faculty family for just over a year-and-a-half. In her day job she is Vice Chair for Education at the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, Vanderbilt University Nashville, Tennessee. This recent news article by ORBIS goes into detail about her trips to Peru.

Advances in Treatment of Ocular Tumors

Dr. Daniel's clinical and research focus into ocular oncology was recently featured in this Discover article.

Ophthalmology Times Resident Writers Program

VEI's resident, Dr. Alex DeCastro-Abeger is in the running for the 2019 Ophthalmology Times Resident Writers Award!

He has written a very interesting case along with Dr. Gangaputra and our colleague Dr. Kevin Byram from rheumatology. Cast your vote HERE!

Imaging Hypoxia-induced Retinal Neovascularization

Drs. Uddin and Penn have recently been featured in Discover for their work on molecular imaging of neovascularization caused by hypoxia. This builds upon their 2016 publication building a "fluorescence-imaging probe capable of detecting retinal-hypoxia in living animals".

Eye Institute receives $10 million gift for vision research efforts

The Vanderbilt Eye Institute (VEI) has received a $10 million gift—the Institute’s largest to date—that will fund regenerative visual neuroscience research to develop transformative therapies for eye diseases.

Glaucoma can lead to blindness—Putting the squeeze on glaucoma

Dr. Sylvia Groth is quoted in a recent Washington Post article on glaucoma, the disease, and its future. This article was first published online with better diagrams in the Knowable Magazine.

Research to Prevent Blindness Awards 3 Grants to the Department of Ophthalmology

Research to Prevent Blindness (RPB) recently awarded three grants to the Department of Ophthalmology to support research into the causes, treatment, and prevention of blinding eye diseases. Sabine Fuhrmann, PhD, Associate Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences and Cell and Developmental Biology received the RPB/American Macular Degeneration Foundation (AMDF) Catalyst Award for Innovative Research Approaches for AMD. Kevin Schey, PhD, Professor of Biochemistry and Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, is the recipient of the RPB Catalyst Award for Innovative Research Approaches for Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD). Finally, the Department of Ophthalmology received an RPB Unrestricted Grant, which provides $115,000 a year to support research activities within the department.

Photograph of Dr. Morrison

Study explores treatment options for babies with cataracts

Dr. David Morrison discusses a recent Pediatric Eye Disease Investigator Group (PEDIG) study looking at effects of cataract surgery on children. The original study was published in JAMA Ophthalmology. Other PEDIG participants from VUMC include Sean Donahue, MD, PhD, Nancy Benegas, MD, Megan Flemmons, MD, Anvesh Reddy, MD, Stephanie Jian, OD (Doctor of Optometry), and Lori Ann Kehler, OD.

Low Vision: Improving Management Strategies

Dr. Robinson is featured in this Discover article on low vision.

Tackling Diabetic Retinopathy Through Telemedicine

Dr. Chaum's work on telescreening of diabetic retinopathy patients using the Telemedical Retinal Image Analysis and Diagnosis (TRIAD) he co-developed is featured in this Discover article.

Using Prism Therapy to Correct Exotropia

A Pediatric Eye Disease Investigator Group (PEDIG) study, co-led by Dr. Morrison, on treating intermittent exotopia is featured in this Discover article.

NEI grants help bolster glaucoma research efforts

Photograph of Drs. Rex and Calkins

Photograph of Janet Lemonis

Employee Spotlight: Janet Lemonis, COA, CREDO Award Winner

Compassion, advocacy for patients with visual impairment put Eye Institute employee Janet Lemonis in the spotlight

Photograph of Dr. Calkins

Calkins lands innovation award from Research to Prevent Blindness

David Calkins, PhD, vice chair and director of Research at the Vanderbilt Eye Institute, has been granted one of the preeminent awards in vision research — the Research to Prevent Blindness (RPB) Stein Innovation Award.

Photograph of Dr. Sternberg

Sternberg’s retina research contributions recognized

Paul Sternberg Jr., MD, G.W. Hale Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at Vanderbilt and chair of the department, has been named to receive the 2018 Award of Merit in Retina Research Recipient by the Retina Society.

Photograph of Dr. Mawn

Study explores accuracy of residency applications

“Although others have identified unverifiable publications as a problem, no one has offered a solution. We are the first to land on a solution, and a really implementable one.”

Photograph of Dr. Sobel

From Music to Medicine, Eye Institute’s Dr. Sobel Follows her Heart

“There is meticulousness and subtlety that goes into carving and shaping reeds that is paralleled in surgery,” said Dr. Sobel, assistant professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. “The smallest details matter.”

Vanderbilt Eye Institute and Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences achieved a ranking of 3rd in National Institutes of Health funding among ophthalmology centers in the United States.


Sternberg_Paul - Headshot - January 15 2014.jpg

Dr. Paul Sternberg named president-elect of AUPO

“It is a tremendous honor to be selected by my peers to lead the association of academic ophthalmology,” said Dr. Sternberg, who is also Chief Patient Experience and Service Officer for Vanderbilt University Medical Center. “As a discipline, ophthalmology has been de-prioritized at medical centers across the nation. We have been almost completely eliminated from the medical school curriculum and are provided little to no institutional funds flow to support our academic programs.”


Employee Spotlight: Dr. Reid Longmuir

VUMC ophthalmologist felled by rare virus has to learn to walk and eat again.


Glaucoma study finds brain fights to preserve vision

A team of researchers, led by David Calkins, PhD, vice chair and director of Research at the Vanderbilt Eye Institute, has made a breakthrough discovery in the field of glaucoma showing new hopes for treatments to preserve vision.


Aqueous humor, microRNAs and glaucoma

A multi-institutional team of investigators including Rachel Kuchtey, MD, PhD, and John Kuchtey, PhD, at Vanderbilt, explored molecular changes in aqueous humor content in glaucoma.


VEI's 10 year Building Anniversary Event!

April 3, 2018


VEI Recognition

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David Calkins, PhD
Rudin Prize
New York Academy of Medicine


Janice Law, MD
AAO Commitment to Advocacy


Tonia Rex, PhD
Audacious Goals competition winner
National Eye Institute


Laura Wayman, MD
Straatsma Award, AAO/AUPO