Last update: May 31, 2017
Up Close and Personal with 2012 Award Winners
I am a partner at Retina and Vitreous of Texas in Houston and have been practicing adult and pediatric vitreoretinal diseases and head up all clinical trial studies for our group. Even after now being 4 years out from fellowship, I am ever more appreciative of the advice and tools that has been taught to me and the friendship with my mentors and retina colleagues through the years. It has been a great joy and privilege to take care of pediatric and adult retinal patients.
I am still trying to pursue some bench research projects though that has been difficult being in private practice for a number of reasons despite having protected academic time now as partner. Much of the research I have been involved in are collaborations with engineering departments on new devices as well as at collaborations with Baylor College of Medicine Dept. of Ophthalmology. My specific focus has been on on nanophotoreceptor technology and nano-hydrocarbon free radical scavenging clusters for variety of ocular diseases as well as optical polarimetry for glucose detection. I have been finding ways to leverage my PhD background in optics and nanotechnology to provide meaningful advice clinically in device development discussions since time constraints has made it difficult to do those things myself.
My children continue to grow faster than anticipated with all the activities that go along with it. I have a new found respect for weekend chess tournaments of which my son is heavily involved (it’s almost as bad as swim meets) and my daughter who still wants to ride on my shoulders and is way too heavy to be on my shoulders.
I am an assistant professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, Cancer Biology, and Radiation Oncology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Director of Ocular Oncology at the Vanderbilt Eye Institute.
In addition to general medical and surgical retina, my practice focuses on the treatment of ocular tumors in adults and children. My research focuses on drug discovery for retinoblastoma using a rabbit model we developed for endovascular, direct intra-ophthalmic artery and intravitreal drug delivery. In addition, I am working to develop non-invasive, optical methods of intraocular tumor diagnosis and molecular prognostication, as well as new, vision-sparing treatments for melanoma. My research is currently supported by 7 active NEI and foundation grants, and I was named an “Emerging Vision Scientist” by the Association for Eye and Vision Research.
My wife and I are expecting our second child in October 2017.
I am delighted to continue with the growing team at Southeastern Retina Associates (SERA) in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Our clinical trials program continues to grow steadily. We are fortunate to participate in multiple trials for a variety of retinal diseases from industry sponsored studies to NEI generated protocols. In the near future we look forward to enrolling patients into our first surgical clinical trial. I am excited to contribute further from Chattanooga and challenge myself to maintain the high standards for integrity, excellence in patient care, and commitment to advancing the field already demonstrated by the SERA physicians over the last three decades.
Though I am lucky enough to have work that I enjoy, I truly cherish spending time with friends and family. In particular, I am enjoying the outdoors activities in Chattanooga year-round.
I am still at University of Southern California, Department of Ophthalmology, as Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology where I have been for the past three years. It has been a very exciting few years. I was lucky enough to get a K08 award in 2016 and am finishing the first year of that award studying the correlation between ischemia and hypoxia in retinal vascular disease. In addition, over the past two years, my group has completed several studies using OCT Angiography to evaluate changes in retinal capillary density and morphology in diabetic retinopathy, retinal venous occlusion and uveitis. We are currently conducting a multi-centered study to further explore the role of OCTA in the evaluation of microvascular retinal changes. The OCTA work has garnered a lot of attention and I have several new collaborations aimed at improving and further developing novel OCTA applications for evaluating retinal vascular disease. On the home front, we have three kids now and it’s kind of crazy but a lot of fun.
I still reside in Lexington, KY as a physician-scientist at the University of Kentucky. We recently opened a new 50,000 square foot clinical facility which is combined with the new Shriner’s hospital on campus. I have continued my research efforts focused on epigenetic regulation of inflammatory gene expression and molecular imaging of retinal cell death. I am also very busy clinically with a surgical retina practice and very involved with our awesome UK/Retina Associates of Kentucky combined vitreoretinal fellowship program. I recently presented new data on genomic landscaping of non-coding RNA expression in AMD at the American Society of Human Genetics and a potential role for interferon inhibition in the treatment of dry AMD at Keystone. We are reaching new levels in science with next-generation sequencing and editing that will have a huge impact on our field in the future. My children, Matai and Grey, are already 12 and 10, and my lovely wife, Blythe Savage, continues to design gorgeous works of wearable art for her independent label Winslow & Ellsworth. Again, if you ever come through Lexington, please give me a heads up, so we can get together for some horse racing and bourbon!
Gratefully, I remain married to my lovely wife, Blythe Savage, now of 10 years, with an upcoming and much deserved anniversary celebration. If anyone is traveling through Lexington and wants to enjoy some horses and bourbon, you know what to do! Take care and best of luck to you all.
Have you recently moved? Did you start or join a new practice or change academic institutions? If you would like your information to appear on this News page, please email karen.baranick