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Byers Eye Institute Climbs in the Rankings

Jan 4 2021

Posted In:

20/20 Blog

Palo Alto, CA —Ophthalmology Times recently ranked Stanford’s Byers Eye Institute #12 for Best Overall Program and #9 for Best Research Program.

Vinit Mahajan M.D., Ph.D., professor and vice chair of ophthalmology research, was excited to help lead the impressive group of physicians and scientists whose groundbreaking research draws on collaborations across disciplines and universities and whose innovations are spurred by relationships with Silicon Valley industry.

Mahajan said, “Our department culture and energy is like a Silicon Valley startup. We continue to build on the strengths of Stanford while recruiting some of the most exciting researchers in the world. There is a genuine spirit of cooperation and mission on curing blindness.”

With over sixty research staff and dozens of postdoctoral researchers, in 2018 the department rose to 7th in NIH ranking with 9.9 million in NIH funding and to 6th in 2020. This growth has accelerated basic science and translational eye research aimed at meeting the needs of an increasing number of patients with complex eye disease. The funding and department size continues to grow dramatically.

Mahajan said, “We have had a very deliberate strategy for recruitment and mentoring, and its worked. There are very few departments that have had the rapid 'delta' we have."

Mahajan believes that innovations and collaborations are ushering in a new era of opportunities and breakthroughs in eye disease. He said, "Stanford Ophthalmology is the perfect breeding ground for new ideas." 

Stanford Ophthalmology Chairman, Jefferey Goldberg M.D., Ph.D., said, “These rankings are based on surveys sent to chairpersons and residency directors and thus reflect a measure of reputation and impact across care, research and education.”

With the support of Goldberg and collaborations with colleagues, Mahajan established the Molecular Surgery Program at Stanford’s Byers Eye Institute. A cornerstone of the program is the Stanford Ophthalmology Biorepository that collects diseased tissues to be used in research projects exploring novel therapies for hard to treat and rare eye diseases.

Mahajan concluded, “We've created a new era for ophthalmology research and innovation at Stanford. We are just beginning to see the impact of our leadership team. The culture at Stanford allows for big ideas and risk taking, the foundation of transformational research breakthroughs.”