Palo Alto, CA – The Stanford Ophthalmology Department highlighted its clinical, surgical, and research achievements in its first annual report Vision Matters: Imagining the Future. In recent years, the department has grown dramatically doubling its faculty and clinical fellows.
What is especially impressive is the emphasis the department is putting on research. With its sixty research staff, many newly hired, and forty-two postdoctoral researchers, in 2018 the department rose to 7th in NIH ranking with 9.9 million in NIH funding. This growth has excelerated basic science and translational eye research aimed at meeting the needs of an increasing number of patients being seen in the operating room and clinic.
Stanford Ophthalmology has a long history of innovation, so it is no surprise that the department is committed to collaborations across the university and into Silicon Valley. These partnerships have often resulted in new medical devices and research outcomes that guide precision health treatment plans.
Residents and fellows are encouraged to build careers that encompass both medicine and research. The Ophthalmic Innovation Program established in 2015 teaches fellows how to take an idea from inception to the clinic, and the new Stanford Ophthalmology Advanced Research Residency Program (SOAR) gives residents a year to focus on basic science or translational research.
Vice Chair of Research in Ophthalmology Vinit Mahajan M.D., PH.D., 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."
Mahajan recently established the Molecular Surgery Program at Stanford’s Byers Eye Institute. A cornerstone of the program is the Stanford Ophthalmology Biorepository that houses diseased tissues that can be used in research projects exploring novel therapies for hard to treat and rare eye diseases. Mahajan said, “Identifying diseased proteins in patient tissues can help us make a precise diagnosis sooner and lead us to the right medications.”
Providing the best, most up to date patient care is at the core of every Stanford ophthalmology program, new invention, and research project. Patients are benefitting from the development of higher resolution, non-invasive imaging technologies, new molecular, stem cell, and regenerative medicine therapies, and new generations of clinicians who see no boundaries between innovation, research, and clinical medicine.