Research Opportunities

Leaders in ophthalmology must not only practice what is known, but also advance the field through research and publication. Each resident is expected to design, conduct, and publish a research study on a clinical, surgical, educational or evidence-based medicine research question in the field of ophthalmology. Research findings will be presented at the UTMB Health OVS Summer Resident Research Day or another professional conference. ARVO abstracts are due in December. Effective on January 2015, the Ophthalmology Departments at the University of Texas Medical Branch and the Houston Methodist Hospital will sponsor the Annual National Resident Research Conference (NERC). Residents in the department will have opportunities of participating in and organizing the NERC.
Every clinical research project (even chart reviews) must have UTMB Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval. Every research project using animals must have UTMB Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) approval.

Research Rotation
Our residents are given four weeks protected time during the second year to develop and complete a research project. Drs. Wenbo Zhang (Associate Program Director for research) and Massoud Motamedi (Vice Chair for Research) will coordinate research facilities in the campus and facilitate residents to develop publishable projects after residents are enrolled in the program. With the assistance of our faculty, our residents are expected to submit at least one article for publication during their residency.

Post -Residency
Ph.D. Program OVS offers a unique program for clinicians with a strong research interest in visual sciences. In conjunction with the UTMB Health graduate program, residents can begin graduate work towards a Ph.D. in Neuroscience or Neurobiology during their time here. Clinicians who have finished their residency work also are eligible. Depending on research progress, it is estimated that residents can earn Ph.D. degrees within two years of residency completion. The OVS research faculty are recognized experts in cell and molecular biology and bioengineering.

Faculty Research

Clinical Faculty

Bernard Godley

Bernard F. Godley, MD, PhD, MBA, FACS
Professor and Chair
Research interests:
1. Evaluation of retinal changes in Pre-ecclampsia
2. Non-invasive ocular drug delivery
3. Effect of autologous platelets on photoreceptor regeneration in macular hole

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Matthew Crookston

Matthew D. Crookston, MD
Assistant Professor
Research interests:
1. Myopia control in children
2. Ways to improve LASIK screening techniques and pre-operative data collection in order to improve refractive surgery outcomes
3. Training techniques to improve eye-hand coordination in athletes

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Kevin Merkley

Kevin H. Merkley, MD
Assistant Professor
Research interests:
1.  Incidence of microketatome flap complications in a large series
2. Correlation of keratometry changes with refraction changes after LASIK
3. Accuracy of LASIK surgery in a series of higher myopes
4. Comparison of post operative pain using two techniques for PRK 

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Research Faculty

Massoud Motamedi

Massoud Motamedi, PhD
Professor and Vice Chairman
Dr. Motamedi's reseach interest is to development of a multi-modal imaging platform for high-resolution cellular and molecular imaging of the retina.

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Jiyang Cai

Jiyang Cai, PhD
Assistant Professor
Dr. Cai's research interest is on mechanisms of aging and age-related degeneration in the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE).
1. Rodent model related to AMD
2. Autologous transplant of RPE derived from IPSCs
3. Exosomal microRNA from the RPE

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Yan Chen, PhD
Assistant Professor
Dr. Chen's research interest is directed toward characterizing the functional roles of mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR)-mediated signaling in aging of the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) and AMD.

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Wenbo Zhang, PhD

Wenbo Zhang, PhD
Assistant Professor
Dr. Zhang's research interest is to understand mechanisms of retinal injury in ischemic retinopathy such as diabetic retinopathy, retinopathy of prematurity and glaucoma.

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Research Support

National Eye Institute, National Science Foundation, NASA, Department of Defense, International Retinal Research Foundation, BrightFocus Foundation, Retina Research Foundation, American Heart Association, Departmental Faculty Development Funds.