Clinical Trials Staff

  • Mary Schmitz-Brown, BS, CCRC - Assistant Director of Clinical Research

    Mary Schmitz-Brown serves with enthusiasm as the Assistant Director of Clinical Research for the Department of Ophthalmology, and the Eye and Ear Clinical Research Center. She received her B.S. in Marine Biology with work in a Merchant Marine License Option and as a member of Corps staff in 1988 from Texas A&M University. Mary has some doctoral work in Pharmacology and is a Certified Clinical Research Coordinator (CCRC). Prior to joining the Ophthalmology Clinical Research Center at UTMB in 2015, Mary was a Lead Coordinator for multiple complex studies at the NASA Flight Analog Research Unit (FARU). The FARU studied countermeasures to microgravity , including Spaceflight Associated Neuro- ocular Syndrome (SANS) and associated visual impairment. She received awards and recognition for her work and dedication to the NASA BioAstronautics team. Prior to her work at Johnson Space Center, Mary had 18 years of research in cancer, metabolism and biodefense research. She has published work in combinatorial chemistry and intracellular calcium signaling.
  • Tamila Williams, BA - Clinical Research Coordinator

    Tamila Williams, BA is a clinical research coordinator for the Eye and Ear Clinical Research Center. Tamila graduated in 2004 from Tashkent State University in Economic Relations. Tamila has enriched experience in Clinical Ophthalmology, she started her career as an ophthalmic assistant at Baylor Scott and White in 2011. She joined UTMB ophthalmology in 2012 as an ophthalmic assistant and started her journey in research in the Eye and Ear Clinical Research Center in 2017.

    Tamila trains and supervises medical students and collaborates with residents and fellows in research projects while providing top notch care to our clinical trial participants. Tamila has extensive knowledge in ophthalmic diagnostic testing and procedures and is passionate in providing excellent patient care.

  • Valentina Reffatto, PhD - Research Scientist

    Valentina Reffatto, PhD, is a research scientist for the department of Ophthalmology with the Eye and Ear Research Center. Dr. Reffatto obtained her PhD from the King’s College London, and conducted her ophthalmology postdoctoral training at the world renowned Moorfields Eye Hospital, University College London (UCL).  At UCL she worked with a prominent team of internationally renowned experts and active leaders of the field, and successfully developed a novel imaging method to analyze sub-retinal deposits, which led to the publication of a PNAS paper. Dr. Reffatto progressed her research in age related macular degeneration at the University of Tubingen, Germany before joining UTMB in 2014.

    Dr. Reffatto’s present research interests include the effect of neuroprotection on Glaucoma progression, and the mechanism of retinal pathologies development. She has also been involved in the development of novel intraocular drug delivery systems. Dr, Reffatto work has been well recognized, and she has received awards from regional and international conferences.

    Dr. Reffatto’s passion is teaching. She has been training and mentoring medical students participating in research projects with the Eye and Ear Research Center. In her career she has supervised more than 20 students, supporting two graduates’ students during their final dissertation.