Clinical Trials Staff

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

    Mary Schmitz-Brown 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 Lead Coordinator for the Flight Analog Research Unit (FARU) in support of multiple complex studies. 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, intracellular calcium signaling and gastroenterology.
  • Valentina Reffatto, PhD - Research Scientist

    Valentina Reffatto 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.