A letter from David G. Hunter

We are pleased to announce the 2014 Boston Children’s Hospital Visiting Professor Series in Pediatric Ophthalmology. The Department of Ophthalmology includes 15 full-time clinical pediatric ophthalmologists, 5 pediatric optometrists, 2 MEEI faculty affiliates and 9 independent, NIH-funded visual systems researchers with expertise in the development of the visual system, photoreceptors, amblyopia, and the retinal vasculature. This year our Selection Committee has chosen four experts from around the world who are doing leading-edge work in their field.

The Children’s Hospital Ophthalmology Foundation sponsors this series for the benefit of clinicians and researchers in the field of pediatric ophthalmology and strabismus, both to raise awareness of the work of our visiting speakers and to facilitate productive interactions between the visitors and those who attend. We hope that you will consider joining us for one or all of these events.


David G. Hunter, MD, PhD
Ophthalmologist-in-Chief, Boston Children’s Hospital
Professor of Ophthalmology, Harvard Medical School


Featured Speakers

Brenda Gallie, MD (February 26th, 2014)

Dr. Brenda Gallie is an ophthalmologist who has focused on the rare cancer in children, retinoblastoma. She is Director of Dr. Brenda Gallie   the Retinoblastoma Program at SickKids Hospital and Professor of Ophthalmology, Molecular Genetics, and Medical Biophysics, University of Toronto, Senior Scientist at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Affiliated Faculty in Techna. Dr. Gallie was named Distinguished Scientist of the Canadian Institutes for Health Research and received the Order of Ontario for implementing genetic knowledge in care of children with retinoblastoma across Canada.

Dr. Gallie and her research team for over 30 years have contributed to recognition that cancer is a genetic disease. They detailed mechanisms and mutated genes that predispose patients to multiple cancers, when normal cells mutate to premalignant to cancer. In order to deliver this knowledge to cost-effective health care and improve outcomes, Dr. Gallie developed a model of public-private partnership integrating genome knowledge into patient care. To improve quality of complex care, Dr. Gallie and the Techna Health Informatics Research team have built eCare, a disease-specific point-of-care tool extending the health record, and providing highest quality clinical data for research.

Not satisfied that only 8% of the affected children lucky to live in developed countries have access to effective care, she has turned to a global view, where 8000 new children each year are affected by retinoblastoma. With impetus from all stakeholders, especially survivors of retinoblastoma, the One Retinoblastoma World concept was launched in 2012 with participation of more than 25 countries. 

David Williams, PhD (June 18th, 2014) 

David Williams received his Ph.D. from the University of California, San Diego in 1979. He was a postdoctoral fellow at Bell Laboratories, MurrayDavid Williams Hill in 1980 and joined the University of Rochester in 1981, where he has an appointment in the Institute of Optics as well as in the departments of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Biomedical Engineering, and Ophthalmology. He is currently William G. Allyn Professor of Medical Optics. Since 1991, Williams has served as Director of Rochester’s Center for Visual Science, an interdisciplinary research program of 32 faculty interested in the mechanisms of human vision. In 2011, he was appointed Dean for Research of Arts, Science and Engineering where he is responsible for maximizing opportunities for faculty research and scholarship. Williams' research marshals optical technology to address questions about the fundamental limits of human vision. His research team demonstrated the first adaptive optics system for the eye, showing that vision can be improved beyond that provided by conventional spectacles. This work lead to wavefront-guided refractive surgery used throughout the world today. 

More recently, his group has been deploying adaptive optics to obtain microscopic images with unprecedented resolution in the living eye, which is providing a new way to study blinding diseases of the retina and accelerate the development of therapies for them. Williams is a Fellow of the Optical Society of America, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology. Awards he has received include the OSA Edgar G. Tillyer Award in 1998, the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology’s Friedenwald Award in 2006, the Bressler Prize from the Jewish Guild for the Blind in 2007, and the Champalimaud Vision Award in 2012.

Jonathan Horton, MD, PhD (September 24th, 2014)

Dr Jonathan C. Horton

Dr Jonathan C. Horton is the William F. Hoyt Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of California, San Francisco.  He received his undergraduate degree at Stanford University, where he majored in medieval history.  In 1984 he received an MD and PhD from Harvard University, where he was a graduate student in the laboratory of Dr. David H. Hubel and Dr. Torsten N. Wiesel.  He completed a medical internship and a year of neurology residency at Massachusetts General Hospital, followed by an ophthalmology residency at Georgetown University and a fellowship in Neuro-Ophthalmology and Pediatric Ophthalmology at UCSF.  He has been a faculty member in the Departments of Ophthalmology, Neurology, and Physiology at UCSF since 1990.  His current research is focused on strabismus, using clinical, psychophysical, physiological, and anatomical methods to investigate this disorder.   

Simon John, PhD (November 5th, 2014)

Dr. Simon John Dr. Simon John studies the genetics of glaucoma, a potentially blinding eye disease that affects up to 70 million people worldwide. He has served on various advisory panels to the National institutes of Health and other agencies. He is a member of various professional organizations including the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Society for Neuroscience. He has received various awards for his research. Dr. John was honored in both 1997 and 1998 with the Ruth Salta Junior Investigator Achievement Award from the National Glaucoma Research Program of the American Health Assistance Foundation. He received the Cogan Award in 2004 from the Association for Research and Visual Science, to recognize his important contributions to ophthalmology and visual science. Also in 2004, he received the Lewis Rudin Glaucoma Prize from the New York Academy of Medicine for outstanding work in glaucoma. In 2006, he received the Global Glaucoma Award from the Association of International Glaucoma Societies for daring, breakthrough, creative, original body of work and for most important glaucoma paper in 2005. In collaboration with physicists and engineers, John is devising ways to target specific amounts of radiation to parts of the tiny mouse eye so he can determine the molecular mechanism of protection. If this project pans out in mice and humans, it might one day be possible for ophthalmologists to give patients a dose of radiation that would be as safe as a dental x-ray and that would protect against glaucoma for life.