Internationally renowned clinician-scientist Joel S. Schuman, MD, whose pioneering work has led to significant advances in the detection and treatment of glaucoma, was appointed chair of the Department of Ophthalmology at NYU Langone Medical Center, effective January 1, 2016.
Dr. Schuman joins NYU Langone following a notable career at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, where he was a distinguished professor and chair of ophthalmology, and the director of the UPMC Eye Center. Dr. Schuman also held appointments at the university’s McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition, and as professor of bioengineering at the Swanson School of Engineering.
“We are pleased to welcome Dr. Schuman to NYU Langone to lead our exceptional team of experts in the Department of Ophthalmology,” said Robert I. Grossman, MD, the Saul J. Farber Dean and CEO of NYU Langone Medical Center. “We are confident that he will bring both innovative vision and deep expertise to his role to help uphold and propel our status as leaders in this field.”
A National Institutes of Health-funded researcher, Dr. Schuman and his colleagues were the first to discover a molecular marker for glaucoma, a disease that damages the eye’s optic nerve and can result in irreversible vision loss. The discovery has paved the way for advances in the detection and treatment of glaucoma, which often presents with no symptoms.
To aid in early detection, Dr. Schuman was a member of the team that developed a groundbreaking medical imaging procedure that creates a 3-D map of the eye, called optical coherence tomography (OCT). This quick and non-invasive procedure allows ophthalmologists to measure the thickness of the retina and better diagnose retinal diseases. Dr. Schuman and coworkers continue to improve this technology which has revolutionized research and treatment in the field.
After graduating cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Columbia University, Dr. Schuman received his medical degree from Mount Sinai School of Medicine. He completed his residency in ophthalmology at the Medical College of Virginia, and clinical and research fellowships in glaucoma at the Howe Laboratory of Ophthalmology, part of Harvard Medical School’s Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary.
Dr. Schuman and colleagues were honored in 2012 with the Champalimaud Vision Award for invention and validation of a revolutionary imaging system that reveals vivid details of eye anatomy, and Dr. Schuman also was given the Carnegie Life Sciences Award. He received the New York Academy of Medicine’s Lewis Rudin Glaucoma Prize, the largest award in glaucoma, in 2002. In 2013, he received the American Academy of Ophthalmology Life Achievement Honor Award, and he was named a Gold Fellow of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology Fellows Class of 2014. He has published more than 300 peer-reviewed scientific journal articles, authored or edited eight books, and contributed more than 50 book chapters.
The NYU Langone Department of Ophthalmology, one of the oldest and most prestigious in the country, provides leadership in research, education, and patient care. It oversees one of the largest residency training programs in the country as well as fellowship training in glaucoma, oculoplastic surgery, pediatric ophthalmology, and medical retina. Current research includes a particular focus on imaging, retinal metabolism, glaucoma and retinal diagnostics, and the translation of basic discoveries and inventions to clinical practice.