The Ophthalmic Innovation Program at the Byers Eye Institute at Stanford

The Program

Daniel Palanker, PhD and Mark Blumenkranz MD co-invented the PASCAL patterned scanning laser that is now considered the standard of care in the treatment of diabetic retinopathy and has been used to treat millions of patients worldwide. Retina photo courtesy of Daniel Lavinsky, MD

The Stanford Ophthalmic Innovation Program offers an immersive, year-long didactic and project-based fellowship in the conceptualization and implementation of technology and processes to improve eye care. This includes the sequential stages of development that are necessary for successful commercialization and adoption into patient care paradigms. The curriculum will blend the following four components: hands-on projects, formal coursework, close mentorship, and networking and internship opportunities with members of the Department of Ophthalmology, other Stanford departments, Silicon Valley innovators, and colleagues at the FDA.

Stanford University and the Department of Ophthalmology have existing collaborative educational and research programs in place with the Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH) at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the area of regulatory science. Fellows will have the opportunity to participate in projects within these programs during the course of the year.

The Stanford Ophthalmic Innovation Program is affiliated with the Stanford Byers Center for Biodesign. Fellows of the Ophthalmic Innovation Program will have the opportunity to apply for the two-quarter Biodesign Innovation Course (BioE 274A/B) and participate in selected other Stanford educational programs in these basic areas offered by the university. For more information about Biodesign, please visit biodesign.stanford.edu.

A Tradition of Successful Innovation

David Myung, MD, PhD and Robert Chang, MD co-invented Paxos Scope™, the first combined anterior and posterior ophthalmic camera system for smartphones. Seed funded through a grant from the Stanford Biodesign Program and licensed to Digisight Technologies, Paxos Scope was registered with the FDA as a 510k Class II exempt ophthalmic camera in 2015.

Clinician scientists and basic researchers at the Byers Eye Institute at Stanford have a rich tradition in ophthalmic innovation. Over the past several decades Stanford Ophthalmology faculty have led the way toward a number of ground breaking discoveries and technologies, many of which have been out-licensed through the Stanford Office of Technology Licensing and served as the foundation for the establishment of innovative Silicon Valley companies that translated them into practice-altering commercial products. These technologies are in various stages of evolution ranging from pre-clinical studies to full FDA approval, and have provided the roots for a number of free-standing, venture-backed companies, including Optimedica (which developed the PASCAL and Catalys laser and was acquired by AMO), PEAK Surgical(plasma-mediated surgical tools, acquired by Medtronic), Oculeve (neurostimulation devices for dry eye, acquired by Allergan), Adverum Biotechnologies (gene therapy, NASDAQ:ADVM), Pixium (artificial retinal prosthesis) and DigiSight Technologies (mobile health). Millions of patients worldwide have been impacted by technologies developed by inventors from Stanford Ophthalmology.

 

HOW TO APPLY

Applications are now open and due no later than June 30, 2020 to be considered for the 2021-2022 academic year program.

Please prepare a CV and 1-page personal statement that includes goals for the year and career following the fellowship, and/or any questions via email to the Ophthalmic Innovation Program Fellowship, c/o Katie Majchrzak: kmajchrz@stanford.edu.

Candidate Selection Criteria

It is expected that fellows have an MD and/or PhD Degree with a minimum of two or more years of post-graduate training or work experience in one of several disciplines including Ophthalmology, Vision Science Research, Bioengineering, Computer Science, or Business. The timeframe of the fellowship is intended to be 12 months.

Candidates with one or more of the following will be given strong consideration:

  • Ophthalmology residency or fellowship (encouraged but not required)
  • PhD in areas with relevance to vision science (neuroscience, molecular/cellular biology, biophysics, biochemistry, chemistry, engineering, computer science, or related disciplines)
  • MBA and/or industry experience
  • Other significant experience in ophthalmic (or related) research and innovation in industry or academic institutions
  • We expect that all will have a passion for and some existing ideas about transforming eye care

OPHTHALMIC INNOVATION FELLOWS

2019-2020 OPHTHALMIC INNOVATION FELLOW

Aaron Webel, MD, MBA

Aaron Webel, MD, MBA is the current 2019-2020 Ophthalmic Innovation Fellow. He recently finished his clinical glaucoma fellowship at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, and prior to that completed his ophthalmology residency at the University of Florida. He is a graduate of the MD/MBA dual degree program at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine and Kenan-Flagler Business School. He joined Hatteras Venture Partners in Durham, NC as the Discovery Fellow where he provided strategic ophthalmic disease target recommendations for the novel injection technology developed by one of their ophthalmology portfolio companies. He has a keen interest in ophthalmic medical device research and was recently a co-principal investigator on a University of Florida Opportunity Seed Fund grant to develop a novel implantable thin-film intraocular pressure sensor. Aaron’s current interests include development of minimally invasive glaucoma drainage device technologies with a goal of greater predictability and lower failure rates than current glaucoma surgical modalities. In his spare time, he enjoys playing ultimate frisbee and exploring the Bay Area with his wife Mackenzie and two daughters, Alta and Berit.

 

2018-2019 OPHTHALMIC INNOVATION FELLOW

Frank Brodie, MD, MBA 

Frank Brodie, MD, MBA is joining the Department of Ophthalmology as the 2018-19 Innovation Fellow. He recently completed his Ophthalmology residency at University of California San Francisco. Prior to that, Frank was at Harbor UCLA for an internal medicine internship. He completed his MD and MBA at University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and The Wharton School respectively. Frank is very active in translational research, during his residency, in conjunction with Caltech, he developed a device to assist patients position correctly after intraocular surgery. More recently he has focused on pediatric ophthalmology. Frank is developing a system to provide custom glasses for children with craniofacial malformations using advance imaging technology coupled with 3D printing. Additionally, he has been working with scientists at Caltech to develop a novel method to prevent amblyopia and glaucoma in children born with congenital cataracts. In his free time, Frank enjoys exploring the Bay Area with his wife Rachel, an OB/GYN at Kaiser, and their dog Harley, a 1-year-old Golden Retriever.

 

2017-2018 OPHTHALMIC INNOVATION FELLOW

Alexander Kreymerman, MS, PhD

Alexander Kreymerman holds an MS in molecular biology, a PhD in neuroscience, and has received scientific training within ophthalmology departments at University of Miami, University of California San Diego, and Stanford University.  His major research projects and professional interests are focused on retinal regeneration and neuroprotection, the development of novel, high resolution, and minimally invasive intraoperative imaging and microscopy devices, as well as gene therapy, stem cells, and drug development for ocular pathologies. As the Innovation Fellow in the ophthalmology department, Alex pushed forward research that focused on gene therapy and stem cell technology for modeling and designing treatments in retinal dystrophies, as well as intraoperative imaging techniques for retinal and orbital surgery. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his family, hiking, and diving.

 

2016-2017 OPHTHALMIC INNOVATION FELLOW

Zachary Bodnar, MD

Dr. Bodnar was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah. He attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he earned a BS in electrical engineering and computer science, followed by a masters of engineering, also in electrical engineering and computer science. He worked for the enterprise software startup Endeca for several years, prior to its acquisition by Oracle, until he matriculated in Dartmouth Medical School where he earned his MD. Dr. Bodnar completed the Ophthalmic Pathology and Research fellowship at the John A. Moran Eye Center, at the University of Utah, internship in general surgery at the Mayo Clinic Hospital in Phoenix and residency in ophthalmology at Saint Louis University. His academic interests include machine vision, machine learning, digital signal processing and their applications to ophthalmic imaging and medical informatics. In his spare time Dr. Bodnar enjoys snowboarding, backpacking and photography.

Faculty

Mark Blumenkranz, MD
PROGRAM DIRECTOR
H. J. SMEAD PROFESSOR OF OPHTHALMOLOGY, EMERITUS

David Myung, MD, PhD
PROGRAM CO-DIRECTOR
ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF OPHTHALMOLOGY

Darius Moshfeghi, MD
FACULTY MENTOR
PROFESSOR OF OPHTHALMOLOGY

Daniel Palanker, PhD
FACULTY MENTOR
PROFESSOR OF OPHTHALMOLOGY

Robert Chang, MD
FACULTY MENTOR
ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF OPHTHALMOLOGY

Edward Wood, MD
FACULTY MENTOR
ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF OPHTHALMOLOGY

Jeffrey Goldberg, MD, PhD
FACULTY MENTOR
PROFESSOR OF OPHTHALMOLOGY AND CHAIRMAN

Visionary Innovation Mentors

Brook Byers, MBA
PARTNER
KLEINER PERKINS CAUFIELD AND BYERS

Emmett Cunningham Jr., MD, PhD, MPH
SENIOR MANAGING DIRECTOR, BLACKSTONE LIFE SCIENCES 
ADJUNCT CLINICAL PROFESSOR, BYERS EYE INSTITUTE

Malvina Eydelman, MD
DIRECTOR OF THE OFFICE OF OPHTHALMIC, ANESTHESIA, RESPIRATORY, ENT AND DENTAL DEVICES- FDA

Gil Kliman, MD, MBA
MANAGING DIRECTOR
INTERWEST PARTNERS

Dimitri Azar, MD, MBA
CLINICAL LEAD, OPHTHALMOLOGY PROGRAMS
VERILY LIFE SCIENCES