Program Description:
For residents who would like to develop and maintain an active research program throughout residency, the department will sponsor a pre-residency research year, after the intern year and prior to initiating their first of three years of clinical ophthalmology training. Participants will establish a research program under faculty mentorship and supervision, and will be able to continue their research throughout their residency. Financial support for the extra year and for research resources throughout the subsequent clinical years will be provided by the department in collaboration with the successful applicant, at a level commensurate with research resource needs from the candidate and the mentor. It is expected that this will allow the successful SOAR resident to initiate a research program that, while still benefiting from mentorship, will lead to their independent research program as a junior faculty member following clinical training. It is further expected that this program will accelerate their readiness to compete for faculty positions and NIH and other funding.

Example timeline:

Final year of medical school – 

June-July: In the late summer, submit application through SFMatch; if interested in both the standard residency and SOAR program, be sure to include both when submitting SFMatch materials.

November/December: Ophthalmology residency interviews are conducted on site for selected residency and SOAR applicants. SOAR applicants may request additional meetings with potential research mentors. After interviews but before rank lists are entered, it is typical for lead SOAR candidates to further investigate potential research mentors, e.g. through video or phone meetings, and communicate potential research plans with the residency director (Suzann Pershing), vice chair for research (Vinit Mahajan), and/or chair (Jeffrey Goldberg).

· Year 1 – Internship. During this year, work to establish research and mentorship plan.
· Year 2 – Research year at Stanford.
· Year 3-5 – Ophthalmology clinical residency with elective time throughout for research continuity.

Current Trainees

Class of 2022

Luciano Custo Greig, MD, PhD*

I am originally from Buenos Aires, Argentina, and moved to Miami with my family shortly before starting college. I completed my undergraduate studies at Yale University majoring in Molecular Biology. After deciding to pursue a career as a physician-scientist, I joined the medical scientist training program at Harvard University, graduating with a PhD in Genetics and an MD from the New Pathway program. For my dissertation research, I investigated how different types of neurons in the cerebral cortex are programmed during development, publishing papers in Neuron and Cell Reports. I then completed my internship at the BIDMC Transitional Year Program. 

My decision to come to Stanford for residency was based on the unique combination of rigorous clinical training and strong commitment to supporting career development for physician-scientists. On the clinical side, the program has fantastic faculty who are experts in their fields, but also generous and supportive teachers and mentors. We take care of patients across a variety of clinical settings (the Stanford eye institute, the Palo Alto VA, and a county hospital in Santa Clara), which allows for varying degrees of supervision and autonomy, as well as high surgical volume. On the research side, matching into the SOAR program afforded me the opportunity to dedicate a year to establishing a research project, working with Dr. Sui Wang and Dr. Jeffrey Goldberg to develop new strategies for retinal ganglion cell regeneration. As a first and second year resident, I have continued to work on this project during the half-day a week of protected research time that is integrated into all our clinical rotations. Outside of work, the Bay Area has been a great place to live with almost uniformly perfect weather, all kinds of outdoor activities and a great food scene.

Luciano Custo Greig, MD, PhD, poses with Sui Wang, PhD, outside of the Mary M. and Sash A. Spencer Center for Vision Research at Stanford building.

Luciano Custo Greig, MD, PhD, collaborates with Sui Wang, PhD, on his research in the SOAR Residency Program.

Class of 2023

Lucie Guo, MD, PhD

I am from Chapel Hill, NC. I attended undergrad at Harvard and graduated from the Penn MD/PhD program in 2018, where I did my PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics in Dr. Ben Black's lab. I did my internship year at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center. I spent my SOAR year in Dr. Stanley Qi's lab in Bioengineering/ChEM-H at Stanford, in collaboration with labs of Dr. Yang Hu and Dr. Sui Wang in ophthalmology, where I began projects in developing genome engineering technologies for ocular gene therapy.  I chose Stanford because of its exceptional clinical training and unique support for physician-scientists.

Class of 2024

Caity Logan, MD, PhD

I was born and raised just outside Philadelphia and attended undergrad at Smith in Massachusetts as an English major before heading back to Philly for my MD/PhD at Thomas Jefferson University, where I studied lens development and immunology. I was super excited to continue doing vision research after falling in love with the field and came to Stanford as a SOAR resident, where I've been working in Dr. Myung's lab, doing research on corneal wound healing for the past year. I'm very excited to now start clinical training alongside such wonderful co-residents and mentors. Outside of medicine, I have interests in creative writing, singing and theater as well as hiking and enjoying the California outdoors.

Class of 2025

Brian Soetikno, MD, PhD

I grew up in Union City, CA, not far from Palo Alto and Stanford. I received a BS in Biomedical Engineering from Washington University in St. Louis in 2013. I then completed my PhD in Biomedical Engineering and MD at Northwestern University in Chicago in 2018 and 2020, respectively. I am currently an intern at Stanford, and next year, I plan to perform research in ocular imaging and image analysis as a SOAR resident. I chose Stanford for residency because of its numerous hospitals and training environments, plentiful research opportunities, and welcoming and friendly teachers and trainees. Outside of medicine, I enjoy working out, practicing martial arts, and trying new restaurants.

Sean Wang, MD

I grew up in a combination of Memphis, Chicago, St. Louis, and Los Angeles and attended college at Stanford. I earned my MD in 2020 from Harvard Medical School, during which I trained with Dr. Constance Cepko to develop new gene therapy approaches for retinal degeneration and was an HHMI Medical Research Fellow. I completed my transitional year at Cambridge Health Alliance and was also a fellow at Vida Ventures, a life sciences investment firm. As a SOAR resident, I am working with Dr. Howard Chang in Genetics to study RNAs in the eye and their potential as therapies for ocular disease. In my spare time, I enjoy playing tennis, listening to K-pop, and trying to socialize my dog.

Class of 2026

Sahil Shah, MD, PhD

I was born in Mumbai, India, but grew up in New Jersey where most of my family still lives. After high school, I attended the University of Maryland, College Park for undergrad where I studied Neuroscience and was first exposed to basic science research and clinical care. I wanted to continue both tracks, and therefore joined the MD/PhD program at the University of California, San Diego. My experiences in the ophthalmology free clinic working to preserve sight in the underserved population led me to focus in ophthalmology as a field. I joined the lab of Dr. Jeffrey Goldberg studying the role of protein synthesis and transport in neurodegenerative diseases like glaucoma and developing methods to preserve vision in patients with such conditions. I spent several years in the Bay Area during this time, and really enjoyed the collaborative, approachable atmosphere within the department and the encouragement to pursue other interests like global health, research, or innovation in addition to clinical training. I am excited to join the department as a SOAR resident!

Anna Bettina Toth, MD, PhD

I was born in Budapest, Hungary. My family immigrated to the U.S. when I was five years old, and I spent most of my childhood growing up in Michigan. I attended the University of Michigan for college, where I studied Neuroscience and developed a strong interest in basic science research, especially cellular and molecular neurobiology. This formative experience in the laboratory inspired me to pursue a combined MD/PhD at Northwestern University in Chicago, where my thesis work focused on intracellular calcium signaling pathways in neuroglial cell physiology and synaptic plasticity. In medical school, I found my career calling in the fascinating and innovative specialty that is ophthalmology and chose to pursue residency training at Stanford because of this program’s uniquely strong support for the career development of physician-scientists. As an aspiring academic ophthalmologist, I was drawn to the exceptional clinical and surgical training environment here, as well as the opportunity to pursue my passion for research and discovery along the way. As a SOAR resident, I plan to combine my interest in cellular and molecular neuroscience with vision science to study neurodegenerative diseases of the retina and optic nerve.