The Power List 2020 – Power List
Assistant Professor, Department of Ophthalmology, Doheny Eye Institute, University of California, Los Angeles, CA, USA
Piece of advice for your younger self?
I've always loved roller coasters, and life is just another roller coaster. Stop worrying about where you are. Just enjoy the ride.
The luckiest moment of your career?
I think I just have been overall fortunate and lucky to start my career. Much of my work in outflow imaging is interesting now because of MIGS and new drugs for glaucoma therapy. The desire to better understand outflow has been reinvigorated in the last decade.
The most unexpected turn your career took?
I shifted part of my research effort from glaucoma outflow research to Space-flight Associated Neuro-ocular Syndrome (SANS) investigation in the last five years. I never thought I would be doing this, as much of it is related to posterior segment research, while my glaucoma emphasis has been on the anterior segment. What made this possible was the development of imaging tools (FLEX Spectralis; Heidelberg Engineering) for outflow imaging in the operating room, which could also be used to study the eye using OCT in different body positions. This was relevant for SANS. What I learned is the culmination of all of my training.
We go through med school and learn to take care of patients. Some of us get a PhD and learn all sorts of specific experiments during a thesis. Then we walk away asking, “Why? What was all that for?” Well, it was for the chance to live a sand-box life. It was for the chance to be trusted by your colleagues/chair/institute with time and resources to just chase cool ideas. The chance to chase anything that is interesting and fun. That’s a life worth living.