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Michael F. Chiang


Director, National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA

If you weren’t an ophthalmologist…

I’d be an engineer. I grew up in a family where almost everybody was an engineer, and went to college knowing that I wanted to study electrical engineering (which did end up being my college major). I became a physician because I wanted to develop technologies that could eventually help patients. Throughout my career, I have loved trying to identify and solve problems, and I’m probably still an engineer at heart.

A little-known or interesting thing about you...

As a medical student, I initially thought about becoming a neurosurgeon because I was interested in computational neuroscience and neural networks. For several years, I worked in the lab of Richard H. Masland in the Division of Neurosurgery Research at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Masland was studying neural information processing – using the rabbit retina as a model system. This is how I became fascinated by the visual system and that’s what made me become an ophthalmologist.

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