Our faculty members represent clinical and basic science expertise and have appointments in four of the five colleges of GHSU (Allied Health, Dental Medicine, Graduate Studies and Medical College of Georgia).

clip_image001_000Julian J. Nussbaum, M.D.


Professor and Chair Department of Ophthalmology, Co-Director, Culver Vision Discovery Institute Assistant Dean and Medical Director of Ambulatory Care Services Augusta University. Dr. Nussbaum is a clinical ophthalmologist and holds fellowships in retina/vitreous and vitreo-retinal surgery. His is an associate examiner for the American Board of Ophthalmology, the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the American Medical Association, the Association of University Professors of Ophthalmology, the Retina Society and the Schepens International Society. He is diplomate of the National Board of Medical Examiners and the American Board of Ophthalmology and a fellow of the American College of Surgeons. Since 2000 Castle Connolly has recognized him annually as one of America's Top Doctors.

pep_001Sylvia B. Smith, PhD.


Professor and Chair of Cellular Biology/Anatomy. Ophthalmology and Graduate Studies and basic science co-director of the Vision Discovery Institute. The research in the Smith lab focuses on the Visual System, with special emphasis on the retina. The interest lies in understanding normal retinal functions and determining the consequences when these normal functions go awry. Dr. Smith is an expert in cellular and molecular biological studies of retinal function under normal and diseased conditions. In 2009, Dr. Smith was named a Fellow of the Association for Research and Ophthalmology.

drakinwuntanAbiodun Emmanuel Akinwuntan, PhD.


Associate Professor, Neurology, Graduate Studies, Physical Therapy and Ophthalmology. Dr. Akinwuntan's research area is rehabilitation outcome after a neurological impairment with specific interest in the use of simulation and virtual technologies in improving activities of daily living after a neurological impairment.

clip_image002_013Mohamed Al-Shabrawey, PhD.


Associate Professor, Oral Biology and Graduate Studies and Ophthalmology. Dr. Al-Shabrawey's research interest is to understand the molecular and cellular mechanisms of the pathological retina neovascularization and vascular leakage in diabetic retinopathy and retinopathy of prematurity. He is an expert in vascular alterations that occur in the retina under conditions of ischemic stress. His work is supported by a Scientist Development Grant from the American Heart Association. Dr. Al-Shabrawey works collectively with Drs. Liou, Caldwell and Smith.

pep_002Sally Atherton, PhD.


Professor Emerita. Dr. Atherton is an expert in the pathogenesis of herpes virus infections of the eye and brain, axonal transport and routes of virus spread, and herpes virus latency. In 2009, Dr. Atherton was named a Fellow of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology and in 2013 assumed the role of Executive Director of ARVO and now serves as an External Board Member for the Culver VDI.

pep_000Babak Baban, PhD. MBA


Assistant Professor, Oral Biology and Graduate Studies. Dr. Baban's research interest is in responses of the human host to pathogen with special interest in inflammation, immunoregulation and tolerance. Special interest in inflammatory reactions and their relation with eye diseases, particularly retinopathy.

clip_image002Manuela Bartoli, PhD.


Associate Professor, Ophthalmology and Pharmacology/Toxicology. Dr. Bartoli is particularly interested in angiogenesis. She has served on study sections reviewing NEI-funded grants and reviews for over 10 journals, including the major vision-research journals. Her funding from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation analyzes statins treatment as mediators of inflammation. She collaborates also with Dr. Ruth Caldwell and is a co-investigator on an NEI funded project studying the blood retinal barrier.

clip_image001Kathryn Bollinger, M.D., PhD.


Assistant Professor, Ophthalmology and Director Glaucoma Service. Dr. Bollinger's interest lies in glaucoma research. In 2007 she was awarded a Glaucoma fellowship at the Cole Eye Institute-The Cleveland Clinic Foundation which she completed in 2008. Dr. Bollinger specializes in screening, diagnosis, and management of all forms of adult glaucoma. She performs laser procedures, glaucoma surgery, and cataract surgery using state-of-the art techniques. Dr. Bollinger is the principle investigator of a glaucoma research laboratory directed toward identifying early disease markers for glaucoma and targets for therapeutic intervention. She is the recipient of an American Health Assistance Foundation postdoctoral grant from the Glaucoma Research Foundation for 2008-2009.

pep_003David Bogorad, MD


Professor, Ophthalmology, Department vice-chairman and Director Refractive Surgery Service. Dr. Bogorad is a comprehensive ophthalmologist providing a wide spectrum of eye care from the need for glasses and care of dry eyes to cataract surgery, and care for early diabetic eye disease and glaucoma. He is the premier refractive surgeon at GHSU and provides treatments that reduce dependence on glasses or contacts for clear distance and near vision due to near or farsightedness and astigmatism. He is collaborating with Wendy Bollag, PhD. in studies of the corneal epithelium and is the principal investigator in a study of the use of GenTeal ocular lubricants in the perioperative management of LASIK patients which is funded by Novartis Pharmaceuticals.

clip_image002_000Wendy Bollag, PhD.


Professor, Cellular Biology/Anatomy, Graduate Studies, Medicine, Physiology and Orthopedic Surgery. Dr. Bollag's expertise is in the area of analysis of signal transduction mechanisms in primary cultures of mouse epidermal keratinocytes. She is pursuing studies using corneal epithelial cells including collaborative studies with Drs. D. Bogorad and P. Gupta.

caldwell_lgRuth B. Caldwell, PhD.


Professor, Cellular Biology/Anatomy, Graduate Studies and Ophthalmology. The long range goal of research in Dr. Caldwell's lab is to understand the mechanisms that control microvascular growth and permeability barrier function. The current work is focused on defining the mechanisms that regulate the expression and signal transduction functions of VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor) and PEDF (pigment epithelial derived factor). In 2009, Dr. Caldwell was named a Fellow of the Association for Research and Ophthalmology.

caldwell_smR. William Caldwell, PhD.


Professor and Chairman of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Professor, Graduate Studies. Dr. Caldwell's research program is focused on defining the mechanisms of vascular endothelial cell dysfunction in diabetes in relation to activity of the arginase enzyme. His primary interest in vision research is on the regulation of retinal vascular tone.

pep_006Raymond Chong, PhD.


Associate Professor, Graduate Studies and Physical Therapy. Dr. Chong's research interests include: (1) automatic and volitional multisensory organization and postural control in humans during reaching, stance and walking in healthy and neurological conditions; (2) Movement theories: How do we move? How are movements affected as we age? When there is a neurological disease? When the mind is distracted?

despinosaforwebDiego Espinosa-Heidman, M.D.


Assistant Professor, Ophthalmology. Dr. Espinosa is a vitreo-retinal specialist whose primary focus is on the back of the eye where images are focused. This extension of the central nervous system is crucial in providing for clear vision. Dr. Espinosa's care areas are: Medical vitreo-retinal disease, diabetic retinopathy, age-related macular degeneration, macular disease, retinal vascular disease, retinal degenerations, retinal detachment, and retinopathy of prematurity.

azza_smAzza El-Remessy, PhD.


Associate Professor, Pharmacology and Toxicology, Medicine, Graduate Studies and Ophthalmology. Dr. El-Remessy's lab is interested in the area of angiogenesis and apoptosis with a special emphasis in studies of retinal endothelial and ganglion cells.

pepVadivel Ganapathy, PhD.


Regents' Professor and Chairman, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Professor, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Physiology, Surgery, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and Graduate Studies. Dr. Ganapathy's lab is focused on determining the effects of excess iron in the retina, and on the transport of amino acids that are expressed in many cell type in the retina and in conjunctival epithelial cells.

clip_image002_007Stephanie Goei, M.D.


Associate Professor, Ophthalmology, Pediatrics and Medicine, Director Pediatrics Service, Assistant Residency Program Director. Dr. Goei specializes in the medical and surgical management of pediatric ocular disorders and adult strabismus. Her care areas are: Pediatric cataracts, strabismus, and retinopathy of prematurity.


hegde_smallJay Hegde, PhD.


Assistant Professor, Ophthalmology, Brain and Behavior Discovery Institute. Dr. Hegde's lab's research goals are to understand the neuronal mechanisms of vision as inference and to apply the principles of ambiguity to reduction in the rehabilitation of neuro-ophthalmological deficits. The Hegde lab is currently focusing on how understanding the brain combines the sensory information from the image with what the brain already “knows” about the visual world to infer the nature of the visual scene.

kamitaniTetsu Kamitani, M.D.,PhD.


Professor, Center for Molecular Chaperone/Radiobiology and Cancer Virology. Dr. Kamitani's research interests are: (1) Ubiquitin Proteasome System (protein degradation) and its relations to inflammation, cancer, and neurodegenerative disease (2) Post-translational modification with ubiquitin, SUMOs and NEDD8 (3) Role of NUB1 in the pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease and (4) Role of Ro52 in autophagy pathway.

dkillingsworthforwebDaniel W. Killingsworth, M.D.


Assistant Professor, Ophthalmology, Corneal and External Disease specialist, Augusta VAMC. Dr. Killingsworth has interests in all anterior segment surgeries including cataract, glaucoma and corneal surgeries. He serves as the VA attending for most glaucoma surgical procedures and staffs many cataract, oculoplastics and corneal cases. He also serves as clinic attending for most of the VA minor procedures and YAG lasers.

clip_image001_004Gregory Liou, PhD.


Professor, Ophthalmology and Graduate Studies, Associate Professor, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and Cellular Biology/Anatomy. Dr. Liou's research is in studies of interphotoreceptor retinoid (Vitamin A) binding protein. His research also includes that of the anti-inflammatory effects of non-psychotropic cannabinoids in the treatment of ischemia-related retinopathy including glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration.

brendanmarshall_000Brendan Marshall, PhD.


Associate Research Scientist, Department of Cellular Biology/Anatomy. Dr. Marshall's research is focused on the interaction of murine cytomegalovirus (MCMV) with host RNAi processes in the context of an in vivo model of MCMV infection of the retina following immunosuppression. The overall aim is to determine if MCMV replication can be inhibited by RNAi processes.

clip_image001_005Pamela Martin, PhD.


Assistant Professor, Biochemistry/Molecular Biology, Ophthalmology and Graduate Studies. Dr. Martin's research is diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration, as these are two of the leading causes of blindness world-wide.

clip_image002_010Jeffrey Mumm, PhD.


Assistant Professor, Cellular Biology/Anatomy, Graduate Studies, and Brain and Behavior Discovery Institute. Dr. Mumm's research is focused on revealing how retinal stem cells are regulated and to promote the development of cell replacement therapies for blinding diseases.

clip_image001_006Puttur D. Prasad, PhD.


Professor, Department of Biochemistry/Molecular Biology and Obstetrics and Gynecology. Associate Professor, Graduate Studies. Dr. Prasad is an expert in the field of solute transporters that transport vitamins.

jriffleforwebJohn Riffle, M.D.


Professor, Ophthalmology, Chief of Ophthalmology, Augusta VAMC. Dr. Riffle provides for a wide spectrum of eye care extending from the need for glasses and care of dry eyes to care for glaucoma and diabetic retinal disease. His primary teaching interests involve vitreo-retinal diseases and surgery. He is also involved in teaching basic cataract surgical skills and oculoplastics

clip_image002_011Alan Saul, PhD.


Assistant Professor, Ophthalmology and Brain and Behavior Discovery Institute. Dr. Saul's lab studies how the brain processes time, as well as looks at retinal function and how time plays an important role in these studies which can be applied to retinal diseases such as glaucoma. The work focuses on the processing of time in the geniculocortical visual system.


Lakshman Segar, PhD.


Associate Professor, Program in Clinical and Experimental Therapeutics, University of Georgia College of Pharmacology; Associate Member, Vascular Biology Center, GHSU. Dr. Segar received his PhD. degree in Pharmacology at the University of Saskatchewan (U of S) and completed his postdoctoral training programs at the U of S and University of British Columbia. He has the expertise in the area of vascular biology and diabetic retinopathy. Specifically, his research work is aimed at understanding the roles of nuclear MAP kinase and PI-3 kinase/Akt signaling and key transcription factors that regulate pro-inflammatory and pro-survival genes in the neuroretina and retinal vasculature. He has reviewed manuscripts for a number of journals including Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science and Molecular Vision. In addition to his prior experience as a Course Director in Pharmacology (Pharm 503 graduate course, PSU) and a Facilitator in problem-based learning (Cardiology 722 medical students, PSU), he is currently a Course Director for Advanced Therapeutics III (PHRM 8720 graduate students, UGA College of Pharmacy). As an active participant of the research meetings and seminars of the VDI, he is particularly interested in collaborative initiatives that would facilitate the progression toward clinically-translatable results in the field of diabetic retinopathy. 

dthomasforwebDilip A. Thomas, M.D.


Associate Professor, Ophthalmology, Director Oculoplastics Service. Dr. Thomas' subspecialty practice focuses on diseases involving the eyelid, orbit and lacrimal system caused by tumors, trauma, neurologic or age-related changes. He also provides skilled management and treatment of patients with lacrimal system disease, orbital fractures or prosthetic eyes. Dr. Thomas also has interest and experience in aesthetic eyelid and facial surgery, including botulinum toxin, facial fillers, endoscopic brow and mid-facial surgery, and laser skin resurfacing.

lulrichforwebLane Ulrich, M.D.


Associate Professor and Residency Program Director, Ophthalmology. Dr. Ulrich's expertise includes diagnosis and management of cataracts, refractive error, glaucoma, diseases of the anterior segment and diabetic retinopathy screening. Chief among his clinical interests is that of cataract surgery, and his research interests are in screening for diabetic retinopathy and macular edema.


Zhiyong Yang, PhD.


Assistant Professor, Ophthalmology and Brain and Behavior Discovery Institute. Dr. Yan's work focuses on the study of the sensory and motor integration in the visual system in primates. The long-term goal of his research is to develop a Brain Pattern Theory, an overarching theory of brain function.

mingzhang_000Ming Zhang, PhD.


Assistant Professor, Cellular Biology and Anatomy. Dr. Zhang's research is focused in two areas: One is to study the mechanism of apoptosis in retinal neurons by using an animal model of murine cytomegalovirus retinitis and an in-vitro MCMV infected organotypic retinal cultures. The second area is to investigate the roles of autophagy in viral clearance and cell death of HSV-1 infected retinas by using an animal model of HSV-1 retinitis and a recombinant HSV-1 lacking the Beclin-binding domain (BBD) of ICP34.5, which interacts with the essential autophagy protein Beclin and antagonizes autophagy response.