Clinician-scientist to lead ophthalmology

Mark Rosenblatt

Mark Rosenblatt, head of ophthalmology and visual sciences, studies regeneration of the cornea. — Photo: Joshua Clark


Mark Rosenblatt, a clinician-scientist who studies regeneration of the cornea, is the new head of ophthalmology and visual sciences.

Rosenblatt was director of the Margaret M. Dyson Vision Research Institute and vice chair of ophthalmology at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York, where he helped the department triple the size of its faculty and add a clinical site.

Rosenblatt said his primary focus for the department will be innovation. He plans to add new faculty and staff, including those with strengths in bioengineering.

“Clinical care is often based on breakthroughs that happen in the lab, and I want to ensure that kind of translational work is fostered within the department,” he said.

Rosenblatt’s practice focuses on laser vision correction surgery and the treatment of cataracts and corneal disease.

His research into new techniques for regenerating lost or damaged corneal nerves and tissue using stem cells is funded by the National Institutes of Health, Department of Defense, National Science Foundation, New York Stem Cell Initiative and the Tri-Institutional Institute for Stem Cell Biology.

He is developing techniques to convert skin stem cells into corneal epithelial stem cells as a treatment. Corneal epithelial stem cell deficiency can be caused by chronic dry eye, long-term contact lens use, or trauma.

The tissue that makes up the cornea — the transparent layer that covers the iris, or colored part of the eye — is produced continuously by these stem cells. Without enough corneal epithelial stem cells, the cornea can degrade and lose clarity, causing profound vision loss.

Rosenblatt earned his medical degree with Alpha Omega Alpha honors and a doctorate in biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of Miami School of Medicine.

He completed a medical internship at Mount Sinai Medical Center and a three-year ophthalmology residency, followed by a two-year cornea fellowship, at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary in Boston. He recently earned an executive MBA from New York University’s Stern School of Business.

He received a Joint Clinical Research Center fellowship and a clinician-scientist training award from the National Eye Institute. He is the cornea section editor for the Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology Journal and serves on the editorial board of Investigative Ophthalmology and Vision Science.

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