The American Academy of Ophthalmology takes special pride in honoring Stephen J. Ryan, MD, as recipient of the Laureate Recognition Award at its 116th Joint Meeting.
While in medical school at Johns Hopkins, Dr. Ryan was introduced to vision research—stimulating his lifelong passion for ophthalmology and the excitement of the pursuit of new knowledge and innovation in our specialty. He credits A. Edward Maumenee, M.D. as his mentor and role model while a resident, chief resident, and assistant and associate professor at Wilmer.
Dr. Ryan's research contributions have helped to change how vitreoretinal disorders are now treated. For example, his early animal model of choroidal neovascularization has been widely used for decades for studying the mechanisms and treatment of choroidal neovascularization in preclinical studies. His posterior segment penetrating trauma model in primates and other animals led to a better understanding of the pathogenesis of traumatic traction retinal detachment which influenced the timing of vitrectomy in patients with vitreous hemorrhage after penetrating posterior segment injuries. His laboratory continues to study cellular proliferation in models to elucidate molecular mechanisms of diseases affecting the retina, especially the macula.
He is currently the President of the Doheny Eye Institute and the Distinguished Grace and Emery Beardsley Professor at USC; but in 1974, he was the first and only full-time faculty member as well as founding Chair of Ophthalmology at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. Thirty-eight years later, Doheny at USC is now a top ten ophthalmology program in U.S. News & World Report, Ophthalmology Times, and NEI funding rankings.
Dr. Ryan was Dean of the Keck School of Medicine of USC and Senior Vice President for Medical Care from 1991 to 2004, a period characterized by institutional growth and a change in culture to a private research university medical school striving for excellence and following the proven successful model of Doheny at USC.
Dr. Ryan is a longstanding member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and serves as the Home Secretary for the IOM. He has also been a leader of numerous ophthalmological organizations. He served as president of the Association of the University Professors of Ophthalmology and the Macula Society. He is a member of the International Council of Ophthalmology. He is founding President of the National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research/Alliance for Eye and Vision Research established in 1993 by the AAO, ARVO, and the AUPO to educate opinion leaders in Washington and to advocate for NEI vision research to Congress.
He has published almost 300 articles in the peer-reviewed literature and has delivered over 40 named lectures, including the Jackson Lecture. He is the author or editor of 9 books including RETINA which is in its 5th Edition. Some of his awards include the AAO Senior Honor Award and Distinguished Service Award, the ARVO Kupfer Award for Distinguished Public Service, the American Ophthalmological Society Lucien Howe Medal, and the Johns Hopkins University Society of Scholars Award and the Distinguished Alumnus Award. He has Honorary Degrees from Providence College and the University of Leipzig. He is Chairman of the Board of the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation and serves on the boards of Allergan, Inc., Johns Hopkins Medicine, and the W. M. Keck Foundation.
Dr. Ryan resides in San Marino, California with his wife, Anne. They have one daughter. In addition to his laboratory colleagues at Doheny, he works with the Beckman Initiative in Macular Research which brings together leaders from around the world in different disciplines—clinician scientists and basic scientists—to focus on atrophic macular degeneration in a collaborative effort to develop treatments of AMD.
Dr. Ryan is honored at this 2012 Joint Meeting for his distinguished career and contributions to ophthalmology. It is with great pleasure that the Academy welcomes Dr. Stephen J. Ryan as the 2012 Academy Laureate.