Celebration Profiles – September 18-22
In honor of our centennial anniversary, we are featuring members of our optometry community — past and present — each day of 2023!
See below for this week’s profiles.
This Week, We Are Celebrating…
Lawrence Man, BScLawrence Man is a vision science PhD student at the Herbert Wertheim School of Optometry & Vision Science. He received his BSc in Cellular, Molecular, and Microbial Biology at the University of Calgary. During his degree, he worked at optometry clinics as an optometric assistant, and studied myopia models at the Hotchkiss Brain Institute (HBI). At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Lawrence did an internship at a wastewater-based epidemiology lab that tracked and analyzed SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater to understand how COVID-19 was spreading in the community. He then did his honors thesis at the HBI where he studied the developmental gene expression of neuropsins in the frog retina.
Lawrence developed an interest in vision because he started wearing ortho-k lenses when he was young and found the eye to be fascinating. Over the duration of his undergraduate degree, he realized that he enjoyed doing eye research and learning more about the retina. Lawrence would like to study the areas of molecular biology and physiology in the diseased retina in order to approach ophthalmic treatments in better ways. In the future, Lawrence hopes to investigate the causes and mechanisms of retinal degeneration, myopia, and other vision disorders for the advancement of ocular health as a vision science researcher. Lawrence enjoys playing squash, dining out, traveling, scuba diving, and riding motorcycles!
Stephanie Reeves, BSStephanie is a vision science student from Hampden, Massachusetts. She attended Connecticut College and majored in neuroscience, slavic studies, and dance. After graduation, she spent a year in Kazan, Russia on a Fulbright ETA grant. She spent the next three years at Schepens Eye Research Institute of Harvard Medical School working under Dr. Russell Woods in a vision rehabilitation lab.
Stephanie says “There is no better place than Berkeley to challenge yourself, take risks, and study what you are truly passionate about. Here, you are surrounded by some of the world’s greatest minds and thinkers not only in vision science, but also in neuroscience, optics, computer science, and psychology. The unique diversity, breadth, and richness are but a few of the strengths of our small, but mighty, program.”
She studies how head orientation influences the work of the oculomotor system in precise saccade targeting and depth perception. She aims to improve her understanding of vision and the brain through computational, psychophysical, and eye tracking methods. She hopes to learn how to ask good questions and how to answer those questions. She sees herself both in academia and industry. She likes to drink and study wine! She also likes hanging with her cats and fiance, moving her body, and exploring the Bay Area.
Robert B. Mandell, OD, PhD, FAAODr. Robert Mandell was born in Alhambra, California on November 13, 1933. He graduated from the Los Angeles College of Optometry in 1956 and received his PhD in Physiological Optics at Indiana University in 1962, where his research focused on the use of the ophthalmometer on aspherical surfaces. In 1962 he became an Assistant Professor of Physiological Optics at Berkeley Optometry, as well as Chief of Extended Service Contact Lens Clinic and the Subnormal Vision Clinic (1962–1968). Dr. Mandell served twice as Acting Dean of Berkeley Optometry in 1977–78 and 1979–80.
Soon after his start at Berkeley, Dr. Mandell began his seminal research in corneal topography. He developed and constructed various photokeratoscopes, including the first portable model, the forerunner of today’s videokeratographs. It aided Dr. Mandell in achieving the first accurate measurement of corneal contour in human infants as early as four days old.
Dr. Mandell’s research took a new direction around 1963 when Hall of Fame member Irv Fatt asked for help in an experiment on water loss in the cornea (which takes place after awakening). Dr. Mandell adapted a doubling device from a microscope for use in a slit lamp to serve as a pachometer. Over the next few years he refined his pachometry designs for corneal deswelling experiments, producing four modified pachometers. When asked to single out his most important research, Dr. Mandell pointed to his work on corneal hydration.
After thirty-two years on the Berkeley Optometry faculty, Dr. Mandell retired in 1998. The following year the Review of Optometry named him one of the ten most influential optometrists of the twentieth century.
Gordon G. Heath, OD, PhD, FAAODr. Gordon G. Heath (1922–2004) enrolled in the University of California at Berkeley in 1940 to pursue a degree in chemical engineering, but the outbreak of World War II altered that plan. He joined the US Naval Reserve and, in its V-12 program, attended Los Angeles City College, Peru (Nebraska) State Teachers College, and Northwestern University in Chicago, where he graduated from Midshipmen’s School with a commission as Ensign. He was sent to New Guinea in time to participate in the invasion of Leyte Gulf in the Philippines. Later, after other invasions and voyages to many Pacific ports, his ship, the USS Carter Hall (LSD-3), was sent after war’s end to Shanghai, where he was appointed its Commanding Officer, a post he held until his discharge as a Lieutenant.
In 1946, Professor Heath entered the University of Southern California. He was influenced to study optometry by a boyhood friend whom he joined at Los Angeles College of Optometry in 1948, where he earned a BVS in 1950 and OD in 1951. He entered the graduate program in Physiological Optics at the University of California, Berkeley in the fall of that year and received his PhD in 1960.
Dr. Heath joined the faculty at Indiana University in 1955, where he served as Director of the Optometry Clinic (1955–1960) and Director of the Graduate Program in Physiological Optics (1960–1970), when he also became Director of the Division of Optometry. Under his leadership, the Division was elevated to School status in 1975 and he was appointed Dean, a position he held until July 31, 1988. In the 1980s Heath expanded Indiana’s research program to include neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, and cellular molecular biology, in addition to the more traditional research programs in psychophysics and clinical optometry. A large number of his graduate students have gone on to become associate deans, deans and presidents of other optometry institutions around the US and the world. Dr. Heath was highly respected for both his scientific and professional contributions to vision science.
Svetlana Nunez, BSSvetlana Nunez is a SoCal native from Temecula, CA. Svetlana developed an interest for eyes when she witnessed her mother temporarily lose her sight due to complications after eye surgery. Her optometry journey began when she established the pre-optometry club at California Baptist University. She graduated in 2021 with a major in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and minor in Psychology and grew an admiration for research.
At Berkeley, Svetlana was a Class of 2025 Student Ambassador and serves as a research assistant at the UCB Myopia Lab Group, where she participates in animal myopia studies involving chicks and guinea pigs. As First-Gen Latinx, Svetlana is passionate about providing academic and career guidance. She manages an Instagram page (@FutureDr.Nunez) to mentor and assist prospective and current OD students.
Svetlana loves the community here from kind colleagues to accessible and supportive faculty. She says the clinical program at Berkeley Optometry is like no other school because on your first day of OD1, you’ll learn how to use a slit lamp.Back to Archive Celebrating Our Community Return to Main Centennial Page