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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…

March 20th

Orneika Flandrin, BS

Vision Science PhD student Orneika Flandrin completed her bachelor’s in Biology at the Claflin University in South Carolina. Her research at Berkeley focuses on the innate defenses of the healthy cornea that lend themselves to the tissue’s exceptional ability to avoid colonization and sight-threatening infection. More specifically, her project aims to further understand how TRPA1 and TRPV1 nociceptors (pain- sensing neurons) regulate the corneal bacterial microbiome as a part of this defense system. Upon completion of her degree, she plans on working in the pharmaceutical industry to develop drugs and treatments for prominent ocular diseases, especially those that involve pain.

In 2020, Orneika was chosen as the Kathleen L. Miller Fellow. This fellowship is traditionally awarded to women engaged in the study of emerging and neglected infectious diseases, ranging from basic science to economics.

March 21st

Elwin Marg, OD, PhD

Elwin Marg (1918-2010) was born 1918 in San Francisco. After attending San Francisco Junior College, he entered the upper division of the curriculum at Berkeley Optometry in 1938. After graduation in 1940, he enlisted in the US Air Force and joined the Communications Corps.

With the end of war, Dr. Marg returned to the US to pursue a degree in the new (1946) Physiological Optics Graduate Program at Berkeley. He made history by becoming Berkeley Optometry’s first PhD recipient in 1950. Although his dissertation was related to accommodation and convergence, his true passion was for neurophysiology, where later his area of interest turned to functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), the process by which visual stimulation, whether color or motion, can be used to define areas of the brain that process information in real time.

Marg had a long career at Berkeley as an Instructor in Optometry (1950–51), an Assistant Professor of Physiological Optics and Optometry (1951–56), an associate professor (1956–61), and professor (1962–88). The American Optometric Association presented Marg with its Apollo Award in 1962 for his contribution to visual science. The American Academy of Optometry honored him with the Glenn Fry Award (1972) and the prestigious Charles F. Prentice Award in 1981. The Optometry Alumni Association of UC named Dr. Marg Alumnus of the Year in 1993.

March 22nd

David Yang, OD, FAAO

Dr. David Yang is the Chief of Optometry for the VA Palo Alto Health Care System where he also serves as the Co-Residency Supervisor for two optometry residency programs affiliated with the UC Berkeley School of Optometry. He completed his residency training in Geriatric/Hospital-Based Optometry at the West Los Angeles VA Medical Center in 1995 and is Board Certified in Medical Optometry (ABCMO). From 1996 to 2009, Dr. Yang served on faculty at Berkeley Optometry and currently holds the rank of Clinical Professor. He is a past recipient of the Roy Brandreth Excellence-in-Teaching Award, as well as the Bernie Dolan Resident Mentor of the Year Award. He has lectured at the regional, national, and international levels on topics related to ocular disease and contact lenses.

Dr. Yang is currently a Council Member for the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education and Co-Chair of the VA National Optometry Contact Lens Workgroup. Previously, he was a Regional Vice Chair for the American Academy of Optometry Admittance Committee and a Supervising Examiner for the National Board of Examiners in Optometry Clinical Skills Exam. He was also the Chair of the American Optometric Association Contact Lens and Cornea Section (AOA-CLCS) On-Line Committee where he was the Chief Editor of the AOA-CLS Newsletter and recipient of the Rodger T. Kame Award for outstanding service and dedication to the section.

March 23rd

Lewis Reich, OD, PhD

Lewis Reich, is the President of the Southern College of Optometry President, since 2016, after serving as Interim President for nine months. Dr. Reich first joined SCO in 2008 as Professor and Vice President for Academic Affairs. Under his leadership, the college nationally recruited and grew its faculty ranks to accommodate an increase in student enrollment. Dr. Reich graduated from UC Berkeley in 1988, and completed his residency in low vision rehabilitation at the Pennsylvania College of Optometry (PCO), where he later joined as a faculty member and researcher. In 1991, Dr. Reich entered the graduate program in physiological optics at the University of Houston and was hired as a Research Assistant Professor. After receiving his PhD, Dr. Reich joined the faculty of Nova Southeastern University College of Optometry (NSUCO) as an Associate Professor. Dr. Reich was Assistant Dean for Student Affairs from 2003 to 2008.

Dr. Reich currently serves on the Executive Committee as Past President of the Board of Directors for the National Board of Examiners in Optometry. A Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry, Dr. Reich previously chaired the Academy’s Maintenance of Fellowship Committee and served on the Optometric Education Section’s Diplomate Program Committee. Dr. Reich has also served the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry as the Chair of the Optometry Admissions Test Committee, Chair of the Chief Academic Officers, and was the inaugural Chair of the OptomCAS Committee, leading the profession in the implementation of a centralized application service. Dr. Reich now chairs the Applicant Development Committee.

Dr. Reich’s research has been funded by the National Eye Institute as well as the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research. Dr. Reich has published peer-reviewed publications and has presented his research at dozens of national and international meetings. Dr. Reich is an active manuscript reviewer for major optometric and vision science journals and has served as a vision expert in legal cases.

March 24th

Sarah Singh, OD, PhD

Dr. Sarah Singh is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Optometry at the UC Berkeley School of Optometry and Vision Science, where she cares for pediatric patients in the Infant/Toddler Clinic and the Myopia Control Clinic. She graduated from Berkeley Optometry in 2014 and went on to pursue residency training in Pediatrics and Primary Care, also at Berkeley, where she was first exposed to myopia control under the mentorship of Dr. Maria Liu.

During her residency, she became very passionate about myopia control and how treatments might be optimized for individual patients and went on to complete a Ph.D. researching some of these mechanisms in an animal model. Throughout her Ph.D. training, Dr. Singh continued to see patients in the Myopia Control Clinic at Berkeley, as well as train optometric interns and residents in myopia control techniques. Her current research focuses on the use of atropine for myopia prevention as well as understanding the epidemiology of refractive errors in children. When she’s not at work, she enjoys exploring the Bay Area with her two dogs.

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