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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…

May 15th

Nancy McNamara, OD, PhD

Nancy McNamara is a Professor of Optometry and and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the Herbert Wertheim School of Optometry & Vision Science. Dr. McNamara obtained her Doctor of Optometry degree from the Michigan College of Optometry in 1991. After completing a one-year cornea/contact lens residency at the University of California, Berkeley, she joined the graduate program in Vision Science. Her training involved the development of several novel techniques for assessing structure and function of the ocular surface and tear film in human patients. This included a one year clinical research fellowship at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester Minnesota where she investigated the ocular effects of hyperglycemia in human patients with insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus.

After obtaining her Doctor of Philosophy degree in 1997, she obtained a K award from the National Eye Institute to investigate innate defense mechanisms of mucosal epithelia in response to environmental and microbial insult. She joined the F.I. Proctor Foundation faculty at the University of California, San Francisco in 2006 and has continued her studies of ocular surface disorders with specific interest in the pathogenesis dry eye in patients with autoimmune disease.

May 16th

Quan Dao, OD

Dr. Quan Dao, an Assistant Clinical Professor, is a graduate of Pacific University School of Optometry, class of 2020. She completed the Ocular Disease residency at Berkeley Optometry under the mentorship of Dr. Carl Jacobsen in 2021. She is a Seattle native but loves the warm weather and good food that California has to offer. In her spare time, she likes to go on hikes, go rock climbing, and try out new restaurants around town.

May 17th

Bernhardt N. Thal, OD, FAAO

Dr. Thal graduated from Berkeley Optometry in 1948. Before starting his optometry practice, he designed ophthalmic instruments for Mann Instrument and Optical Company in Oakland, California, and later served as President of the Instrument Company of America. He began his practice of optometry in Berkeley in 1954, continuing to care for patients until he retired in 1983.

The concept of prepaid vision care was developed by Dr. Thal and others in the Alameda and Contra Costa Counties Optometric Society. The organization has grown from a small storefront operation in the 1950s to a more than two-billion-dollar business. Dr. Thal’s publications covered such subjects as group vision care, social and health care trends, and health and welfare programs. He was a frequent speaker and panelist on these topics at the University of California, Berkeley; University of California, Los Angeles; and the University of Santa Clara.

May 18th

Brian Levy, OD, MSc

Dr. Brian Levy is CEO of InflammX Therapeutics a clinical stage company developing products targeting Connexin43 Hemichannel modulation to inhibit activation of the inflammasome pathway of inflammation. This pathway is now known to be a common pathway in many diseases including, microvascular inflammation in ophthalmic disease (AMD and DR) and autoinflammation in a number of neurodegenerative diseases. The lead compound being developed at InflammX is an orally administered small molecule dosed QD to treat Diabetic Retinopathy (DR)/Diabetic Nephropathy (DN) and Geographic Atrophy (GA). Xiflam will be ready to enter Phase 2 clinical trialsin 2022.

Prior to InflammX Dr Levy was Chief Medical Officer at Aerie Pharmaceuticals responsible for the clinical development of 2 Rho Kinase Inhibitor topical drops for lowering of Intra Ocular Pressure (IOP) for treatment of patients with Glaucoma or ocular hypertension. Both New Drug Applications (NDA’s) were approved by the FDA and commercialized.

• Rhopressa the first approved Rho Kinase Inhibitor for lowering of IOP
• Roklatan, a combination of Rhopressa and a generic IOP lowering drug, latanoprost. The combination is the first
combination with latanoprost approved by the FDA.

Prior to Aerie he was Sr VP of R&D and Chief Medical Officer at Bausch & Lomb for 15 years. He was responsible for 3 NDA’s all approved and commercialized.

Retisert – the first implantable Drug Delivery System into the back of the eye to treat Posterior Uveitis, a potentially blinding inflammatory disease;

Zylet a combination steroid/antibiotic for topical ophthalmic use for infection and inflammation
Besivance a topical ophthalmic formulation of a 4th generation fluorquinolone for bacterial disease of the eye.
He was also responsible for 4 PMA’s and multiple 510K’s (FDA terminology for medical devices requiring approval prior to commercialization) including Intra Ocular Lenses for Cataract Surgery, Retinal and Refractive Surgical Equipment and Contact Lenses and disinfecting solutions for use with hydrophilic contact lenses. All approved and commercialized.

Prior to Bausch & Lomb Dr Levy was Associate Professor, Department of Ophthalmology at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco and prior to that in private practice in Toronto and a clinical investigator and consultant to the ophthalmic industry. During his tenure at B&L and Aerie Pharmaceuticals he was a Clinical Professor in the Dept of Ophthalmology at the University of Rochester, Rochester NY.

May 19th

Maxwell Greene, BS

Maxwell is a vision science student from San Diego (but was born in NYC!). He earned his BS in Cognitive Science from Yale University, where he had particular interests in neuroscience and perception. As an undergrad, he worked in a behavioral neuroscience lab and conducted an experiment on sensory preconditioning in rats. Immediately before coming to Berkeley, he assisted in an olfaction and neural circuits lab at the University of Pittsburgh. He is interested in how the brain processes information, makes inferences, and generates percepts. Vision science is the optimal field for pursuing these questions.

Currently, he is rotating in Dr. Will Tuten’s lab, where they implement adaptive optics scanning laser ophthalmoscopy (AOSLO) and visual psychophysics to unravel the basic principles of cone-mediated vision. A broad goal of Max’s is to develop solid skills in data analysis, teaching, and research design. In college, Max enjoyed political debate and playing Super Smash Bros with friends. Nowadays, he likes studying languages, trying exotic drinks at cafes, and the occasional hike.

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