Quan Dong Nguyen, Johns Hopkins physician, named chairman of UNMC ophthalmology

Will serve as director of soon-to-be-completed Truhlsen Eye Institute

A retina and uveitis specialist from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Quan Dong Nguyen, M.D., has been named McGaw Professor and Chairman of the University of Nebraska Medical Center Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences and Director of the Stanley M. Truhlsen Eye Institute.

Dr. Nguyen’s appointment is effective March 1, said Brad Britigan, M.D., dean of the UNMC College of Medicine, and will coincide with the opening of the Truhlsen Eye Institute next spring.

“I am thrilled to have Dr. Nguyen join the UNMC team,” Dr. Britigan said. “He comes from an outstanding eye institute at one of the top medical schools in the country. I am confident that he has the experience and leadership we need to take our ophthalmology program to the next level.” 

Born in Saigon, Vietnam, Dr. Nguyen immigrated with his parents and three brothers to the United States in 1980. He is an associate professor of ophthalmology at the Wilmer Eye Institute, specializing in uveitis and diseases of the retina and vitreous. 

“The opportunity to lead a department that has been in existence since 1898 when Dr. Harold Gifford first established it and to make the Truhlsen Eye Institute into one of the leading academic ophthalmology centers in the United States is truly exceptional,” Dr. Nguyen said.

“I would like to express my deepest gratitude to the UNMC ophthalmology faculty, members of the search committee, and Dean Britigan for entrusting me with this honor and privilege. My wife and I are excited to bring our family to Omaha and to work with our colleagues at UNMC to establish TEI as the premier eye care center for Nebraska.”

Dr. Nguyen’s wife, Diana V. Do, M.D., is also a retina specialist at the Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins and will be joining the UNMC faculty as an associate professor and director of the Center for Innovative Clinical Trials in Ophthalmology.

“It’s estimated that by the year 2020 age-related eye diseases will increase by 30 percent in the U.S.,” Dr. Britigan said, “so the timing is perfect to bring on these two outstanding physicians and further elevate our research, education and clinical programs.”

A graduate of the Phillips Exeter Academy, Dr. Nguyen received simultaneously his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in molecular biophysics and biochemistry from Yale University. He earned his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

He completed an internship in internal medicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital and a residency in ophthalmology at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary of Harvard Medical School. Dr. Nguyen also completed fellowships in immunology and uveitis at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, ocular immunology at the Wilmer Eye Institute, and medical and surgical diseases of the vitreous and retina at the Schepens Eye Research Institute and the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary.

Dr. Nguyen serves as principal investigator and chair of several multicenter clinical trials funded by the National Eye Institute and other organizations, such as the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and Research to Prevent Blindness, for diabetic macular edema, neovascular age-related macular degeneration, and ocular inflammatory and uveitic diseases. 

He is known for his innovative work in evaluating novel therapeutic agents and has authored numerous scientific articles. Several of the pharmacologic molecules that Dr. Nguyen pioneered during the past decade have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for patients.   Among his many honors and awards is the Carl Camras Translational Research Award from the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology Foundation, established to honor the contribution to ophthalmology from the late Dr. Carl Camras, former chairman of the UNMC Department of Ophthalmology. 

Dr. Do graduated summa cum laude from the University of California, Berkeley with a bachelor’s degree in molecular and cellular biology. She obtained her medical degree from the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine and was selected into the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society.

After her internship at the Massachusetts General Hospital of Harvard Medical School, she completed both her ophthalmology residency and surgical/medical retina fellowship at the Wilmer Eye Institute. Dr. Do was the recipient of the Heed Ophthalmic Foundation Clinician Scientist Award as well as the Ronald Michels Award for Excellence in Retina.

During her faculty tenure at Johns Hopkins, Dr. Do served as: head of the Retina Fellowship Training Program; a member of the School of Medicine Admissions Committee; a member of the Wilmer residency selection committee; and as scientific chair and co-organizer of the of Maryland Society of Eye Physicians and Surgeons annual ophthalmology conferences. Her areas of expertise and research include detection and treatment of macular degeneration, surgical treatment of retinal detachment, and novel treatments for diabetic eye disease.

On December 6, 2010, UNMC broke ground for the Stanley M. Truhlsen Eye Institute. The new institute will be a state-of-the-art facility designed to transform ophthalmology in Nebraska for generations to come. It aims to give community ophthalmologists better access to sub-specialty services and advanced diagnostics. The institute will greatly enhance basic and clinical research and attract top residents and fellows to Nebraska.

Through world-class research and patient care, UNMC generates breakthroughs that make life better for people throughout Nebraska and beyond. Its education programs train more health professionals than any other institution in the state. Learn more at unmc.edu.



Tom O'Connor
UNMC Public Relations
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