Meet UNMC New Investigator Awardee Eyal Margalit, M.D., Ph.D.

UNMC researcher Eyal Margalit, M.D., Ph.D., answers questions about his work, life and interests.

NOTE: This profile is part of a series to highlight the 23 researchers who will be honored May 22 at a ceremony for UNMC's 2011 Scientist Laureate, Distinguished Scientist and New Investigator award recipients.

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Eyal Margalit, M.D., Ph.D.
  • Name: Eyal Margalit, M.D., Ph.D.
  • Title: Professor of ophthalmology and visual sciences
  • Joined UNMC: 2003
  • Hometown: Haifa, Israel

Describe your research in laymen's terms.

My research goal is to restore vision for blind individuals. While vision loss is irreversible due to light-sensitive cells' (photoreceptors) damage, other retinal neurons remain viable. By implanting a special electronic device to electrically stimulate these remaining neurons, patients may regain part of their vision. ... Our device -- the Nebraska Intelligent Retina Implant System (IRIS) stimulator -- is capable of producing a much higher resolution image than any other (device) currently in development. The novel stimulation paradigms will enable patients with an individually designed stimulation.

How do you want your research to translate to benefit patients?

This device will be able to substantially improve the standard performance of retinal prostheses, offering the hope of restoring ambulatory and functional vision to patients.

What is the best piece of advice anyone ever gave you, professional or personal?

One came from my high school teacher. Follow your dreams, work hard to achieve them, and try to help society by reaching your goals. Another came from my Ph.D. mentor. He was able to help me understand the results of many exhausting months of experiments and advance to a rapid conclusion of my Ph.D. thesis after a 15-minute meeting. At that point, I understood the full meaning of excellent mentorship.

List three things few people know about you.

  • Scuba diving has been a hobby for many years. I also love skiing and recently have been flying single-engine planes.
  • I have a passion for nature and nature conservancy. Being in nature was always a place of peace and spiritual relaxation for me.
  • My wife Ruth and I believe in giving back to the community by using our professions and by other means.


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