Fall 2017 Newsletter

Follow our latest updates in our Fall 2017 Newsletter

Fall 2017 Newsletter
7th Residency Announcement

Exciting Residency Announcement!

ACGME approves seventh resident complement; first increase in over 30 years!

Grand Rounds

Grand Rounds and Case Studies

Check out our weekly presentations



Ophthalmic Technician Education Program



USC Ophthalmology Researchers Find More
Effective Treatments For Blinding Eye Diseases



Residents 2018 – 2019

Third-Year Residents

Christine Greer

Christine Greer, MD, MS

Christine Greer, MD, MS, completed her BA degree at University of Southern California in neuroscience. She earned a master’s in human nutrition at Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons and attended medical school at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine (UMMSM). In medical school, she committed herself to service work in the local Miami community and abroad, participating in health, nutrition education and medical care to the underserved. She was honored as the Class of 2015 Unsung Hero for her “quiet, consistent and unselfish use of unique skills, time and effort to further the mission of UMMSM.” Her research interests focus on nutrition interventions for neurological and ophthalmic diseases. While an undergrad, she was recruited to the USC Women’s Track and Field and Cross Country teams (Division I) and received multiple awards for athletic and academic achievements. She is an animal lover and avid runner, placing in the top 50 at the Miami Half-Marathon 2015.

Arezu Haghighi

Arezu Haghighi, MD

Arezu Haghighi, MD, a native of Arlington, Texas, graduated with a BS in bioengineering from University of California, Berkeley, and then received her MD degree from University of California San Francisco (UCSF) School of Medicine, Global Health Pathway. She has a long-standing interest in global health; as a medical student at UCSF, she discovered her passion for international ophthalmology research through work at the Francis I. Proctor Foundation. She spent a month at Aravind Eye Hospital in South India studying the susceptibility of native Acanthamoeba strains to antimicrobial agents in the treatment of Acanthamoeba keratitis. She recently worked with the Proctor Foundation, UC Berkeley, and University Hospital in Chiang Mai, Thailand, to study the utility of a smartphone-based imaging device in the diagnosis of glaucoma. Her career in academic ophthalmology focuses on global clinical research. She enjoys traveling in Europe, Southeast Asia, Asia and the Middle East and is a triathlete.

Ramon Lee

Ramon Lee, MD

Ramon Lee, MD, graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Johns Hopkins University, receiving a BA degree in neuroscience with a Homewood Arts Certificate in photography. He continued his research at the Johns Hopkins Hospital for one year, focusing on the role of carbon dioxide fluctuations in the survival of infants requiring extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. Lee then attended Harvard Medical School where his research included assessing the use of smartphone photography for post-operative cataract care in Thailand, evaluating long-term outcomes of Boston Keratoprosthesis Type II implantation and studying a novel, automated parameter measuring anatomical optic nerve head damage with SD-OCT. His work at Harvard received the John and Gretchen Bullock Ophthalmology Award, granted to one student for demonstrated excellence in the specialty of ophthalmology. Lee completed his internship at MacNeal Hospital in his hometown of Chicago. In his free time, Lee enjoys photography, reading, trying new restaurants, and is an avid basketball fan.

Debarshi Mustafi

Debarshi Mustafi, MD, PhD

Debarshi Mustafi, MD, PhD, graduated from University of Chicago with honors in chemistry, then earned his MD and PhD degrees from Case Western Reserve University. He completed a medicine preliminary year internship at University Hospitals-Case Medical Center. Mustafi completed his PhD thesis in the laboratory of Krzysztof Palczewski, PhD, and received a doctoral excellence award for his dissertation, which focused on understanding the genetic signatures of the retina in health and disease. During his PhD tenure, Mustafi was a co-author on 13 publications, eight of which he was first author. He has been recognized with national awards from the Retina Research Foundation, the Gordon Research Conference on Genomics and the Microscopy Society of America. He enjoys running, golfing and the California sunshine.

Luv Patel

Luv Patel, MD

Luv Patel, MD, attended the University of Pennsylvania as a Vagelos Scholar and received his BA degree in biochemistry and a master’s in chemistry. He received his MD degree from Harvard Medical School. While a medical student, Patel was a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Research Fellow and dedicated a year to oncology research at Dana Farber Cancer Institute, developing a high-throughput screen to identify targeted chemotherapies to mitochondrial proteins. After his third year of medical school, Patel decided his clinical passion was ophthalmology. His current research interests include using high-throughput assays to develop new therapies for ophthalmological diseases. Outside of the clinic and lab, Patel enjoys a wide variety of water sports and reading science-fiction books.

Nadim Rayess

Nadim Rayess, MD

Nadim Rayess, MD, graduated summa cum laude from the University of California, Irvine, majoring in biological sciences. He received his MD from the American University of Beirut and completed a retina research fellowship at Wills Eye Hospital. His publication evaluating three-year treatment outcomes for patients with neovascular age-related macular degeneration using a treat and extend regimen was the most downloaded article in the American Journal of Ophthalmology over a span of 90 days in 2015. Rayess was also awarded a $10,000 Wills Eye Innovation grant to develop an ophthalmology-based search engine that generates a prioritized differential diagnosis following the input of objective examination findings. In his free time, he enjoys traveling, playing tennis and hiking.

Second-Year Residents

Jennifer Danesh

Jennifer Danesh, MD

Jennifer Danesh, MD, a Los Angeles native, graduated Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude from UCLA with a BS in psychobiology and a minor in biomedical research. She then pursued her MD at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, where she was inducted into Alpha Omega Alpha and received the UCLA Roslyn Holt Swartz Scholarship, given to students pursuing a career in ophthalmology. As a student, she conducted research in ophthalmology and focused on corneal diseases, pediatric ophthalmology and oculoplastics. Her work led to multiple publications and presentations at conferences. She completed a year of training in internal medicine at Kaiser Los Angeles and is enthusiastic to be a first-year resident at the USC Roski Eye Institute. Outside of residency, she enjoys hiking, traveling, being by the beach and spending quality time with family and friends.

Andy Han

Andy Han, MD

Andy Han, MD, graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in English then completed his MD at Yale School of Medicine. During medical school, he conducted research on vision recovery following open globe injuries and surgical outcomes for rhegmatogenous retinal detachments under Director of the Yale Retina Service Ron Adelman, MD. Han then took a position as a postdoctoral research fellow at the Johns Hopkins Wilmer Eye Institute under Peter Campochiaro, MD, director of Retinal Cell and Molecular Laboratory, where he worked on clinical trials evaluating the role of pro-permeability factors in diabetic macular edema and the efficacy of frequent administration of topical steroids for cystoid macular edema. He then completed his internship year at Medstar Harbor Hospital in Baltimore, before beginning his first year of ophthalmology residency at USC Roski Eye Institute. His hobbies and interests include reading, writing, politics and hiking.

Tiffany Ho

Tiffany Ho, MD

Tiffany Ho, MD, graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Dartmouth College, majoring in biological sciences. She developed an interest in international health and became involved in various service and research projects in Nicaragua, Switzerland and Mexico. Before medical school, Ho received a post-graduate Lombard Public Service Fellowship to conduct research on the delivery of pediatric cardiac services and to assist village doctor training in Yunnan Province, China. She completed her MD at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, where she was inducted into Alpha Omega Alpha and graduated with highest distinction. Her current research interests include integrating real-time telemedicine in to ophthalmology practice and various other pediatric ophthalmology topics. She completed her pediatric internship at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. She enjoys hiking, backpacking, international travel, playing ultimate Frisbee and exploring new restaurants in Los Angeles.

Hadi Kaakour

Hadi Kaakour, MD, MS

Hadi Kaakour, MD, MS, graduated with honors from the University of Pennsylvania, where he was in the Vagelos Scholars Program in Molecular Life Sciences and received his BA in biochemistry and an MS in chemistry in four years. During medical school at the University of Miami, Kaakour performed anterior segment research with Professor Sonia Yoo, MD, at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute. He presented his work internationally while serving as an adjunct professor of chemistry at Miami Dade College and student government executive president. Kaakour completed his internship at Mount Auburn Hospital, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School. A filmmaker and producer, Kaakour has won more than $36,000 to bring his visions to life, most recently creating a series of medical ethics trigger films. He enjoys molecular gastronomy, calligraphy and stand-up comedy.

Ravi Shah

Ravi Shah, MD

Ravi Shah, MD, graduated magna cum laude in 2011 from Rice University in Houston with a double major in cognitive science and managerial studies. He then did clinical research on drug dependence and stimulant addiction at Baylor College of Medicine, where he matriculated for medical school the following year. Shah graduated Junior Alpha Omega Alpha with high honors in 2016 as an aspiring ophthalmologist. He performed his internal medicine internship at White Memorial Medical Center in East Los Angeles before being selected for the USC Roski Eye Institute ophthalmology residency program. Shah has written various articles for the neuro-ophthalmology subsection of an encyclopedia as well as a first-author publication in American Journal of Ophthalmology about iris-fixated posterior chamber intraocular lenses in children. His other research interests include refractive outcomes in monovision and toric intraocular lens alignment prediction. In his free time, he enjoys hiking, trying new foods with his wife, and playing board games with friends.

Megan Shan

Meghan Shan, MD, PhD

Meghan Shan, MD, PhD, was raised on three different continents before settling in Canada, where she was a regionally ranked pianist and a national gold medalist in the Fermat Mathematics Competition. Shan graduated summa cum laude from Columbia University with a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering. She then trained as a MD/PhD in the joint Harvard-MIT Program in Health Sciences and Technology, where she graduated magna cum laude. Her PhD work was mentored by Sangeeta Bhatia, MD, PhD, director, Laboratory for Multiscale Regenerative Technologies, and included high-throughput tools development, drug discovery, liver regeneration and stem cell biology. Their work led to multiple patents as well as publications in sister journals of Nature and Cell. Shan’s love of teaching has been recognized with multiple teaching awards. In her spare time, she enjoys trying new experiences, playing music and growing plants, including indoor watermelons.

Youning Zhang

Youning Zhang, MD

Youning Zhang, MD, graduated from UC Davis with a major in biochemistry and molecular cellular biology with highest honors. She then completed her medical school training at Keck School of Medicine of USC with Distinction in Research. Zhang is interested in the areas of cornea and retina. During medical school, she worked with Amir Kashani, MD, PhD, at the USC Roski Eye Institute, on projects that evaluated the posterior vitreous status among patients with retinal vein occlusion. Zhang also worked with ophthalmologist Neda Shamie, MD, and USC urologist Siamak Daneshmand, MD, on an interdisciplinary project that assessed urologists’ awareness of intraoperative floppy iris syndrome during cataract surgeries caused by alpha blockers commonly prescribed for benign prostatic hypertrophy. She enjoys traveling the world, trying out new restaurants, going to the gym and staying fit and all beach activities.

First-Year Residents

Charles DeBoer

Charles DeBoer, MD, PhD

Charles DeBoer, MD, PhD, attended Occidental College and the California Institute of Technology majoring in 3/2 Physics and Mechanical Engineering. After graduation, he joined a startup incubator before working with Dr. Mark Humayun at the USC Roski Eye Institute developing vitreoretinal instrumentation. He graduated AOA from Keck School of Medicine and completed his PhD from Caltech with a thesis titled Biomimetic Accommodating Intraocular Lens. After graduation, DeBoer was the Chief Technology Officer of a biotech startup before entering residency. His research interests include restoring accommodation through novel intraocular lens design and improved surgical instrumentation. He has contributed to two book chapters, has twelve publications and holds twelve issued patents related to vitreoretinal surgery and accommodating lens design. Outside of residency, he is married with two fur babies: a sweet rescue pit bull named Buttercup and her sassy rescue black cat sister, Cupcakes. He also enjoys tending a productive organic backyard garden.

William Gange

Bill Gange, MD

Bill Gange, MD, a San Diego native, graduated Phi Beta Kappa from UC Berkeley, where he earned a degree in Geophysics. He then pursued his MD at Loyola University Chicago, where he graduated Summa Cum Laude and was inducted into Alpha Omega Alpha. During his time in medical school, his research topics included ocular complications following acoustic neuroma resection, the ocular microbiome, and novel treatments for retinal ischemia. Gange’s work at Loyola earned him the Dr. and Mrs. Thomas Stamm Ophthalmology Award, granted to one medical student for excellence in the field of Ophthalmology. Following medical school, he completed an internship in Internal Medicine at West Suburban Medical Center. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his family, golfing, watching football, scuba diving, and spending time outside in the California sun.

Hong-Uyen Hua

Hong-Uyen Hua, MD

Hong-Uyen Hua, MD, graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa with a BS in biochemistry and a minor in classics at the University of Miami, where she was awarded the Isaac B. Singer full-tuition scholarship. She was president of the multicultural and international student organization, promoting diversity and cultural education. For her student service and leadership, Hua was tapped into the Iron Arrow Honor Society—the highest honor attained at the University of Miami. A die-hard double ‘Cane, she completed her MD at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, where she served as Student Government Executive President and spearheaded the LCME re-accreditation student committee. At Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, she pursued research in phospholipidomics of alkali-exposed corneal tissue and surgical management and etiology of pediatric macular holes. For fun, Hua loves to cook, explore ethnic cuisines, and adventure, whether it be through sailing, hiking, or traveling.

Nicole Koulisis

Nicole Koulisis, MD

Nicole Koulisis, MD, graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with two Bachelor of Science degrees in Biology and Spanish, after graduating Valedictorian of her high school. She completed her medical training at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester, MA, and her Transitional Year at William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, MI. She has published 14 peer-reviewed manuscripts in esteemed journals including Nature, AJO, and IOVS. Koulisis has presented her research at prestigious meetings including the American Academy of Ophthalmology, on topics such as advanced imaging modalities for early disease detection. She has an interest in global health, interned with the CDC, and twice led a clean water health initiative in the Amazon. She enjoys playing tennis, scuba diving, playing Greek musical instruments, and exploring the world with friends and family and has completed a pilgrimage by foot to Santiago de Compostela in Spain.

Diana Lee

Diana Lee, MD

Diana Lee, MD, completed her undergraduate studies in International Development at UCLA. During her time as a research fellow in the Experimental Transplantation and Immunology Branch at the NIH/NCI, she studied T-cell reconstitution in stem cell therapies. She maintained a global focus as she earned her medical degree from Georgetown University, where many of her projects were focused on health care access of orphanages in Asia. Lee completed her internship in general surgery at Harbor-UCLA, where she developed and implemented protocols to improve access to eye care. Most recently, she completed an Ophthalmic Pathology fellowship at Jules Stein Eye Institute. Her research interests are diverse and include: cataract surgery, dry eye, thyroid eye disease, retinoblastoma and diabetic retinopathy. Lee enjoys giving back to the community, and is an active volunteer with the Lions Club and APAMSA. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, reading, indoor cycling, cooking, and spending time with her family.

Jonathan Lu

Jonathan Lu, MD

Jonathan Lu, MD, is from the San Francisco Bay Area. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Biology at Stanford University, and then his medical degree from the University of California Davis, where he was inducted into Alpha Omega Alpha. In medical school his research interests focused on optimizing radiation treatment of ocular melanoma. Lu completed his internship at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, where he also conducted research on national outcomes in retinoblastoma enucleations. Jonathan is now a first-year resident in ophthalmology at the USC Roski Eye Institute. In his free time, he enjoys street and portrait photography, flying drones, cooking, and traveling.

Maggie Runner, MD

Maggie Runner, MD

Maggie Runner, MD, a native of Atlanta, Georgia, graduated summa cum laude with highest honors from the University of Georgia, majoring in biological sciences. She received distinction in research for her work with Aniridia Foundation International, conducting the largest genetic sequencing and mutational analysis for patients with aniridia. She received her MD degree from Emory University School of Medicine, where she worked in the Robert Gross neuro-engineering lab to develop a novel gene therapy approach to regenerate the optic nerve after injury. Runner’s work has led to multiple publications and podium presentations at national meetings, including AAO and ARVO. She has received grant support and scholarship awards from various organizations including the NIH and NEI and was the first from her institution to receive the medical student research fellowship from the American Association of Neurological Surgeons. Runner completed her internship in internal medicine at Emory University and is excited to begin her ophthalmology residency at USC. In her free time, she enjoys water sports, running, and spending time outdoors with her friends, family, and dog.

For more information about the residency and fellowship programs at the USC Roski Eye Institute, please contact Program Coordinator Ty Christopher by email Tyaisha.christopher@med.usc.edu or by calling (323) 409-5233.

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