News Release: Emory Healthcare, School of Medicine

Oct. 5,  2009

Emory Eye Center Professor R. Doyle Stulting, MD, Named Hughes Professor

R. Doyle Stulting, MD, PhD, professor of ophthalmology and director of the Cornea Service, Emory Eye Center, was appointed the John H. and Helen S. Hughes Professor in Ophthalmology, effective Aug. 1, 2009. Stulting is a leading authority in the areas of corneal and external disease. He is the president-elect of the leading society in his subspecialty, the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons (ASCRS).

The John H. Hughes and Helen S. Hughes Professorship in Ophthalmology was created to fund research in and development of procedures for improvements in human corneal transplants, lens implants and related eye problems.

A physician-scientist, Stulting received his MD and PhD degrees from Duke University and completed residency training in Internal Medicine at Washington University in 1978. His residency training in Ophthalmology was completed at the University of Miami in 1981 (Bascom Palmer Eye Institute), and he subsequently completed a fellowship in Cornea and External Disease at Emory in 1982. He joined the Emory faculty as assistant professor of Ophthalmology in 1982 and was promoted to associate professor in 1985, granted tenure in 1986, and further promoted to professor of ophthalmology in 1994.

Building on his basic science training in microbiology and immunology, Stulting's career began with NIH-supported basic science research in herpetic keratitis and histocompatibility antigen expression. He became co-director of the NIH-supported multi-center trial to evaluate the effect of histocomplatibility testing on corneal translation. He was a member, and ultimately chair, of the FDA Ophthalmic Devices Panel during a 10-year period, which facilitated his transition to an academic interest in ophthalmic devices and refractive surgery.

In the mid-90s, Stulting and his Emory colleagues obtained approval for a physician-sponsored Investigational Device Exemption (IDE) to investigate LASIK (laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis) before the first refractive laser received approval for use in the United States, elevating the Emory Cornea Service to a position of national prominence. His current research includes the development of devices that will restore accommodation (the loss of near vision with age, presbyopia), which promises to have a huge impact as the "baby boom" population ages.

"In his 28 years at Emory, Doyle Stulting has been widely recognized as one of the nation's most knowledgeable and prolific experts in cornea and external disease," says Timothy W. Olsen, MD, director of Emory Eye Center. "We are very proud to be able to support the Academic Mission of our Cornea Service. This gift from John and Helen Hughes represents the very first permanent endowment at Emory that is directed toward improving the lives of patients with corneal and external disease."

Stulting has served as editor-in-chief of the leading journal in his subspecialty, Cornea, for eight years and will continue in that role for at least four years to come. He speaks around the world, including prestigious named lectures such as the Leopold lecture at the Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia and the Paton lecture for the R. Townley Paton Society of the Eye Bank Association of America. He is known for his clinical expertise in pediatric corneal transplantation, having published the largest clinical series in the literature on this topic, and has identified prognostic factors that allow appropriate patient selection for corneal transplantation in this challenging group of patients.

Stulting is also known for a series of papers on ectasia after LASIK, which document risk factors and provide recommendations for avoiding this devastating complication of corneal refractive surgery. Most recently, he is principal investigator for a physician-sponsored clinical trial of riboflavin-UVA corneal collagen cross-linking. The first of its kind in the United States, this study will likely lead to FDA approval of a procedure that will prevent the need for surgery in about one-fifth of the 40,000 eyes that undergo corneal transplantation in the United States annually.

Emory Eye Center has a mission to conduct pioneering research into blinding eye diseases, to educate and train eye professionals, and to provide excellent patient care. The Department includes 35 ophthalmologists, eight optometrists, ten basic scientists, 11 post-doctoral fellows, and nine researchers in other Emory departments who hold joint appointments in the Emory University School of medicine's Department of Ophthalmology. Ophthalmology research is supported by current NIH funding of $20 million through 2010. The Department remains in the top rankings (#9 - 2009) by U.S. News & World Report for the 13 years the magazine has held a ranking for Ophthalmology. It also ranks in the Top Ten in all four categories surveyed by Ophthalmology Times annual report.


The Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center of Emory University is an academic health science and service center focused on missions of teaching, research, health care and public service. Its components include schools of medicine, nursing, and public health; Yerkes National Primate Research Center; the Emory Winship Cancer Institute; and Emory Healthcare, the largest, most comprehensive health system in Georgia. The Woodruff Health Sciences Center has a $2.3 billion budget, 17,000 employees, 2,300 full-time and 1,900 affiliated faculty, 4,300 students and trainees, and a $4.9 billion economic impact on metro Atlanta.

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