May 21, 2010
The Wilmer Eye Institute is the largest department of Ophthalmology in the United States. Despite major research advances in the last few decades, the number of blind persons in the U.S. and the world continues to increase, while most studies project an undersupply of physicians in the coming decades. Like all academic medical institutions, Wilmer is faced with responding to societal and governmental mandates to change. Balancing the tripartite mission of patient care, teaching and research, the Director of the Institute provides an overview of Wilmer and discusses a vision for responding to current and future challenges.
Peter J. McDonnell, M.D. is the Director and William Holland Wilmer Professor of Ophthalmology at the Johns Hopkins University Wilmer Ophthalmological Institute. Dr. McDonnell received his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Dartmouth College. A 1982 graduate of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Dr. McDonnell completed a residency in ophthalmology at the Wilmer Institute, followed by a fellowship in Cornea and External Diseases at the Doheny Eye Institute of the University of Southern California. He returned to Johns Hopkins to be Assistant Chief of Service at the Wilmer Institute, before joining the full-time faculty at the University of Southern California, where he advanced to the rank of professor in 1994. In 1999, he was named the Irving H. Leopold Professor and Chair of the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of California-Irvine. In 2003, he returned to Johns Hopkins University where he leads the Wilmer Ophthalmological Institute as the sixth William Holland Wilmer Professor and Chairman. Dr. McDonnell’s research interests include dry eye disease, ocular infection and gene therapy to control corneal wound healing and inflammation. He is the recipient of research grants from the National Eye Institute, Research to Prevent Blindness, and other funding agencies. He has published over 250 scientific articles and holds four patents. The American Academy of Ophthalmology honored him with the Honor Award in 1991 and the Senior Achievement Award in 2001. In 2003, he received the Alcon Research Institute Award. A member of many professional ophthalmology and medical societies, Dr. McDonnell has served on the editorial boards of six ophthalmology journals and is currently Medical Editor of Ophthalmology Times.