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Brian Samuels, M.D., Ph.D., will serve as interim chair of the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, effective Jan. 1, 2022.

Samuels is a clinician-scientist who currently serves as the Dennis Endowed Professor in Glaucoma Research and director of the Glaucoma Division and the Glaucoma Fellowship.

Samuels completed his medical and Ph.D. degrees through the combined degree program at Indiana University in 2004. He received his Ph.D. in medical neurobiology and completed his ophthalmology residency training at UAB, followed by both a clinical and research fellowship in glaucoma at Duke University. After fellowship, Samuels joined the faculty at Indiana University and remained there for three years.

Since rejoining the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences in 2013, Samuels has continued to develop a reputation internationally as an outstanding glaucoma specialist and scientist, and his clinical and research interests overlap significantly. Samuels’ research laboratory focuses on identifying how the brain controls pressure inside the eye and brain. Further, he has established himself as one of the leading experts in understanding how differences in eye and brain pressure can lead to glaucoma and other ophthalmic diseases.

He is currently the primary investigator on three NIH grants, including the P30 core grant from NIH/NEI that has continuously funded UAB’s vision research community since 1979. In 2018, he received the Research to Prevent Blindness Clinician-Scientist Award, one of two given nationally that year. In addition to his independent research, Samuels also collaborates with world leaders in the vision science community both at UAB and outside institutions such as the Georgia Institute of Technology, Duke, Vanderbilt, Harvard, and NASA. He continues to develop and grow a multifaceted translational research program.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to lead the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences and to work closely with the leadership of the Callahan Eye Hospital as we continue to focus on our mission of providing exceptional vision care to our patients throughout the southeast region, developing innovative research aimed at preventing and curing blindness, and teaching the next generation of eye care specialists,” says Samuels. “Additionally, I look forward to growing the department and building on the culture of diversity, inclusion, and respect that we have established.”

After ten years serving as chair, Christopher Girkin, M.D., the Eyesight Foundation of Alabama chair, will be stepping down on Jan. 1 to focus on his ongoing research and clinical interests.