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After 42 years at the UAB School of Optometry, Michael Loop, PhD, associate professor of Optometry and Vision Sciences, retires effective April 30th.

Loop joined the school’s faculty in 1978 as an assistant professor of Physiological Optics and Psychology following a three-year stint as a visiting assistant professor in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In addition, he held postdoctoral positions at the University of Virginia School of Medicine and Florida State University.

During his tenure UAB, Loop had 46 publications in journals such as Vision Research, Visual Neuroscience and the Journal of Comparative Physiology. He had 46 papers and abstracts along with 22 invited presentations.

Among his other career highlights is receiving first place study section rank order grants at the National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation. In 1987, he received fan mail from Nobel Laureate Torsten Wiesel, who won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1981 for discoveries concerning information processing in the visual system. Torsten wrote to say that he greatly enjoyed reading Loop’s article in the Journal of Physiology and requested a copy. Torsten was grateful that the article clarified a number of issues for him. 

Loop is also proud to have graduated 11 master’s students and eight PhD students. Steven Schwartz, OD, PhD, earned a doctorate in Physiological Optics from the UAB School of Optometry in 1982. He is thankful for Loop’s guidance while in the program. 

Schwartz is a professor of biological and vision sciences at SUNY College of Optometry who has written textbooks that have been used by thousands of optometry students here in America and abroad. His first book, Visual Perception: A Clinical Orientation, was first published in 1994. The fifth edition came out in 2017. His other book, Geometrical and Visual Optics: A Clinical Introduction, is now in its third edition. 

“Mike was a generous, supportive and kind PhD advisor,” Schwartz said. “He always had time to work with his students and freely share his knowledge. Mike motivated me to pursue a new line of research that was fruitful for both of us in the years to come.“I will always be thankful to Mike for his confidence in me throughout my time at UAB. Without his encouragement, I don't think I would have had the rewarding career that came to me.”

Through the years, Loop volunteered at a number of elementary schools and was heavily involved with the Boy Scouts of America. He will continue his involvement with both youth and education by serving as a K-12 substitute teacher as well as delve into fiction writing in his retirement.