Safal Khanal, OD, PhD, FAAO, has joined the UAB School of Optometry as a tenure-track assistant professor. In his new role, Khanal will lead an independent research program, in addition to teaching professional and graduate courses and contributing to professional service.

His current research focus is on understanding the mechanisms of eye growth regulation and refractive development and formulating novel, effective strategies targeted at preventing the onset and slowing the progression of myopia in children.

Khanal received his optometry training in Nepal and the Philippines and earned his Bachelor of Optometry and Doctor of Optometry degrees. He then worked as a consultant in a conjoint optometry/ophthalmology practice in Nepal, before joining the University of Auckland School of Optometry and Vision Science in New Zealand where he received his PhD degree in optometry while also serving as an educator in the optometry program.

After completing his first postdoctoral fellowship in the laboratory of John Phillips, BSc(M Eng), BSc(Optom), MSc, PhD, MCOptom, FAAO, at the University of Auckland Myopia Lab, he moved to the United States for his second postdoctoral fellowship in the laboratories of Timothy Gawne, PhD and Jason Nichols, OD, MPH, PhD, FAAO, at the UAB School of Optometry. Khanal became a fellow of the American Academy of Optometry in 2016.

“It is a great honor to continue my engagement with UAB as a faculty member at UABSO,” Safal says. “Having been a part of the School’s family since 2019, I have had a wonderful time, doing basic science and translational research and collaborating with some of the leading experts in the field. I look forward to working with an exceptional group of clinicians, scientists, and educators at UABSO and contributing to the School’s mission of advancing optometry and vision science education, research, service, and patient care programs”.