Welcome New Faculty: Florence Cabot

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Welcome New Faculty: Florence Cabot

FLORENCE CABOT, M.D., is a cornea specialist who joins the faculty as an assistant professor of clinical ophthalmology. She received her medical degree from the Université Paul Sabatier followed by a residency in ophthalmology at the Université Antilles-Guyane, both in France. Prior to the completion of her fellowship in cornea and external diseases at Bascom Palmer, Cabot served as a senior research associate at Bascom Palmer’s Ophthalmic Biophysics Center where she worked extensively on imaging accommodation using optical coherence tomography, presbyopia treatment, and the development of a remote-controlled robotized slit lamp to facilitate eye care in underserved areas. In 2019, she was selected as the Emerging Vision Scientist in the state of Florida and was invited to Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, to advocate for eye research. In addition to her continuous dedication to ophthalmic research, Cabot is available for consultation on cornea, cataract, and refractive surgery at Bascom Palmer in Miami.

Welcome New Faculty: Zubair Ansari

ZUBAIR ANSARI, M.D., an assistant professor of clinical ophthalmology, is a comprehensive ophthalmologist with a specific focus on cataract and complex anterior segment surgery. He completed his residency at Bascom Palmer and an academic global ophthalmology fellowship at the Wills Eye Hospital, where he received both the Lee Family Community Service Award for his humanitarian efforts and the Fellow of the Year Award for exemplary teaching. Throughout his training and career, Ansari’s primary focus has been global ophthalmology, working to combat the ever-growing prevalence of blindness and visual impairment in resource-poor communities. He coordinates volunteer experiences for residents training at Bascom Palmer and is currently working to build collaborations with NGOs, charitable institutions, physicians, and researchers in order to provide humanitarian, surgical, and medical aid around the world. He is available for consultation on general eye care and cataract at Bascom Palmer’s locations in Miami and Coral Gables.

Vision Beyond 2020

For more than five decades, Bascom Palmer has been making life-changing discoveries in every field of ophthalmology, including innovative treatments for glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, optic nerve disease and advanced surgical procedures. Each year, our talented physician-educators engage with their colleagues around the world at the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), the world’s largest assembly of ophthalmologists. For the first time, Bascom Palmer had a 600-square-foot booth in the exhibition hall, where our faculty members and alumni held “Meet the Experts” educational forums and the Florida Lions Eye Bank hosted wet labs where doctors learned surgical skills using corneal tissue. This year, 70 Bascom Palmer’s doctors and scientists presented 200 lectures, symposiums, courses, posters and papers during the 2019 meeting, including HARRY W. FLYNN, JR. M.D., who presented the prestigious Jones/Smolin Lecture, “New Bugs, New Technologies and New Drugs: Infectious Endophthalmitis in the 21st Century.”

Additionally, faculty members received these outstanding honors: STEPHEN G. SCHWARTZ, M.D., M.B.A., received a Secretariat Award; THOMAS A. ALBINI, M.D., a Senior Achievement Award; and GUILLERMO AMESCUA, M.D., JORGE FORTUN, M.D., ANNA K. JUNK, M.D., and WEN-HSIANG LEE, M.D., Ph.D., received Achievement Awards.

Bascom Palmer’s physicians have been recognized by the American Academy of Ophthalmology for generously volunteering their time and expertise needed to create the Academy’s Basic Techniques of Ophthalmic Surgery, Third Edition, an essential textbook for any ophthalmology resident or trainee. STEVEN J. GEDDE, M.D., served as an author for the Glaucoma Surgery section; and ANAT GALOR, M.D., and SONIA YOO, M.D., served as authors for the Anterior Segment Surgery section of the valuable educational resource.

Formula for Success

Bascom Palmer continues at the helm of the Florida Society of Ophthalmology (FSO). Glaucoma specialist and cataract surgeon SARAH WELLIK, M.D., is president-elect, to begin her term as president in June 2020. Bascom Palmer has enjoyed a long history of leadership within the FSO, beginning in 1948, when the Institute’s namesake, BASCOM H. PALMER, M.D., served as president of the organization. STEPHEN G. SCHWARTZ, M.D., M.B.A., was president in 2010, as was KRISHNA S. KISHOR, M.D., who served in 2017 and KARA M. CAVUOTO, M.D., in 2018.

At the FSO’s annual meeting, Kishor received the President’s Recognition Award. CAROL L. KARP, M.D., received the Shaler Richardson M.D. Service to Medicine Award, presented to a physician recognized for the greatest personal contribution to quality ophthalmic patient care.

World’s 50 Most Influential People in Ophthalmology

Three of Bascom Palmer Eye Institute’s faculty members are among those honored as the Top 50 most influential figures in ophthalmology. PHILIP J. ROSENFELD, M.D., PH.D., CAROL KARP, M.D. and J. WILLIAM HARBOUR, M.D., were named to the Ophthalmologist Power List 2019.

Rosenfeld pioneered the off-label use of Avastin (bevacizumab) to treat wet age-related macular degeneration, a leading cause of vision loss among the elderly. A specialist in vitreoretinal diseases, he said upon receiving the award, “On a daily basis, I am most proud of my research team and their ability to tackle difficult problems, endure failure, understand what it takes to perform bulletproof science, and merge with exciting new data that makes a difference in the world.” His discovery has saved vision in millions, has become the standard of care for retina specialists throughout the world for its effectiveness, and has saved health-care agencies billions of dollars. This is the fourth time Rosenfeld has been named to the Power List.

Karp, holder of the Richard K. Forster Chair in Ophthalmology, is expert in the management of ocular surface tumors and anterior segment surgery. In the late 1990s, she pioneered the use of interferon for the treatment of ocular surface squamous neoplasia. She designed protocols to study the drug in patients with ocular surface tumors, curing them of their cancer without surgery. Her work has helped to change the standard of care of these lesions.

Harbour, holder of the Dr. Mark J. Daily Endowed Chair, is one of the most highly respected ocular oncologists in the world. He discovered the key gene mutations in uveal melanoma and then invented a highly innovative prognostic test for the disease, based on gene expression profiling and computer machine learning. This test has become the standard of care throughout the United States and is considered the most accurate prognostic test available for ocular melanoma – benefiting thousands of patients every year.

Eduardo C. Alfonso, M.D., Bascom Palmer’s director, was named to the Power List in 2014, 2016 and 2018. Also named in 2018 were Bascom Palmer professors of ophthalmology Harry W. Flynn, Jr., M.D.; Richard Parrish, II., M.D.; and Sonia Yoo, M.D. In 2017, Ranya Habash, M.D., assistant professor of clinical ophthalmology, was included in the Power List that featured ophthalmology’s “Top 50 Rising Stars.”

The members of this year’s Power List are recognized in five categories: Champions for Change, Inventors, Emerging Leaders, Mentors and Surgical Pioneers. Each of Bascom Palmer’s 2019 honorees are listed as inventors. Three other doctors on the 2019 Power List trained at Bascom Palmer: Alan Bird, M.D., (fellow, 1969), recognized as a mentor; inventor Steven Charles, M.D. (resident, 1973); and surgical pioneer Robert H. Osher, M.D., (resident, fellow, 1981).

Congratulations to Richard Parrish

Congratulations to RICHARD K. PARRISH, II, M.D., a dedicated scientist, educator, and world-renowned glaucoma specialist, for being inducted into the Academia Ophthalmologica Internationalis (AOI), the prestigious organization consisting of the world’s top academic ophthalmologists. Induction into the AOI is one of the highest honors in the field of ophthalmology as the AOI limits active membership to only 70 members worldwide. Parrish is the editor in chief of the American Journal of Ophthalmology and his enviable academic career includes more than 100 peer-reviewed original scientific publications and many more chapters and abstracts. He served as the project chairman of the National Eye Institute’s Fluorouracil Filtering Surgery Study, the first multicenter randomized clinical trial in glaucoma surgery in the US.

Donor Profile: Steven Finker

When Steven Finker was 15, he discovered a brown spot on the surface of his right eye. Concerned about the condition, he turned to Bascom Palmer for a careful evaluation. “I have had a small spot, like a freckle, in my eye since I was a little kid,” said Finker, who is now 21. “When it started to change shape and color, I wanted to find out what was going on.”

Beginning with his initial visit, CAROL L. KARP, M.D., has monitored Finker’s eye condition, including a recent virtual visit following the COVID-19 outbreak. Using highly magnified photographs and high-resolution optical coherence tomography (OCT), Karp compared images of the brown spot, called a conjunctival nevus, taken at each session, to see if there were any signs it was turning into a dangerous ocular melanoma.

In May, Karp connected with Finker for a follow-up look at his eye. She then advised him to come into Bascom Palmer for a visit. Karp took fresh OCT images of his eyes, and he was able to leave in a few minutes. “I felt very safe during my visit, as all the protective guidelines were followed,” he said.

After reviewing the OCT scans, they discussed the results. “Steven’s brown spot is typical of a benign nevus,” Karp said. “We may continue to monitor the lesion or decide to remove it in the future.”

As professor of ophthalmology, Richard K. Forster Chair in Ophthalmology, and the Dr. Ronald & Alicia Lepke Endowed Professorship in Cornea and Ocular Surface Diseases, Karp has extensive experience in diagnosing and treating pigmented spots, including nevi (freckles), primary acquired melanosis, racial melanosis, pigmented squamous cell carcinoma, and melanomas. “Many of these spots are benign, but if we see changes, we become concerned for possible malignant transformation,” she said.

Karp said a nevus may be present at birth, but without pigmentation, it may not be immediately visible. “Many parents first notice the spot when a child is about age 2 to 5 and the nevus begins to darken,” she said. “Other times, it may change in coloration with hormonal changes, such as puberty or pregnancy.” Individuals with dark skin may have pigmented spots in both eyes, which are usually benign and not a cause for concern.

However, every nevus – which can occur on the eyeball surface or under the eyelid – has a small risk of becoming malignant, she added. “Danger signs include a change in the blood vessels going into the nevus or a change in shape or size or rapid darkening in color. Any new spot that pops up in an adult should be evaluated at once.”

To better diagnose and follow tumors on the eye surface, Karp collaborated with JIANHUA (JAY) WANG, M.D., PH.D., M.S., Bascom Palmer professor of ophthalmology and electrical and computer engineering, to develop Bascom Palmer’s customized anterior OCT imaging system. “It allows us to do an “optical biopsy” of the eye, including any lesions hidden under the eyelid,” she said.

If there is a concern about the nevus, Karp can treat it with a surgical removal, which is combined with a freezing treatment called cryotherapy. In other types of tumors, sometimes topical eye drops that kill cancer cells can be used. “All these therapies are easier when the lesion is small, so it is important to see an eye doctor regularly” she added.

Finker is putting his trust in Bascom Palmer’s expertise in this field. In addition, his family’s private foundation (the Finker-Frenkel Foundation) is supporting the Institute’s research program. “I’ve received great care at Bascom Palmer,” he said. “Dr. Karp is an excellent doctor. She keeps me informed at every step of the way, and I know I’m in good hands.”

Faculty Promotion: Hong Jiang

HONG JIANG, M.D., PH.D., has been promoted to Associate Professor of Clinical Ophthalmology and Neurology. She earned a medical degree at Zhejiang University School of Medicine in China and a doctorate in neuroscience at the University of Hong Kong. She completed a neurology residency at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and then completed two fellowships prior to joining the faculty in 2011: the first in medical genetics and neuroscience at the University of Rochester and the second in neuro-ophthalmology at Bascom Palmer. She conducts research into advanced structural and functional ophthalmic imaging for the study of neurodegenerative diseases. Jiang is available for consultation at Bascom Palmer in Miami.

Faculty Promotion: Mohamed Abou Shousha

MOHAMED ABOU SHOUSHA, M.D., PH.D., FRCS, has been promoted to Associate Professor of Clinical Ophthalmology. A cornea specialist, Abou Shousha is available for consultation on corneal and external diseases, including infection disease and keratoconus. He also performs surgery to remove cataracts and implant of intraocular lenses.He received a bachelor’s degree in medicine and surgery and a master’s degree in ophthalmology from Alexandria University, Egypt. He then received a doctoral degree of ophthalmology from the Supreme Council of Universities – Egypt. Abou Shousha completed an ophthalmic residency at Saint Louis University School of Medicine; a fellowship at the Royal College of Physicians & Surgeons of Glasgow University, United Kingdom; and research and clinical fellowships in corneal and external diseases at Bascom Palmer. In addition to secondary appointments in the department of electrical & computer engineer-ing, and the department of biomedical engineering, he is director of Bascom Palmer’s Artificial Intelligence and Computer Augmented Vision Laboratory. His research interests include new technologies for digital visual aids and early diagnosis and treatment of corneal graft rejection, keratoconous, dry eye, ocular surface diseases, and pediatric and adolescent corneal transplants. Abou Shousha joined the faculty in 2015 and sees patients at Bascom Palmer in Miami.

Faculty Promotion: Wendy Lee

WENDY W. LEE, M.D., M.S., a specialist in ophthalmic plastic and reconstructive surgery, as well as aesthetic and cosmetic ophthalmic surgery, has been promoted to Professor of Clinical Ophthalmology. Lee treats a broad spectrum of oculoplastic disorders, including the diagnosis and treatment of skin cancers of the eyelids, trauma involving the eyelids and orbit, and aesthetic services – blepharoplasty of the upper and lower lids, brow and forehead lifts, and non-surgical cosmetic enhancements including botulinum toxin treatments, dermal fillers and photorejuvenation. She received a medical degree from Tulane University and a master of science degree in physiology from Georgetown University. Lee completed a residency in ophthalmology at Tulane, followed by a fellowship in ophthalmic plastic and reconstructive surgery at Bascom Palmer. She joined the faculty in 2004, and also holds a secondary appointment in the department of dermatology. She is available for consultation at Bascom Palmer in Miami.

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