Margolis named new head of ophthalmology

Todd P. Margolis, MD, PhD, has been named head of the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. With the new appointment, effective Jan. 1, Margolis also will become ophthalmologist-in-chief at Barnes-Jewish Hospital.

The appointment was announced by Larry J. Shapiro, MD, executive vice chancellor for medical affairs and dean of the School of Medicine.

“I am pleased to announce that Todd Margolis has accepted the position of head of ophthalmology and visual sciences,” Shapiro said. “Since the days when the late Bernie Becker was head, and continuing during the leadership of Mike Kass, the department has had a long history as a leader in understanding and successfully treating blinding eye diseases, and I believe that Todd will build upon that legacy.”

Margolis comes to Washington University from the University of California, San Francisco, where he is a professor of ophthalmology and the Rose B. Williams Chair for Research in Corneal Diseases. He also directs the Francis I. Proctor Foundation for Research in Ophthalmology, a privately endowed organized research unit dedicated to research and training in infectious and inflammatory eye diseases, and the application of that research to the prevention of blindness worldwide.

Research in Margolis’ laboratory focuses on the cellular and molecular mechanisms that regulate the establishment and maintenance of latent neuronal infection with herpes simplex virus (HSV). His ongoing research is aimed at documenting the role of both neuronal and viral gene expression in the establishment and maintenance of HSV latency. The ultimate goal of this work is to gain enough understanding about the regulation of HSV infection that therapeutic interventions can be devised to eliminate infections or prevent reactivation of the virus.


He also has done extensive research into the development and evaluation of molecular diagnostics for infectious eye disease and on the use of telemedicine to screen for retinal diseases in developing countries.

His clinical expertise is in the diagnosis and management of infectious and inflammatory eye disease, with a particular interest in eye disease due to herpes viruses and ocular infections in immune-compromised patients.

“I am very excited to join the ophthalmology faculty at Washington University,” Margolis said. “The department is extremely strong, with a long reputation of academic excellence, and I look forward to the opportunity to build on the superb quality of the teaching, research and patient care already in place there.”

He will replace Michael A. Kass, MD, who has been head of the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences since Sept. 1, 1999. Under Kass’ leadership, the department grew into one of the largest eye and vision research centers in the country. A leading expert in glaucoma research and treatment, Kass will maintain a clinical practice and continue to serve as the School of Medicine’s senior associate dean for Human Research Protection.

“Our faculty and staff are very pleased that Todd Margolis has accepted the position as head of the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences,” Kass said. “He is a superior clinician and scientist, and he will be a great leader for the department.”

A 1977 graduate of Stanford University, Margolis subsequently received a doctorate in neuroscience and a medical degree from UCSF in 1984. After an internship in San Francisco, he trained as a resident in ophthalmology at UCSF and later did subspecialty training in corneal and external diseases at the F.I. Proctor Foundation. Later, he completed postdoctoral research training in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at University of California, Los Angeles, where he served as a visiting assistant professor at the Jules Stein Eye Institute.

He has been president of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, the world’s largest eye and vision research organization, and he has served on the National Eye Advisory Council of the National Eye Institute. He also is a member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the American Uveitis Society and the Society for Neuroscience.

He is a recipient of the National Institutes of Health National Research Service Award, the Jules Stein Vision Research Award, the Research to Prevent Blindness Lew R. Wasserman Merit and Senior Scientific Investigator awards and the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s Achievement Award. Margolis also is listed in the Best Doctors in America and in America’s Top Ophthalmologists.

Margolis serves on the editorial board of the American Journal of Ophthalmology. He also is a reviewer for Ophthalmology, Archives of Ophthalmology, Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science and the Journal of Infectious Diseases. He is an author on more than 130 peer-reviewed scientific papers and seven book chapters, and during his tenure at UCSF has served as a mentor or adviser for more than 100 students, fellows, residents, faculty and international scholars.

Washington University School of Medicine’s 2,100 employed and volunteer faculty physicians also are the medical staff of Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals. The School of Medicine is one of the leading medical research, teaching and patient care institutions in the nation, currently ranked sixth in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Through its affiliations with Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals, the School of Medicine is linked to BJC HealthCare.