The Ophthalmic Innovation Program at
the Byers Eye Institute at Stanford

The Program

The Stanford Ophthalmic Innovation Program offers an immersive, year-long didactic and project-based Fellowship in the conceptualization and implementation of technology and processes to improve eye care. This includes the sequential stages of development that are necessary for successful commercialization and adoption into patient care paradigms. The curriculum will blend the following four components: hands-on projects, formal coursework, close mentorship, and networking and internship opportunities with members of the Department of Ophthalmology, other Stanford departments, Silicon Valley innovators, and colleagues at the FDA.

PASCAL patterned scanning laser

Daniel Palanker, PhD and Mark Blumenkranz MD co-invented the PASCAL patterned scanning laser that is now considered the standard of care in the treatment of diabetic retinopathy and has been used to treat millions of patients worldwide. Retina photo courtesy of Daniel Lavinsky, MD

Stanford University and the Department of Ophthalmology have existing collaborative educational and research programs in place with the Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH) at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the area of regulatory science. Fellows will have the opportunity to participate in projects within these programs during the course of the year.

The Stanford Ophthalmic Innovation Program is affiliated with the Stanford Byers Center for Biodesign. Fellows of the Ophthalmic Innovation Program will have the opportunity to apply for the two-quarter Biodesign Innovation Course (BioE 274A/B) and participate in selected other Stanford educational programs in these basic areas offered by the university. For more information about Biodesign, please visit biodesign.stanford.edu.

A Tradition of Successful Innovation

Paxos Scope

David Myung, MD, PhD and Robert Chang, MD co-invented Paxos Scope™, the first combined anterior and posterior ophthalmic camera system for smartphones. Seed funded through a grant from the Stanford Biodesign Program and licensed to Digisight Technologies, Paxos Scope was registered with the FDA as a 510k Class II exempt ophthalmic camera in 2015.

Clinician scientists and basic researchers at the Byers Eye Institute at Stanford have a rich tradition in ophthalmic innovation. Over the past several decades Stanford Ophthalmology faculty have led the way toward a number of ground breaking discoveries and technologies, many of which have been out-licensed through the Stanford Office of Technology Licensing and served as the foundation for the establishment of innovative Silicon Valley companies that translated them into practice-altering commercial products. These technologies are in various stages of evolution ranging from pre-clinical studies to full FDA approval, and have provided the roots for a number of free-standing, venture-backed companies, including Optimedica (which developed the PASCAL and Catalys laser and was acquired by AMO), PEAK Surgical (plasma-mediated surgical tools, acquired by Medtronic), Oculeve (neurostimulation devices for dry eye, acquired by Allergan), Adverum Biotechnologies (gene therapy, NASDAQ:ADVM), Pixium (artificial retinal prosthesis) and DigiSight Technologies (mobile health). Millions of patients worldwide have been impacted by technologies developed by inventors from Stanford Ophthalmology.

Candidate Selection Criteria

It is expected that fellows have an MD and/or PhD Degree with a minimum of two or more years of post-graduate training or work experience in one of several disciplines including Ophthalmology, Vision Science Research, Bioengineering, Computer Science, or Business. The timeframe of the fellowship is intended to be 12 months.

Candidates with one or more of the following will be given strong consideration:

Current Fellow

Zachary Bodnar

Zachary Bodnar, MD
Dr. Bodnar was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah. He attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he earned a BS in electrical engineering and computer science, followed by a masters of engineering, also in electrical engineering and computer science. He worked for the enterprise software startup Endeca for several years, prior to its acquisition by Oracle, until he matriculated in Dartmouth Medical School where he earned his MD. Dr. Bodnar completed the Ophthalmic Pathology and Research fellowship at the John A. Moran Eye Center, at the University of Utah, internship in general surgery at the Mayo Clinic Hospital in Phoenix and residency in ophthalmology at Saint Louis University. His academic interests include machine vision, machine learning, digital signal processing and their applications to ophthalmic imaging and medical informatics. In his spare time Dr. Bodnar enjoys snowboarding, backpacking and photography.


Fellows will work with the Program Directors and Faculty Mentors below, but will be free to also work with mentors from other departments and the broader research and innovation community at Stanford throughout their fellowship.

Mark Blumenkranz
Mark Blumenkranz, MD
Program Director

David Myung
David Myung, MD, PhD
Program Co-Director

Darius Moshfeghi
Darius Moshfeghi, MD
Faculty Mentor

Daniel Palanker
Daniel Palanker, PhD
Faculty Mentor

Robert Chang, MD
Robert Chang, MD
Faculty Mentor

Jeffrey Goldberg, MD, PhD
Jeffrey Goldberg, MD, PhD
Faculty Mentor

How to Apply

Applications are now open and due no later than June 30, 2017 to be considered for the 2018-2019 academic year program.

Please prepare a CV and 1-page personal statement that includes goals for the year and career following the fellowship, and/or any questions via email to the Ophthalmic Innovation Program Fellowship, c/o Clarissa Saluta: csaluta@stanford.edu

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