New Faculty

Eldon E. Geisert, PhDEldon E. Geisert, PhD, will join the department in January 2014. Most recently, he served as professor of ophthalmology, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, as the Hamilton Eye Institute professor of Anatomy and Neurobiology and director of Research in Ophthalmology. He received his doctoral degree at the University of Wisconsin, Madison in neuroscience and his undergraduate degree in biology from the University of California, Irvine.

His primary research interests include defining the molecular mechanisms governing the response of the retina to injury and involves a novel molecule that selectively kills the most virulent form of brain cancer, glioblastoma.

Additionally, Geisert received a $1 million grant from the U.S. Army Medical Research Acquisition Activity to enable the study of eye injuries from improvised explosive devices. In an effort to understand these types of injuries, he hopes to develop ways to monitor their severity and treat the effects of the injuries. Geisert is developing new research strategies that he hopes will translate into treatments that may be used on the battlefield and later in the hospital.

Geisert is also defining genetic networks associated with the risk of developing glaucoma.  Identifying the genetic differences that lead to glaucoma is the central research goal being addressed by a new $1.5 million grant awarded to him from the NEI. “Understanding the genetic causes of glaucoma will aid in early detection of individuals at risk for developing the disease, and it may lead to more effective treatments for this blinding disease,” Geisert said.

Danny Haddad, MDDanny Haddad, MD, joined the department as assistant professor and director of the Eye Center’s Global Vision Initiative in September.

Haddad was director of the Atlanta-based International Trachoma Initiative (ITI) from 2009 to 2013. A partnership between Pfizer and The Task Force for Global Health, ITI coordinates the annual billion-dollar Zithromax donation program in support of the global effort to eliminate blinding trachoma by 2020.

In 2009, Haddad was part of a seminal conversation about Emory’s Global Vision Initiative with Eye Center director Timothy Olsen, and then-Global Vision Initiative’s co-lead architect Paul Courtright of the Kilimanjaro Center for Community Ophthalmology (KCCO) in Tanzania. The three decided that forging partnerships with Atlanta organizations such as ITI, The Carter Center and the CDC, were crucial. Additionally, the necessity of a strong, full-time leader for the initiative was suggested. Courtright and Global Vision Initiative co-lead architect Susan Lewallen, also of KCCO, have provided leadership for the program since its inception in 2011.

Haddad was born in Hoogezand, the Netherlands, and received his medical degree from the State University of Groningen, the Netherlands. After his graduation, he was a Helen Keller International (HKI) volunteer working as manager of the Irian Jaya Eye Care Project in Indonesia. Haddad continued working with HKI in several different capacities, including as Africa regional coordinator for Onchocerciasis and Trachoma, based in Niger, director for Onchocerciasis, country director for Tanzania and technical advisor for eye care, based in Senegal.

During his study he was active in training staff of eye hospitals in Africa and Asia to repair their surgical instruments and produce medical supplies using appropriate technology. 

Between positions at HKI, Haddad worked as a resident in medical microbiology at the Academic Medical Center (AMC) of the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands, where he focused on diagnosis and treatment of parasitic diseases. He has more than 18 years of experience in blindness prevention in developing countries, with specific interests in elimination of blinding trachoma and controlling river blindness.

Before joining ITI, Haddad served as the director of the Children Without Worms program, a partnership between Johnson & Johnson and The Task Force that supports global efforts to reduce the burden of soil-transmitted helminth (STH) infections in children.

Haddad holds memberships in the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene; the International Society of Geographical and Epidemiological Ophthalmology; and the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

Haddad is a member of the board of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IABP). He serves on the Advisory Committee of the Global Trachoma Mapping Project, the Technical Advisory Committee of Helen Keller International and on the Technical Advisory Board of the END Fund and has served on the Technical Consultative Committee of the WHO’s Africa Programme for Onchocerciasis Control and is a former chairperson of the Non-governmental Development Organization Coordination Group for Onchocerciasis control.

Haddad holds a joint appointment as a faculty member in the Hubert Department of Global Health at Emory.

Jeremy K. Jones, MDJeremy K. Jones, MD, joins the Eye Center’s section of glaucoma this summer. He also serves as Grady Memorial Hospital’s associate chief of ophthalmology. Jones is a native Georgian and received his undergraduate degree from Berry College. He completed his medical education at the Emory University School of Medicine and subsequently completed a transitional year internship at Emory University. He completed his ophthalmology residency and glaucoma fellowship at Emory as well.

Jones is actively involved in clinical trials investigating new therapeutic options for glaucoma. He is particularly interested in the education of ophthalmology residents and medical students as well as advocacy on behalf of his profession and his patients. His clinical interests include medical and surgical management of glaucoma, laser therapy for glaucoma and surgical management of cataracts. Jones is a member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the American Glaucoma Society, the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons, the Georgia Society of Ophthalmology and the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society.

Sheryl Menacker, MDSheryl Menacker, MD, will join the Eye Center in January 2014 on a part-time basis. Coming from Philadelphia, she will assist with disabled patients, as well as teaching residents how to do so.

She earned her undergraduate degree at LaSalle College, her medical degree at the Medical College of Pennsylvania, and completed her residency at the University of Pennsylvania.  She completed a pediatric ophthalmology fellowship at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, after which she joined the staff as a full time attending. Menacker joined Tri-County Eye Physicians & Surgeons in 1992.  In addition to her full time pediatric ophthalmology practice, since 1996 Menacker has been director of eye care at Woods Services, a residential facility for people with disabilities. 

She is a certified Diplomate of the American Board of Ophthalmology, a Fellow of both the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American College of Surgeons, as well as a member of the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus. Menacker is also an active member of the Children’s Eye Foundation’s Board of Directors.  She holds a clinical appointment at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

Margi Patel, OD, FAAOMargi Patel, OD, FAAO, joined the department in November as an assistant professor of ophthalmology in the sections of Comprehensive Ophthalmology and Vision and Optical Services. With an emphasis in primary care and ocular disease, she provides primary eye care including glasses and the management of ocular health. Her research interests include glaucoma and diabetic eye disease. Patel holds memberships in the American Academy of Optometry (2008 to present) and the American Optometric Association (2008 to present). Her areas of clinical interest include emergency eye care, ocular diagnostics, glaucoma evaluation and diabetic eye screenings. She earned her doctor of optometry degree at Nova Southeastern University College of Optometry and did a residency in ocular disease at the University of Houston College of Optometry.

Jason H. Peragallo, MDJason H. Peragallo, MD, joins the Eye Center’s sections of neuro-ophthalmology and pediatric ophthalmology and strabismus. He received his bachelor’s degree in biology and biochemistry from Brandeis University. He attended medical school at the New York University School of Medicine and completed residency in ophthalmology at New York Medical College. He then completed a pediatric ophthalmology and adult strabismus fellowship at the Jules Stein Eye Institute at the University of California Los Angeles, followed by a neuro-ophthalmology fellowship at Emory University.

His clinical interests include pediatric strabismus, pediatric neuro-ophthalmology, adult strabismus, and adult neuro-ophthalmology. Peragallo holds an academic interest in the evaluation and treatment of strabismus due to neurologic disease and in the treatment of children with ophthalmic disease from neurologic processes. He has conducted strabismus research in patients with neurologic disorders. He holds membership in the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus and the North American Neuro-Ophthalmology Society. He has presented platform presentations and posters at national meetings.

Vandana C. Reddy, MDVandana C. Reddy, MD, joined the section of comprehensive in fall 2012. She received her bachelor’s degree in neuroscience at Wellesley College and attended medical school at the Medical College of Georgia, completing her residency in ophthalmology at the Mayo Clinic. She then completed a cornea fellowship at the University of Michigan’s Kellogg Eye Center.

Her clinical interests include diseases of the cornea, corneal transplant, cataract surgery, and general eye care. Having an academic interest in mentoring and training medical students and residents, she also has a strong interest in international eye care and has spent time learning and practicing small incision sutureless extracapsular cataract surgeries. Reddy has conducted research in ocular surface disease, corneal sensitivity and corneal nerve density in patients with different neurologic disorders and various other systemic diseases.

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