News Releases

February 13, 2017
Media contact: Leigh DeLozier (404) 778-3711, leigh.delozier@emory.edu

Nancy Newman, MD, named 2017 Dean’s Distinguished Faculty Lecture and Award recipient

Faculty Recognition

(ATLANTA) Nancy J. Newman, MD, director of Emory Eye Center’s neuro-ophthalmology section, has received one of the most prestigious honors that the Emory University School of Medicine can bestow on a faculty member: the Dean’s Distinguished Faculty Lecture and Award for 2017.

The first award was given in 2006. Dr. Newman is the first ophthalmology professor to receive the award.

Faculty are nominated for the award by their peers, and judged by a School of Medicine selection committee that makes a final recommendation to the Dean. Nominees are judged on the significance and impact of their scholarly work, the academic ideals embodied by their careers, and their ability to deliver an exemplary lecture with broad appeal.

Dr. Newman joined Emory Eye Center in 1989. She is a professor of ophthalmology and neurology and an instructor in neurological surgery at Emory University School of Medicine. She was appointed LeoDelle Jolley Chair of Ophthalmology in 2002.

Maria Aaron, MD, instructing residents in 2015
Nancy J. Newman, MD

“Ever since medical school, I’ve been fascinated by the visual system and its underlying neuroscience,” Dr. Newman says. “Early on in my residency, I understood that academic medicine would allow me to combine the challenges of clinical patient care with opportunities for cutting-edge research and innovative teaching.

“Rather than focus on a subspecialty that dealt with a related group of diseases, I chose neuro-ophthalmology because it allows me access to all the diseases of the nervous system via an anatomic system,” she adds.

Dr. Newman is known for her innovative teaching style. She has lectured worldwide, including being named the Hoyt Lecturer by the North American Neuro-Ophthalmology Society (NANOS) and the American Academy of Ophthalmology. The lecture’s namesake, William F. Hoyt, MD, was a world-renowned clinician, scholar and educator who promoted the importance of educating the next generation of neuro-ophthalmology teachers. Dr. Newman also has recently been named the American Academy of Neurology’s H. Houston Merritt Lecturer for 2017, given every two years for excellence in clinically relevant research.

In addition to teaching, Dr. Newman has more than 450 publications to her credit, including the “bible” of neuro-ophthalmology, Walsh & Hoyt’s Clinical Neuro-Ophthalmology, 5th and 6th Editions, and the textbook Neuro-Ophthalmology Illustrated, co-authored with Emory Eye Center physician Valérie Biousse, MD. The second edition of Neuro-Ophthalmology Illustrated won first place for its category in the 2016 British Medical Association publishing awards and an honorable mention from the Association of American Publishers’ PROSE Awards.

Dr. Newman’s main research interests include disorders of the optic nerve and mitochondrial diseases. She currently serves as the international site coordinator and principal investigator for the Emory site of a gene therapy trial. The study is for patients with Leber’s hereditary optic neuropathy, a rare degenerative eye disease that leads to subacute irreversible blindness, typically in young adults.

It is the first gene therapy trial in which Emory Eye Center has participated.

“I am grateful for all the tremendous support I’ve received from Emory, beginning with my recruitment fresh out of fellowship 29 years ago,” Dr. Newman says. “That’s especially true for my colleagues and the chairs of ophthalmology, neurology and neurological surgery, and the Deans of the Emory University School of Medicine.”

The ceremony honoring Dr. Newman will be Tuesday, May 16, 2017, at 5:30 p.m. in the James B. Williams Medical Education Building of Emory University. She will speak on “Mitochondrial Blindness: An Emory Story.”

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