Distinguished Alumnus

kinoshita.jpg2011 Distinguished Alumni

Shigeru Kinoshita, M.D., Ph.D.

Innovator and Pioneer in the Biology and Reconstruction of the Ocular Surface
Builder of Academic and Research Programs
Mentor and Exceptional Citizen of the Cornea and Ophthalmic Community



Shigeru Kinoshita, M.D., Ph.D. graduated from Osaka University Medical School in 1974, and has served as the Professor and Chairman of Ophthalmology at Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine since 1992. In the early 1980s at Schepens Eye Research Institute, he, in collaboration with Doctor Richard A. Thoft, established the concept of centripetal movement of corneal epithelium, and his groundbreaking work has shed new light on the importance of limbal epithelium. His series of findings has had an enormous impact on this subject, ultimately contributing to the development of the corneal stem cell theory. Over the past 30 years, his primary interest has been focused on the research and development of new therapeutic modalities for the cornea. Following this path, his group has recently established the system of cultivated mucosal epithelial stem cell transplantation and cultivated corneal endothelial transplantation. Dr. Kinoshita is a recipient of the 1999 Alcon Research Institute Award, the 2008 Castroviejo Medal Lecturer of the Cornea Society. He served as an ARVO Program Committee Member in the Cornea Section between 1996 and 1999, and he is currently the ARVO Vice President-Elect. Dr. Kinoshita presently serves as the Associate Editor of Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, and as an Editorial Board Member of Experimental Eye Research and Cornea. 


tatsuo_hirose.jpg2010 Distinguished Alumni

Tatsuo Hirose, M.D.

Brilliant, Humble, Compassionate Clinician and Surgeon
Pioneer in the Treatment of Pediatric Retinal Diseases, especially Advanced Retinopathy of Prematurity
Teacher and Mentor to so Many

The award was presented to Dr. Hirose at the 60th Annual Meeting on October 22, 2010

Tatsuo Hirose received his M.D. from Kanazawa University, Japan where he continued his studies with an internship and residency in Ophthalmology. He completed general ophthalmology courses at Harvard Medical School. His postgraduate studies include a fellowship in Electrophysiology at Cornell Medical Center, New York, and a vitreoretinal fellowship at the Eye Research Institute of Retina Foundation and Clinical Fellow, Retina Service, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Boston. Dr. Hirose is board certified in Ophthalmology and currently is a Clinical Senior Scientist, Schepens Eye Research Institute; Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology, Harvard Medical School; and Surgeon in Ophthalmology at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary. Dr. Hirose has received numerous awards for exceptional work in his field. Some of these are as follows: Fulbright Fellowship; Honor Award and Senior Award of the American Academy of Ophthalmology; selected in The Best Doctors in America; selected Boston’s Best Doctors, Boston Magazine; The Paul Kayser International Award of Merit in Retina Research; Rofeh’s Lillian and Harry Andler Memorial Award; named W. Clement Stone Clinical Research Scholar at the Schepens Eye Research Institute, and received the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Distinguished Service Award. In addition to his distinguished career as a surgeon and professor, Dr. Hirose has published 160 original peer-reviewed papers. He has developed surgical techniques for severe retinal detachments, retinopathy of prematurity, giant retinal tears and proliferative vitreoretinopathy (PVR). He has also developed clinically useful objective retinal function tests including local macular ERG-VER, electrically evoked responses (EER), and infant vision testing, particularly in those infants with low vision. Dr. Hirose operated on a large number of infants with a severe type of retinal detachment associated with retinopathy of prematurity and evaluated their vision quantitatively after the surgeries and proved that the surgery could save vision in some infants with severe retinal detachments.

2009 Distinguished Alumni 

mra.jpgMathea R. Allansmith, M.D.

Pioneer in Ocular Immunology
Nomenclator of Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis
Clinician-Scientist, Lecturer, and Mentor Extraordinaire
Role Model for Women in Ophthalmology


Mathea R. Allansmith, M.D., is a distinguished Ophthalmic Clinician-Scientist who has made seminal contributions to the understanding and treatment of ocular surface disease. Dr. Allansmith received her Bachelors degree from the University of California at Berkeley in 1952 and her Medical degree from the University of California School of Medicine, San Francisco, in 1955. Following residency training in Ophthalmology, Pediatrics and Immunology at Stanford Medical School, as well as Board certification in all 3 specialties, Dr. Allansmith became an Assistant Professor of Surgery and Ophthalmology at Stanford.  In 1974 she moved to Boston and the Institute to do a Corneal Fellowship with Claes Dohlman.  In 1975 she became a Senior Scientist at the Schepens and focused her research on ocular mucosal immunology, with a particular emphasis on vernal conjunctivitis, secretory immunity and allergies of the eye. Dr. Allansmith and her collaborators soon identified a new ocular surface syndrome, which she named “Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis” in 1977.  During her career Dr. Allansmith authored more than 200 peer reviewed papers and reviews, served on many national and international committees and advisory boards, and lectured widely throughout the world.

Perhaps most insightful about Dr. Allansmith are the comments of her colleagues and students about her exceptional mentorship, teaching skills and research accomplishments. About her mentoring ability, one of her Fellows said “She mentored us in every regard: the science, presentation skills, writing, and professionalism.  She was generous with her support, kind in her manner, and selfless in her commitment to see that we were prepared to carry on independently.” Another Fellow stated, “I really owe her a lot as a teacher and for my life.” And a 3rd Fellow observed, “With her unique background in both allergy and ophthalmology she elevated ocular allergy research to a higher level of sophistication. I’m proud to say that I was one of her Fellows and that my Fellowship with her was a defining experience. I know that many past Fellows feel the same way. Perhaps Mathea’s greatest legacy are all the Fellows she trained and supported who are still out there actively advancing knowledge.” A number of Dr. Allansmith’s Fellows today are Founders of Research Institutions, Directors of Centers, Chairs of Departments of Ophthalmology and Professors, and some are on the Schepens faculty.  

For her teaching ability, a colleague noted that  “Mathea was one of the best lecturers on the ophthalmology circuit for many years.“ And for her research contributions a colleague stated that “Mathea was a quintessentially disciplined laboratory scientist who combined her extraordinary clinical acumen to provide answers for severe clinical problems.”
Overall, Dr. Allansmith was an outstanding citizen at the Schepens, who served in many capacities to further the work of the Institute. And as noted by a colleague, “There are no accolades to adequately describe her friendship and benevolence to all with whom she worked.”

Oleg Pomerantzeff, Dipl. Eng.Oleg Pomerantzeff, Dipl.Eng.

Innovator in the Application of Optics to the
Diagnosis and Treatment of Retinal Disease
Inventor of Ophthalmoscopes and Fundus Cameras

Superb Mentor and Teacher



Oleg Pomerantzeff was an optical engineer and physicist who helped develop and commercialize several innovative instruments for the diagnosis and treatment of eye diseases. He was born in St. Petersburg, Russia, in 1910. His father died in 1917, and the family fled by boat from Batumi to Constantinople in 1921. He reached Belgium through Czechoslovakia, and finished his high school training as a brilliant student at the Collège Nôtre-Dame de la Paix in Namur, Belgium. At this school, he became the lifelong friend of Dr. Charles L. Schepens. Oleg received a grant to study civil engineering at the University of Louvain, and received his Dipl. Eng. degree there. As a civil mining engineer, he worked in Yugoslavia and was active in the resistance during World War II. After imprisonment by the Gestapo, he was able to get to the southern part of France, where he continued working for the underground movement. After the war, he left France for Brazil. In 1960, upon invitation of Dr. Schepens, he joined the Retina Foundation (now the Schepens Eye Research Institute, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School).

This move coincided with the birth and early development of the laser. Dr. Pomerantzeff immediately took a vivid interest in this new light source. He was the first to use extensive computer ray-tracing to obtain an accurate description of the complex optics of the eye.  During his 30 years at the Schepens, he invented the Equator-Plus fundus camera, which enabled a full view of the retina in one picture. He contributed to the development of the indirect binocular ophthalmoscope , which advanced retinal surgery by providing a three-dimensional perspective within the eye, and also the scanning laser ophthalmoscope (SLO), which gives a high-resolution video image of the interior of the eye, useful for both diagnosis and therapy. Towards the end of his career, he worked on a long-wavelength laser useful for halting bleeding from retinal blood vessels. Many colleagues at the biophysics department of the Institute remember him fondly as an extraordinary teacher, mentor, and collaborator.

Dr. Pomerantzeff died of heart failure in Toulouse, France in 1993. He is survived by his wife Eugenia of Brookline, MA; three daughters: Marina Krivcove, Irisha Pomerantzeff, and Anne Bohsack; a son, Andre; a stepson, Peter Simeonides; and five grandchildren.

2008 Distinguished Alumni

2008 Distinguished Alumni Awards were presented at the 58th Annual Meeting of the Corporation on October 10, 2008.



Endre A. Balazs, M.D.

Pioneer in Viscoelastic Therapeutics

Leader in Hyaluronan and Vitreous Research


Endre A. Balazs, MD is a world leader in ophthalmic biochemistry and also a developer of products that have become extremely important and widely used in eye surgery.  Among many talented and famous alumni of what is now Schepens Eye Research Institute, Dr. Balazs occupies a central role as the real builder of the Institute and, at the time, recruiter of much of its faculty.

Born in Budapest, Hungary, he earned his medical degree at the University of Budapest in 1942.  As a result of Hungary’s political upheaval after the war, he left for Sweden in 1947 where he joined the Department of Experimental Histology at the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm.  There he continued his work on carbohydrate chemistry, particularly hyaluronan.

In Boston Dr. Charles Schepens, who had arrived from Belgium in 1949, had started a retinal detachment surgery practice at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary.  He had the vision of creating an “institute” for retina research and he succeeded in recruiting Dr. Balazs to Boston in 1950 as the leader and builder of the research effort.  Dr. Balazs brought together many talented individuals in what was then called the “Retina Foundation”.

In the 1960’s, with space running out, a new institute (the present) was built.  Here it was Dr. Balazs who was the undisputed leader and developer and the result was our magnificent research institute, where biology and biochemistry occupied about half the space and ophthalmic bioengineering the rest.

During these years Dr. Balazs’ work became more focused on vitreous replacement, particularly with hyaluronan, a carbohydrate macromolecule which is found in many tissues but particularly in the vitreous.  This led to the development and purification of high-molecular hyaluronan for medical purposes.  The compound was later marketed as a viscoelastic product, “Healon”.  When used during eye surgery, Healon provides unique protection to the eye tissues and it has since been used to an extraordinary extent.  Practically all present cataract surgery world-wide includes the use of a viscoelastic.

Regrettably for the Institute and for Harvard, in 1975 Dr. Balazs was recruited to New York City’s Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital as their

Director of Ophthalmic Research.  He is currently the Malcolm P. Aldrich Research Professor, Emeritus.

Dr. Balazs had visions of wider applications of hyaluronan in medicine, e.g. for arthritic joints.  In 1969 he founded Biotrics, Inc. and in 1981 he co-founded Biomatrix, Inc., where he as Chief Executive Officer and Chief Scientific Officer further expanded the medical applications of the substance.  In 1999, Biomatrix was recognized by Fortune as one of the fastest growing companies in the US.  In 2000, Biomatrix was sold to Genzyme, Inc.

Dr. Balazs then co-founded the Matrix Biology Institute, a philanthropic foundation dedicated to promoting research on hyaluronan.  A most fitting way to phase out a brilliant scientific career!

Biography written by Claes H. Dohlman, M.D., Ph.D.


mishima.jpg Saiichi Mishima, M.D., D.Sc.

Pioneer in Corneal Physiology
Brilliant Teacher and Mentor
Leader of Japanese Ophthalmology 

A leader of Japanese ophthalmology, Saiichi Mishima, M.D., D.Sc., was born in Osaka, Japan in 1927.  The war years were hard on everybody but, in 1945 he entered Tokyo University Medical School - the most prestigious medical institution in the country.  After internship, he began his ophthalmology training at the same university, followed by academic positions at Kanto Teishin Hospital and Tokyo Medical and Dental University.  In 1959 he received a scholarship from the British Council for one year of study at the Institute of Ophthalmology in London on corneal physiology with David Maurice, Ph.D., a leading thinker and experimentalist in the field.  There Dr. Mishima studied the fluid regulation in the cornea and its implications.  A year after his return to Tokyo, he left again, now for the United States where he began a two year collaboration in the Cornea Unit of what was then named the Retina Foundation, now the Schepens Eye Research Institute.  Here Dr. Mishima continued his brilliant research on the imbibition pressure of the corneal stroma.  This was followed by three years of research at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York City, where his attention shifted to the corneal endothelium and its pump function.

In 1968, Dr. Mishima returned to Tokyo University, where three years later he was appointed to Full Professor and Chairman of the country’s foremost ophthalmology department.  He showed extraordinary leadership in mentoring junior faculty, as well as colleagues, in their careers and research. He was elected by his colleagues to leadership roles in professional organizations, including: President of the Japanese Ophthalmologic Society; Director and Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Tokyo University Hospital; Secretary General of the 1978 International Congress.

In 1987, Dr. Mishima retired from his Chairmanship at Tokyo University and became the Director of the Tokyo Kosei-Nenkin Hospital.  He also continued his scholarship, producing “The History of Ophthalmology in Japan” and “International Biography and Bibliography of Ophthalmologists and Vision Scientists”.

Dr. Mishima died in Tokyo in July 2005 from complications of severe rheumatoid arthritis, leaving an extraordinary legacy to the study of ophthalmology throughout the world.  He was his country’s foremost leader in his profession.

Biography written by Claes H. Dohlman, M.D., Ph.D.


2007 Distinguished Alumnus



Claes H. Dohlman, M.D., Ph.D.

Clinician-Scientist, Teacher and Mentor Extraordinaire

Founder of the Institute's Cornea Research Program

Discoverer of Key Components of Corneal Function

Developer of the Boston Keratoprosthesis



Claes H. Dohlman, M.D., Ph.D. is generally regarded as the founder of modern corneal science, and nearly all those trained at the Institute in corneal research trace their scientific lineage back to him.  An outstanding clinician, teacher, and researcher, Dr. Dohlman’s novel techniques and inventions continue to move the field forward.

As the Chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School in 1974, Dr. Dohlman made the first appointments of Institute scientists within the Harvard Department of Ophthalmology.  Within a short time, all Institute scientists had such appointments and became active members of the Department.  Although he retired from these administrative roles in 1989, Dr. Dohlman remains active as a member of the Infirmary’s Cornea Service, with ongoing clinical, dedicated teaching, and renewed research interests.

Dr. Dohlman created the fellowship program at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and Schepens Eye Research Institute, which was the first formal corneal fellowship program in the United States. Dohlman has trained hundreds of fellows many of whom are full professors and chairs of departments around the world. His commitment to teaching and education has enabled many of his students to leave their mark on the field of ophthalmology.