Internationally renowned ophthalmologist and scientist Alex V. Levin, M.D., MHSc, FRCSC, has joined the Medical Center as chief of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Ocular Genetics at the Flaum Eye Institute and chief of Pediatric Genetics at Golisano Children's Hospital. He was also named the Adeline Lutz - Steven S.T. Ching, M.D., Distinguished Professor in Ophthalmology.
Levin is the only physician in the world to simultaneously hold U.S. board certifications in Pediatrics, Ophthalmology and Child Abuse Pediatrics. He joins URMC from Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia.
"Dr. Levin is among the top three ophthalmologists in his field and an incredible asset to the institution," said David DiLoreto, Jr., M.D., Ph.D., chair of Ophthalmology and FEI director. "He has a collegial and inquisitive manner that inspires and engages learners at every level—from students to faculty as well as patients and their families"
Integrating clinical expertise and scientific exploration, Levin works with multispecialty teams to provide the most advanced and compassionate care for infants and children and their families. He specializes in cataracts, uveitis, glaucoma and corneal disease as well as ocular injuries from child abuse, along with ophthalmologic complications of hereditary diseases, such as retinal dystrophies and genetic syndromes in adults and children.
"Dr. Levin is one of the most distinguished ophthalmologists in the world as a clinician, researcher, and educator," said Patrick Brophy, M.D., chair of Pediatrics and Pediatrician-in-Chief for the Golisano Children's Hospital. "His innovations in studying the ocular manifestations of child abuse, as well as his vast expertise with pediatric cataract, pediatric glaucoma, and ocular genetics, will significantly advance the Medical Center's research efforts."
Joining URMC provides opportunity to take advantage of the "tremendous clinical, education and research collaborations and to work with other divisions to elevate the programs," Levin said. He will help direct creation of Ocular Genetics and Pediatric Ophthalmology fellowships and recruit trainees within the next year.
"I'm astounded by URMC's opportunities. The research at FEI is remarkable and adding ocular genetics is a great move," he said. He plans to bring FEI and GCH scientists together to strengthen research and expand horizons.
An avid reader who collects and uses antique fountain pens, Levin is a Canadian who grew up in Philadelphia, but spent most of his professional life in Toronto. He is pleased to be closer to his family and friends "back home" in Canada.
He studied at Muhlenberg College before earning his medical degree from Jefferson Medical College. He completed residencies in pediatrics at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and then ophthalmology at Wills Eye Hospital, Sidney Kimmel Medical College. Levin then went to University of Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children for fellowship training in pediatric ophthalmology and strabismus. He later earned a Master's in Health Science in bioethics.
Funded by the National Institutes for Health, the Canadian Institute of Health, and private foundations, Levin's basic and translational research interests have included ocular genetics and gene therapy, children's vision screening, pediatric glaucoma, cataract and uveitis, ocular manifestations of child abuse and bioethics. He has published hundreds of papers and chapters, and 13 books, and lectures extensively around the world to advance understanding and treatment of eye disease and related developmental anomalies, pediatric genetics, and improve public health.
Levin's professorship is named for Lutz, a longtime patient and FEI benefactor, and her ophthalmologist Ching, who provided 20 years of expert care for her extensive retinal and corneal problems.
When Lutz died in 2011, the humble piano teacher left her life savings to support FEI research and education programs and the FEI pavilion is named for her. The professorship was established in 2014 and was originally held by Ching. When he retired, Ching's name was added to the professorship.
With Levin's recruitment, this gift continues to make a difference for the institution and its patients.