David A. DiLoreto, Jr., M.D., Ph.D., was named chair of the University of Rochester Medical Center’s Department of opthalmology and director of the Flaum Eye Institute, pending approval by the Office of the Provost. He succeeds Chair Steven Feldon, M.D., M.B.A., who will transition to associate vice president and director of the Office of Biomedical Research Development.
“Under Steve Feldon’s leadership, the Flaum Eye Institute experienced remarkable growth in size, volume and reputation over the past decade. We are confident David DiLoreto is the right person to build upon this strong foundation to move us forward in the spirit of Meliora,” said Mark Taubman, M.D., Medical Center CEO. “He has the interpersonal and communication skills to work well with colleagues across the department, Medical Center, and University to advance the institutional missions. We are delighted he has accepted the position.”
DiLoreto will take on the new role Dec. 16.
Michael F. Rotondo, M.D., F.A.C.S., CEO of the Medical Faculty Group, said DiLoreto was selected after a national search because he “presented an extremely detailed vision for the development of the department across all of its missions. His 17 years at the Medical Center gave him an acute awareness of both the tremendous accomplishments of the department and opportunities to further strengthen programs.”
FEI is the leading vision care and research center in Upstate New York. The Department includes more than 45 full- and part-time physicians and scientists and the clinical team has seen double-digit volume increases annually since 2002. Last year, they charted more than 70,000 visits in five locations and performed 4,000 surgeries.
The center consistently ranks in the Top 25 for National Institutes of Health research funding and has partnerships with the University’s Center for Visual Sciences, prestigious LV Prasad Eye Institute in India, and industry leaders across the world.
“Dr. DiLoreto has a background in basic science research, while also being a highly respected clinician, teacher, and leader,” said Jeffrey Lyness, M.D., senior associate dean for Academic Affairs, who led the national search for the new chair. “He has a very broad view of the range of activities of the Department of opthalmology and the Flaum Eye Institute, and has worked to engage his departmental colleagues to shape a vision for their continued growth and success across all missions.”
DiLoreto joined the faculty in 2003 and is an active clinician-scientist focused on treatment and prevention of diabetic retinopathy and age-related eye disease.
“It is an exciting time to be in opthalmology. With the rapid advancement of genetic therapy for eye disease, this field is poised to go through a revolutionary phase of treatment of previously untreatable ocular disease. Fifteen years ago the retina field was transformed by anti-VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor) therapy. Now with advancements in artificial intelligence, we are on the verge of delivering eye care in ways never thought possible,” he said.
“It is within this environment that our already stellar research department could achieve top 10 national recognition by using our expertise in imaging and optics to detect disease and develop novel treatments. At the same time, I look forward to advancing our visual restoration program--translating retinal stem cell transplantation from the laboratory to clinic to treat blinding retinal disease.”
He is excited to accommodate the growing and changing expectations faculty, staff and patients have for FEI.
“I hope to increase our clinical care profile by improving patient satisfaction, becoming one of the top opthalmology departments to work in, running a lean, efficient and diverse organization. Any patient in Upstate New York should be able to receive the best and most subspecialized care without having to leave the region,” he said. “Our national reputation will be bolstered by becoming one of the few centers to implement population health in ophthalmology—a process that integrates telemedicine, mobile clinics, and education outreach to help prevent and treat eye disease throughout a large region.”
A graduate of the University of Portland, he earned his M.D. and Ph.D. at the University of Rochester School of Medicine. He completed residency training at the University of Southern California School of Medicine and fellowship at Wilmer Ophthalmological Institute at Johns Hopkins University, where he served in the Retinal Vasculature Center and the Vitreo-Retinal Service.
In his new role directing the Office of Biomedical Research Development, Feldon will work with clinicians, clinician-scientists and basic scientists to identify discoveries with commercial potential and provide assistance in exploring opportunities to bring them to market. He will collaborate with many on-going programs in the region and at the University of Rochester, including UR Ventures, Empire Discovery Institute, Center for Medical Technology & Innovation, Simon Business School Entrepreneurship Programs, and Excell Partners.