Faculty to receive endowed appointments at investiture ceremony March 28

Please plan to attend an investiture ceremony honoring four University of Iowa faculty members, including three faculty from the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences in the UI Carver College of Medicine, at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, March 28, in the Prem Sahai Auditorium in the Medical Education and Research Facility (MERF). A reception will follow in the Jean and Reneé Robillard Atrium in MERF.

The event will celebrate faculty appointments to an endowed professorship established by a gift from the family of Robert and Joell Brightfelt, of Lake Forest, Illinois, and an endowed chair and two professorships established by a gift from the family of the late Jim O’Brien Gross and his widow, Donnita Gross, of Boulder City, Nevada.

Mark Greiner, MD

The Robert and Joell Brightfelt Professorship in Cornea Research

Mark Greiner, MD

Greiner is an associate professor in the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences. He is medical director of the Iowa Lions Eye Bank and serves on the board of directors of the Eye Bank Association of America. His clinical interests include eye banking, cornea transplantation, and corneal endothelial health. As a clinician-scientist, Greiner has created a translational research program focused on the cellular metabolism of corneal tissue and transplant outcomes.

The Jim O’Brien Gross and Donnita Gross Professorship in Ophthalmology

Erin Shriver, MD, FACS

Erin Shriver, MD, FACS

Shriver is a clinical associate professor in the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences. She is active in education and advocacy at the state, national, and international levels through her work with the American Society of Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and the organization Women in Ophthalmology. Her research interests include advances in oculoplastic techniques, metrics for eyelid position and periocular aesthetics, and surgical simulation training.

The Captain Jim and Donnita Gross Professorship in Ophthalmology

Matthew Thurtell, MBBS, MSc

Matthew Thurtell, MBBS, MSc

Thurtell is an associate professor and director of the neuro-ophthalmology service in the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences. He also holds a faculty appointment in the Department of Neurology in the UI Carver College of Medicine. Thurtell’s clinical practice incorporates the full spectrum of neuro-ophthalmic disorders. His research interests include eye movement kinematics, diagnosis and treatment of eye movement disorders, and idiopathic intracranial hypertension.

The Captain Jim “Max” Gross Chair in Engineering

Thomas Schnell, PhD

Thomas Schnell, PhD

Schnell is a professor of industrial engineering in the UI College of Engineering. He also holds a faculty appointment in the Department of Neurology. He is the founder and director of the Operator Performance Laboratory (OPL) at the UI Center for Computer-Aided Design, where he serves as associate director. OPL conducts neurocognitive human factors research in a number of areas of surface and air transportation.

About the Gross family

Jim O’Brien Gross and Donnita Gross

The professorships and chair bearing the Gross name were made possible due to the generosity of the late Jim O’Brien Gross and his widow, Donnita Gross, of Boulder City, Nevada.

The grandson of C. S. O’Brien, the founder of the UI Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, Gross and members of his family established the Lillian C. O’Brien and Dr. C. S. O’Brien Chair in Ophthalmology in 2006, which is currently held by Keith Carter, MD, FACS, professor and chair of the UI Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences. Upon Gross’ passing in 2016, Donnita Gross continued the passion of her late husband by providing support to establish the new professorships and chair, which will help keep the UI at the forefront of innovation and discovery.

About the Brightfelt family

Robert and Joell Brightfelt

The Robert and Joell Brightfelt Professorship in Cornea Research is made possible due to the generosity of Robert and Joell Brightfelt, of Lake Forest, Illinois.

For much of his life, Robert Brightfelt dealt with some form of vision loss. After being diagnosed with Fuchs’ dystrophy, an eye disease in which cells lining the inner surface of the cornea slowly start to die off, Brightfelt learned he needed two corneal transplants. Mark Greiner, MD, and his team at Iowa performed both transplants and were able to completely restore Brightfelt’s vision. The Brightfelts credit Greiner and his colleagues for this life-changing experience. As they saw Greiner’s work firsthand and learned more about the things his lab plans to accomplish in the future, they were inspired to support this work.

For more information about the March 28 investiture ceremony, contact Mackenzie Krob, associate director for events, health sciences, at the UI Center for Advancement at mackenzie.krob@foriowa.org.