Russell Van Gelder, MD, PhD
Dr. Van Gelder grew up in and around New York City. He earned his BS, MD, and PhD degrees from Stanford University. Dr. Van Gelder completed his ophthalmology residency and uveitis and medical retina fellowship at Washington University in St. Louis. He remained on faculty at Washington University from 1999 until 2007, serving as Residency Program Director, Director of Education, and Director of the Uveitis Service.
Dr. Van Gelder is an active clinician-scientist and teacher. In the area of uveitis, his laboratory pioneered application of multiplex and real-time PCR to ocular pathogen detection, and has been at the lead in employing next-generation sequencing technologies to characterization of ocular infections. His laboratory has also been at the forefront of the study of non-visual ocular photoreception and small molecule approaches for vision restoration.
He has published over 200 papers and book chapters, and holds five patents. Dr. Van Gelder has won numerous awards for his research, including the Research to Prevent Blindness Career Development Award, the Translational Scientist Award of the Burroughs-Wellcome Foundation, the Heed-Gutman award of the Heed Foundation, and an ‘Audacious Goals’ award of the National Eye Institute. He was the 2017 recipient of the Bressler Prize of the Lighthouse Guild. He has been named a ‘Seattle Metropolitan Magazine Best Doctor’ in each of the past 10 years. He has given over 20 named lectures and over 100 invited talks, and was the 2021 Jackson Memorial Lecturer at AAO.
Dr. Van Gelder is past Associate Editor of IOVS and since February of 2022 Editor-in-Chief of Ophthalmology. Nationally, he served in 2015 as President of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. He is also past president of the American Uveitis Society and was 2018 President of the Association of University Professors of Ophthalmology. He currently serves on the Council of Councils of the NIH Director.
Prior to moving to University of Washington, he held the Bernard Becker Professorship at Washington University. Since 2008, Dr. Van Gelder has been the Boyd K. Bucey Memorial Chair, professor and chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology at University of Washington in Seattle, where he also serves as founding director of both the UW Medicine Eye Institute and the University of Washington Vision Science Center. He lives near Seattle Washington with his wife Suzy, a professor of pathology at UW. They have two adult children, Rachel (a graduate student in immunology) and Max (a graduate student in computer science).