[April 2008] Ophthalmologist John Huang, MD, treats diseasesof the eye, but his sub-specialty covers the rest of the body. Huang, director of the uveitis service, treats inflammation of the eye that may be related to hypertension, diabetes, lupus, rheumatoidarthritis, herpes, syphilis or HIV. “The interesting thing with the uveitis and the retina is we deal a little bit more with systemic diseases,” he said. “Because I see patients with ocular inflammationand infection, I treat them much as a rheumatologist does, often using the same medications and following them in much the same way. It’s very interesting because it brings together more of what we learned in medical school.”
Huang, who arrived at Yale in 2007 after two years on the faculty of Stony Brook University, often treats patients with hard-to-manage inflammation that doesn’t respond to the steroid eye drops ophthalmologists generally prescribe. In addition to using immunosuppressants, Huang might inject medication or implant devices that release drugs over a period of months. Before such drugs were available, HIV patients who developed cytomegalovirus retinitis often went blind. His practice also includes retinal detachment repairs and treatment of patients with diabetes-related complications and bleeding in the eye, for which he performs a vitrectomy to remove the blood and scar tissue related to the diabetic retinopathy.
Originally, Huang wanted to be a cardiothoracic surgeon, but he switched to ophthalmology because it offered rapidly changing surgical techniques and the opportunity to help and interact with patients in an outpatient setting. In addition to his clinical practice, he spends a lot of time on research. “Research allows me to have a more global effect and clinical practice allows me to work one-on-one with patients, and for those with the greatest need I can offer the newest treatment coming out of the research,” he said. He is currently working with Josephine Hoh, PhD, associate professor of epidemiology and ophthalmology, who has pinpointed genes associated with macular degeneration, to develop targeted pharmacogenetic therapy to treat the disease.
- Originally published in the April 2008 issue of Yale Practice.
Name: John Huang, MD
Title: Director of Uveitis Service, Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Science.
Area of expertise: Vitreo-Retina Disease; Ocular Inflammatory Disease.
Place of birth: Shanghai, China.
College: New York University.
Med School: Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
Training: Residency at New York University Medical Center/Manhattan Eye, Ear & Throat Hospital; fellowships in vitreo-retina disease at the Wilmer Eye Institute of Johns Hopkins Hospital and ocular immunology and uveitis at Harvard University School of Medicine
Family: Married to Veena Channamsetty, MD (family practice); son: Deven, age 3.
What is most challenging to you in academic medicine? Balancing the many roles of teacher, physician, researcher and administrator.
What is most rewarding? Developing new technology and research to change the way we do medicine.
What do you like most about your practice? The opportunity to do the important research projects I am interested in.
Personal interests or pastimes? My family is the most important aspect of my life. Additional hobbies include basketball, tennis and cooking.
Last book read: The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett.
What would you do to improve our clinical environment if you had a magic wand? Reduce the paperwork connected to getting research started. It takes a long time to get clinical studies up and running.