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Steve Chaplin
University Communications

Last modified: Friday, October 2, 2009

IU School of Optometry professor named to federal advisory committee

Oct. 2, 2009

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University School of Optometry Associate Dean and Professor Dr. Joseph A. Bonanno has been named to the 12-member National Advisory Eye Council.

The council, part of the National Institutes of Health's National Eye Institute (NEI), provides advice on conducting and supporting research, health information dissemination, training and other programs that address blinding eye diseases and disorders, visual function mechanisms, sight preservation and health needs of visually impaired individuals.

Joseph A. Bonanno

Dr. Joseph A. Bonanno, above, becomes the third faculty member from the Indiana University School of Optometry to sit on the National Advisory Eye Council, a federal advisory committee of the National Institutes of Health.

NAE council members serve in the role of federal advisory committee appointees who are in this case leaders in the fields of ophthalmology, optometry and basic sciences, as well as public policy, law, health policy, economics and management.

Bonanno is the third School of Optometry faculty member selected to serve on this prestigious committee. He follows in the footsteps of IU's first committee member, former IUSO Dean Dr. Gordon G. Heath, and Dr. Sarita Soni, the current interim dean of IUSO.

"It was an honor for me to serve and I came away with many ideas that we were able to use here at the School of Optometry," Soni said. "Dr. Bonanno's appointment is recognition of his long and distinguished research record and I hope an acknowledgment of IUSO's growing stature in the eye research community. The school is grateful for his leadership in academic programs and research."

Bonanno, the School of Optometry's executive associate dean for academic affairs and student administration, came to IU in 1998 from a professorship at the University of California Berkeley School of Optometry. A teacher of biochemistry and physiology, Bonanno has over the past 18 years focused his research primarily on the ion and fluid transport properties of the corneal endothelium and on corneal metabolic activity in humans.

A fellow of the American Academy of Optometry and a former chair of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology's Physiology/Pharmacology Program Planning Committee, Bonanno in 2000 received the American Optometric Foundation's Glenn A. Fry Lecture Award recognizing current research by a distinguished scientist or clinician.

The National Eye Institute has supported Bonanno's research since 1991. He has received additional funding from corporate sponsors including Bausch & Lomb and CIBAVision, in addition to support from Metacyt and Indiana University Bloomington's Faculty Research Support Program operated by the IU Office of the Vice Provost for Research.

"I am excited to be joining such a distinguished group and to have the opportunity to learn about all of the activities of the NEI," he said. " I am also honored to be in a position to advise the director and NEI program staff."

The three others appointed to fill the remaining seats on the NEAC were Dr. James Chodosh, an ophthalmologist at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and a lecturer at Harvard Medical School; Col. Donald Gagliano, M.D., who is executive director of the U.S. Department of Defense/Department of Veterans Affairs Vision Center of Excellence; and Alberta Orr, coordinator of the New York City Coalition on Aging and Vision.

"We are excited to welcome these accomplished council members, who offer a wide range of expertise," said National Eye Institute director Dr. Paul A. Sieving. "We look forward to their guidance as the NEI continues to advance vision science and the eye health of the nation."

To speak with Bonanno, please contact Steve Chaplin, Office of Communications, at 812-856-1896 or