Notable Alumnus

Michael D. Twa, OD, PhD, FAAO

Although he has lived many years outside of Ohio, Dr. Twa is a native Ohioan. He completed his optometry training at the University of California, Berkeley School of Optometry and then practiced in the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of California, San Diego for 11 years in general optometry and corneal refractive surgery before returning to pursue a PhD in Vision Science at The Ohio State University College of Optometry. While at the College, he was awarded a Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award by the National Institutes of Health/National Eye Institute to pursue research related to biomedical imaging and machine learning methods. Upon completion of his doctoral training, Dr. Twa was appointed as a Research Assistant Professor. In 2007, he moved to the University of Houston College of Optometry,where he was recently promoted to Associate Professor. Dr. Twa became a fellow of the American Academy of Optometry in 1993 and has served as the Chair of the Academy's Scientific Program Committee since 2011.

At the University of Houston, Dr. Twa’s teaching assignments include human anatomy and histology. He leads an NIH/NEI summer research fellowship program for students interested in pursuing careers in academia or as clinician scientists. His current research focus is on the development of elastography imaging, a non-invasive way to determine the stiffness of ocular tissues using optical coherence tomography imaging. The goal of this research is early disease detection and monitoring the effects of clinical treatments. This work has direct applications for ocular diseases like keratoconus and treatments like corneal cross-linking.

Dr. Twa has been married to his wife, Jeanette, for 24 years, and they have three children Emily (20), Joli (18) and Guy (16). Together, they have traveled the world and now call Houston, Texas their home. Dr. Twa writes, "My journey in this profession has been been very rewarding. I could never have imagined the number of things I would experience, the places I would travel, the people whose lives I would have an opportunity to touch and who would touch mine. None of this journey would have been possible or nearly as fulfilling if it were not for the love, support and sacrifice of my wife and children."

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