Notable Alumnus

Dr. Ralph Freeman
Class of 1963

Professor Ralph Freeman was an undergraduate at Miami University and completed an optometry program at the Ohio State University (BS’63). While there, he did a research project under the guidance of Glenn Fry, which led to an interest in vision research. At the University of California, Berkeley, he did an MS in Physiological Optics and a PhD in Biophysics. He was appointed as an Assistant Professor at UC Berkeley and became an Associate and then Full Professor there. He is associated with Vision Science and Optometry, Bioengineering, Biophysics, and the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute at UC Berkeley. He has taught various courses in neuroscience, visual science, and optometry, to undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate students. Many of the students he has trained have become highly established scientists in their own careers.

He has been a Biophysics Training Fellow, the recipient of an NIH Research Career Development Award, a visiting research scientist at the University of Cambridge, and a Visiting Professor at the Chinese Academy of Science and at Osaka University School of Medicine. He has given a Plenary Special Lecture at the Society for Neuroscience and is an elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has been an invited speaker in various worldwide locations at universities, research institutes, international conferences, and professional meetings. He has been an advisor to NIH and has served on study sections for NIH grant applications. He has been an advisor to the National Science Foundation, a reviewer for foundations and government agencies and for various scientific journals, periodicals, and publishing companies. He is a member of several scientific societies and editorial boards of scientific journals. He has received a Bing Memorial Award, is a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry, gave the Peters Memorial lecture, gave an Alberta Heritage Foundation lecture, was a Fellow of the Japanese Society for Promotion of Science, gave the Brakeman Memorial lecture, was a lecturer in Barcelona, Spain for a Catalonian Studies Program, gave the David Bodian Seminar in Neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University, was a guest lecturer at University of Chile, Santiago, and gave a special lecture at York University, Toronto, Canada.

Dr. Freeman has had a very long and notable research career covering various areas of visual function. He has published extensively and is widely cited in the scientific literature. He is considered internationally as a pioneer and leading experimentalist in visual function. He has received various research grants during his extended career and has been funded in a competitive grant process continually for 41 years by the National Eye Institute, a division of the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Freeman is now retired but remains a Professor of the Graduate School at UC Berkeley. He was recently inducted into the Berkeley Optometry Hall of Fame.

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