Dean McGee Eye Institute Awards Four Endowed Chairs and One Professorship

Dean McGee Eye Institute Awards Four Endowed Chairs and One Professorship

OKLAHOMA CITY— The Dean McGee Eye Institute (DMEI) announced that four endowed chairs and one endowed professorship have been awarded to faculty members at the Institute and in the University of Oklahoma (OU) College of Medicine’s Department of Ophthalmology. The David W. Parke II, MD Endowed Chair in Ophthalmology has been awarded to R. Michael Siatkowski, MD; the Stanton L. Young Endowed Chair to Daniel J.J. Carr, PhD; the James P. Luton Endowed Chair to Michelle C. Callegan, PhD; the M.G. McCool Endowed Chair to Raju V.S. Rajala, PhD; and the W. Stanley Muenzler, MD Endowed Professorship in Corneal Disease to Alex W. Cohen, MD, PhD.

“Drs. Callegan, Carr, Cohen, Rajala, and Siatkowski are distinguished and highly accomplished leaders in their respective fields,” said Dr. Gregory Skuta, President and CEO of the Dean McGee Eye Institute and Edward L. Gaylord Professor and Chair of the OU Department of Ophthalmology. “These endowed faculty positions represent very special recognition of the recipients’ extraordinary professional achievements and commitment to our academic mission and also honor the outstanding legacy of those for whom they are named.”

The newly created David W. Parke II, MD Endowed Chair in Ophthalmology is awarded to R. Michael Siatkowski, MD, a pediatric ophthalmologist who previously held the James P. Luton Endowed Chair. Prior to joining DMEI in 1999, Dr. Siatkowski served on the faculty of the University of Miami’s Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, where he completed his fellowship training. He also serves as DMEI’s Vice Chair for Academic Affairs and Residency Program Director. The recipient of numerous teaching awards throughout his career, Dr. Siatkowski has held leadership positions in several national organizations, including the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, the American Board of Ophthalmology, the Association of University Professors of Ophthalmology, and the Christian Ophthalmology Society, of which he is past president. He has published almost 100 peer-reviewed manuscripts, is Vice Chair of the Residency Review Committee in Ophthalmology for the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, and was a past recipient of the Anadarko Petroleum Corporation Presidential Professorship at OU.

Dr. David Parke II, for whom this endowed chair is named, was the president of the Eye Institute from 1992 to 2009. He is the current Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer of the 32,000-member American Academy of Ophthalmology, the largest and most respected ophthalmology organization in the world.

The Stanton L. Young Endowed Chair in Ophthalmology is awarded to DMEI vision researcher Daniel J.J. Carr, PhD, who was previously the M.G. McCool Professor of Ophthalmology. Also a Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Dr. Carr and his laboratory focus on herpes simplex virus-1 and the ocular immune system. He joined the faculty at DMEI/OU in 1999 after rising to the rank of Associate Professor at Louisiana State University Medical Center in New Orleans. Dr. Carr has authored or co-authored more than 115 peer-reviewed publications and is the Program Committee chair for the Immunology/Microbiology section of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO). He is also a Presbyterian Health Foundation Presidential Professor and served as Assistant Dean for the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs at the OU Health Sciences Center (OUHSC) from 2010 to 2014. A recipient of major grant support from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other agencies, he also serves as the Principal Investigator for the recently awarded and first NIH/National Eye Institute vision training grant at OUHSC.

Stanton L. Young, a highly respected leader in the Oklahoma City business community, was one of the founders of the Dean McGee Eye Institute. He retired as Chair of the Oklahoma Eye Foundation in 2011 and as a member of the DMEI Board of Trustees and chair of the DMEI Foundation in 2012.

The James P. Luton Endowed Chair in Ophthalmology is awarded to Michelle C. Callegan, PhD, a Professor in the Department of Ophthalmology and the Department of Microbiology and Immunology and Associate Director of Research for the Oklahoma Center for Neuroscience (OCNS). After completing her postdoctoral fellowship training in the Department of Ophthalmology at OUHSC, Dr. Callegan was appointed to a full-time tenure-track faculty position in 1999 and achieved the rank of Professor in 2011. With a research emphasis on the pathogenesis and treatment of bacterial ocular infections, she has a strong record of research support from the NIH and other funding agencies and has more than 60 peer-reviewed scientific publications. Dr. Callegan is past Program Committee chair for the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology’s (ARVO’s) Immunology/Microbiology section and has been recognized as a Gold Fellow by ARVO for her service to this large international organization. In addition, Dr. Callegan was the recipient of OCNS’ Distinguished Service Award in 2013.

James P. Luton, MD, was a prominent Oklahoma City ophthalmologist and member of the DMEI Board of Trustees. The James P. Luton Endowed Chair in Ophthalmology was established in his memory after his death in 1996.

The M.G. McCool Endowed Chair in Ophthalmology is awarded to Raju V. S. Rajala, PhD. Dr. Rajala is a respected vision scientist at DMEI who is a Professor in the Departments of Ophthalmology and Physiology and Adjunct Professor in the Department of Cell Biology in the OU College of Medicine. He also serves as a Module Director for DMEI’s National Eye Institute core grant and as Mentoring Faculty in the Oklahoma Center for Neuroscience. After joining the laboratory of Dr. Robert E. Anderson in 1999, Dr. Rajala was appointed to a tenure-track faculty position in 2003 and was promoted to Professor in 2013. His research focuses on the insulin receptor signaling pathway in retinal photoreceptors and has been well-funded by the NIH and Research to Prevent Blindness. He has published more than 100 peer-reviewed scientific papers and serves on the Editorial Board of the American Journal of Current Biology and as Associate Editor for BMC (BioMed Central, UK) Ophthalmology.

M.G. McCool, for whom this endowed chair was created by his friends and colleagues in 1997, was an Oklahoma City businessman and the first president of the original Oklahoma Eye Foundation established in 1965. He and his wife Lucille were generous donors to DMEI.

The inaugural recipient of the W. Stanley Muenzler, MD Endowed Professorship in Corneal Disease is Alex W. Cohen, MD, PhD, a corneal specialist and Assistant Professor in the Department of Ophthalmology in the OU College of Medicine. He completed his ophthalmology residency and a fellowship in cornea/external disease/ refractive surgery at the University of Iowa in Iowa City and was recruited to the Dean McGee Eye Institute in 2011. In addition to building a busy clinical and surgical practice, Dr. Cohen has more than 30 peer-reviewed publications and has developed an active research program with interests in the rapid detection of ocular surface infectious disease, corneal wound healing, limbal stem cell biology and corneal transplantation. His research has been supported by the Oklahoma Center for Adult Stem Cell Research. In 2014, Dr. Cohen received the Edward and Thelma Gaylord Faculty Honor Award for outstanding contributions to resident education.

The endowed professorship was established in 2014 to honor the memory of one of the Department of Ophthalmology’s most distinguished resident alumni, Dr. W. Stanley Muenzler. Dr. Muenzler was a highly respected corneal surgeon and practiced ophthalmology in Oklahoma City for almost 50 years. He died in 2013 at the age of 81.

“These endowed chairs and professorship serve the dual purpose of honoring giants in the history of the Dean McGee Eye Institute and rewarding truly outstanding faculty,” concluded Dr. Skuta. “Thanks to the support of generous donors, we are able through these endowed positions to advance our research and educational programs and other vital academic activities.”

About the Dean McGee Eye Institute
The Dean McGee Eye Institute is dedicated to serving all Oklahomans and the global community through excellence and leadership in patient care, education and vision research. It is one of the largest and most respected eye institutes in the United States and houses the Department of Ophthalmology for the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine. Its research and training programs are among the most highly regarded in the country. Nineteen of the Institute’s ophthalmologists are listed in the Best Doctors in America; its Director of Vision Research is a Past President of the International Society for Eye Research, Past Vice President of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) and a recipient of ARVO’s prestigious Proctor Medal; two members of the faculty are recent or current directors of the American Board of Ophthalmology; three serve or have recently served on the Board of Trustees of the American Academy of Ophthalmology; one is Vice Chair of the Residency Review Committee in Ophthalmology for the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education; and one is Immediate Past President of the American Academy of Ophthalmology and a Past President of the American Glaucoma Society. For more information, visit

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