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Faculty Honored With AAO Secretariat Awards

Three Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences (DOVS) faculty were granted the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s (AAO) Secretariat Award: Cat Burkat, MD, FACS, professor and oculoplastics specialist; Justin Gottlieb, MD, professor and retina specialist, and Daniel Knoch, MD, associate professor and director of medical student education. The Secretariat Award recognizes special contributions to the Academy and to ophthalmology.

Dr. Burkat was recognized for four years of service as the lead editor for the oculoplastics section of EyeWiki. During Dr. Burkat’s tenure, she oversaw the most regularly updated and meticulously maintained section in EyeWiki, and in 2018 Dr. Burkat contributed edits to more than 90 articles, three times greater than any other editor. Concurrently, Dr. Burkat was, and still is, an active member of Basic Clinical and Science Course Section 7, Oculofacial Plastic and Orbital Surgery, which underwent a major revision for 2019.

Dr. Gottlieb was acknowledged for his leadership, contributions, and dedication to the Practicing Ophthalmologist Curriculum (POC). Dr. Gottlieb has served on the POC panel, reviewing and contributing content to the retina/vitreous practice emphasis area from 2009 to the present. The award also recognizes his service as an instructor for the Maintenance of Certification Exam Review course in 2013, 2014, 2016 and 2017.

Dr. Knoch was recognized for his efforts in leading a team of physician medical student educators in the development and maintenance of interactive online cases on the Academy’s medical student website. Dr. Knoch’s advice on new features and content formats added value and helped increase usage across the board.

DOVS Recognized for Contributions to Medical Student Education

The School of Medicine and Public Health (SMPH) recently recognized DOVS and several faculty members within the department for their ongoing commitment and dedicated service to UW medical students. The following is a list of faculty who were acknowledged in the SMPH report.

  • Barbara Blodi, MD, faculty mentor to a student performing a research honors elective in 2017–18; faculty mentor to two students performing research electives in 2017–18 and fall 2019
  • Cat Burkat, MD, FACS, faculty mentor to a 2018 Shapiro summer research student
  • David Gamm, MD, PhD, faculty mentor to a student performing a research honors elective in 2017–18
  • Daniel Knoch, MD, led an ophthalmology rotation option within the legacy year-three neuroscience clerkship
  • Mihai Mititelu, MD, faculty mentor to two students performing research honors electives in 2017–18; faculty mentor to a student performing a research elective in 2017–18 and fall 2019
  • Heather Potter, MD, served as vice chair of the 2017–18 medical student admissions committee
  • Melanie Schmitt, MD, faculty mentor to a student performing a research elective in 2017–18 and fall 2019

Hoon Lab Secures UW2020 Funding

The Hoon Research Laboratory, led by Mrinalini Hoon, PhD, assistant professor, has been awarded $500,000 by the UW2020: WARF Discovery Initiative Cohort for the project, “Imaging the Third Dimension at the Nanometer Resolution.”

The award will be used to acquire a 3View serial block face scanning electron microscope that will allow for large-scale 3D reconstructions of cellular structures and connectivity measures at the finest resolution.

The Hoon Lab member (left to right): Abhilash Sawant, Julie Wallin, Dr. Mrinalini Hoon, Briana Ebbinghaus.

We are very excited about bringing this technology as a shared campus
facility. This instrument will allow ultra fine-scale 3D reconstructions of cellular ensembles and tissue structures and will definitely bolster biological research on campus not only in terms of electron microscopy tools but also in terms of the questions researchers can ask. For our lab this means asking questions about how retinal nerve cells connect and communicate with one another in health and disease.


The UW2020 initiative is funded by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education and the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation. The UW2020 project aims to support groundbreaking research at UW–Madison.