2021 Ronald G. Michels Award Winners

Matthew Starr, MD
Mayo Clinic

The Ronald G. Michels Foundation Fellowship Award, better known as “The Michels” is one of highest honors that can be bestowed upon a surgical retina fellow. Last week, Chairman of the Ronald G. Michels Foundation Fellowship and Editor-in-Chief of RETINA, Dr. Alexander J. Brucker made his traditional phone calls, notifying the 2021 winners that they had been selected to receive this illustrious award.

Throughout the field of Vitreoretinal surgery, Dr. Ron Michels was known for his surgical excellence and prolific authorship, pushing the field forward. His surgical textbook, Retinal Detachment, published in the 1990s is still the premier surgical text for vitreoretinal fellows and surgeons to this day. Those who knew him personally before he passed always mentioned his knack for teaching, hoping to train many great surgeons and thus saving the sight of many patients.

The Ronald G. Michels Foundation Fellowship award is given to those fellows each year who embody those ideals that Dr. Michels carried with him throughout his life.

The 2021 winners of the Ronald G. Michels Foundation Fellowship Award are:

Jordan Deaner, MD
Kenneth C. Fan, MD, MBA
Edward Korot, MD
Cassie A. Ludwig MD, MS

About the 2021 Award Winners

Jordan Deaner, MD
Duke University Eye Center

I completed my ophthalmology residency at Wills Eye Hospital, a uveitis fellowship at Cole Eye Institute of the Cleveland Clinic, and I am currently a vitreoretinal surgery fellow at Duke University Eye Center. My clinical and research interests focus on the diagnosis, medical and surgical management of infectious and inflammatory ocular disease. For me, the Michels Award represents the collection of my efforts to be an outstanding physician, surgeon, educator, and researcher. I owe a great deal to my outstanding mentors who have taken the time and effort to guide and promote me throughout my career.

Kenneth C. Fan MD, MBA
Bascom Palmer Eye Institute

It is an honor and privilege to join the Ronald G. Michels Fellowship Foundation family. After obtaining my MD/MBA from Boston University, I completed my residency at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute where I am now a vitreoretinal surgery fellow and chief resident. Support from the Michels Fellowship means a lot to me and my career aspirations. With this support, I hope to dedicate my research to advancing the field of retinal gene therapy and expanding treatment options for patients with inherited retinal diseases.

Edward Korot, MD
Stanford University Byers Eye Institute

I am exceedingly honored and humbled to join the Michels family! I would not have achieved this recognition without the support of my mentors, to whom I am eternally grateful. I truly feel like I am standing on the shoulders of giants. I look forward to bringing AI to clinical implementation for the benefit of doctors and patients alike.

Cassie A. Ludwig MD, MS
Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary

It is a great honor to join the Michels Foundation Fellowship family, and I have my outstanding mentors at Duke, Stanford and Massachusetts Eye and Ear to thank for their inspiration and encouragement along this journey. I am a Vitreoretinal Surgery fellow at Massachusetts Eye and Ear and I am thrilled to be a part of the field of Retina – a field brimming with innovators and thought leaders in medicine. My fascination with the neurosciences brought me to my current area of focus in myopia and other eye structure variants, where we have work to do to halt the rise in the incidence of high and consequent pathologic myopia. Following fellowship, I plan to continue to investigate the epidemiology, genetics, and mechanisms of myopia, and I deeply appreciate the support of the Michels Foundation in pursuing this work.