Current OD/MS Students

Class of 2018

Ayah Ahamed
Ayah Ahamed graduated with a BA in Natural Science from Fordham University. She is currently enrolled in the Doctor of Optometry program at the SUNY College of Optometry. Ayah entered the Masters in Vision Science program in Fall 2014 and is currently working under the mentorship of Dr. Mark Rosenfield. Her current project aims to evaluate the accuracy and repeatability of a handheld autorefractor in astigmatic eyes. While there have been a wide number of published studies which have evaluated both the precision and repeatability of different autorefractors, relatively few studies have exclusively examined these parameters in eyes with significant amounts of astigmatism. A higher level of accuracy is critical in these eyes, since relatively small errors, particularly in the axis of astigmatism, will have a marked negative impact on a patient’s visual acuity. Ayah finds research in vision science particularly rewarding, and is confident that this research experience will strongly enhance her ability in the clinical setting.
Advisor: Dr. Jerome Sherman
 
Roa Al-Abdalla
Roa Al-Abdalla received her BA in Biology at the Albert Dorman Honors College at New Jersey Institute of Technology, Newark, New Jersey in 2014. She is currently a third year student in the combined Doctor of Optometry and Masters program at SUNY College of Optometry. Roa works with Dr. Suresh Viswanathan to investigate the functional and structural effects of mild traumatic brain injury on retinal ganglion cells.
Advisor: Dr. Suresh Viswanathan
 
Emily Freeman
Emily Freeman received her B.A. in Biochemistry/Molecular Biology at Lewis & Clark College (Portland, OR). Her Thesis Advisor is Dr. Suresh Viswanathan. Emily’s research project title is “Retinal Ganglion Cell Damage in Glaucoma.” The aim of this study is to measure changes in retinal electrophysiology, specifically the photopic negative response (PhNR), as a consequence of primary open angle glaucoma. Measuring these changes and correlating them to standard automated perimetry and ocular coherence tomography, the current gold-standards of glaucoma diagnosis and management, may help us develop a more objective way of monitoring glaucomatous changes to the eye and allow for earlier diagnosis of primary open angle glaucoma.
Advisor: Dr. Suresh Viswanathan
 
Kathleen Hoang
Kathleen Hoang received a B. Sc (Hons.) at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. Her Thesis Advisor is Dr. Mark Rosenfield. Her research project is titled “Autonomic Innervation and Digital Eye Strain.” In today’s world, the viewing of electronic displays has become ubiquitous. However, up to 90% of individuals may experience significant ocular and visual symptoms when viewing digital screens. Previous work from our laboratory and others has shown changes in blink patterns and the position of the upper eyelid when reading from electronic displays. This study seeks to determine whether these changes are produced by variations in autonomic innervation to the eye during the course of a sustained near task. Accordingly, pupil diameter, blink rate, the vertical palpebral aperture dimension, systemic blood pressure and heart rate will be monitored during the course of a series of tasks which vary in their cognitive and visual demands. These findings may identify the physiological mechanisms underlying digital eye strain.
Advisor: Dr. Joan Portello
 
Jennifer Nguyen
Jennifer Nguyen received her BS in Bioengineering from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2007. She is a 3rd year student in the Doctor of Optometry program at SUNY College of Optometry and is working concurrently to complete her Masters in Vision Science. Jennifer works with Dr. Viswanathan to investigate changes in spatial contrast sensitivity function in mild traumatic brain injury. She also aims to study other effects of mild traumatic brain injury on the visual system such as temporal contrast sensitivity function and structural alterations in the retina.
Advisor: Dr. Suresh Viswanathan
 
Meredith Stallone
Meredith Stallone received a B.S. in Biology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her M.S. Research advisor is Dr. Tracy Nguyen. Her research project is the “Analysis of tear film proteins in subjects with dry eye disease.” The focus of this study is to characterize the expression and interaction of certain tear film proteins in subjects with dry eye compared to normal subjects
Advisor: Dr. Tracy Nguyen
 
Danica Yang
Danica Yang, a third year OD/MS candidate at SUNY College of Optometry, is currently conducting research under Dr. Jerome Sherman. She graduated from Barnard College with a Bachelor of Arts in Neuroscience and Behavior. Her previous research includes topographical mapping of visual attention network in humans using fMRI technology. Her current thesis, titled “Constructing a Natural History of Early-Onset Stargardt Disease Using Multimodal Imaging” investigates the early pathogenesis of Stargardt disease using SD-OCT imaging, ultra widefield AF, and cone contrast testing. The goal of the study is to identify early biomarkers of Stargardt Disease that can potentially lead to earlier diagnosis and earlier treatment of the condition
Advisor: Dr. Jerome Sherman
 

Class of 2019

Rita Neiu
Rita Nieu attended the University of California, Davis and received a Bachelors of Science in Genetics with minors in Psychology and Communications. She worked as a research technician in the lab of John Vogel at the USDA before enrolling in the OD/MS program at SUNY College of Optometry. In collaboration with her mentor, Dr Benavente-Perez, her research is focused on detecting changes in retinal function during myopia progression in a primate model through the use of ERG and VEP.
Advisor: Dr. Alexandra Benavente-Perez
 
Tatsiana Palavets
Tatsiana Palavets received her B.A. in Biological Sciences from Hunter College, CUNY. She is currently in OD/MS in program at SUNY College of Optometry. Her Masters Thesis Advisor is Dr. Mark Rosenfield, MC OPTOM, PHD. Her Research project focuses on the “Use of Blue-Blocking Filters to Reduce Digital Eye Strain.” Digital Eye Strain (DES) refers to the visual and ocular symptoms commonly experienced when viewing digital screens. The study examined the effect of a blue-blocking filter on these symptoms while reading continuously from a tablet computer for 30 minutes. In addition, ocular accommodation, pupil size, and the size of the vertical palpebral aperture were also monitored during the task. Preliminary results suggest that the blue-blocking filters do not reduce symptoms of DES.
Advisor: Dr. Mark Rosenfield
 
Brenda Tan
Brenda Tan graduated with a B.S. in Biology from Brown University. Her M.S. Research Advisors are Dr. Stewart Bloomfield and Dr. David Troilo. Her research project focuses on the “Attenuation of Myopic Progression Seen in a Connexin 36 Knockout Mouse Model of Myopia.” The aim of this project is threefold—first to establish a mouse model of myopia, second to examine the environmental effect of dim lighting on myopic progression and third to understand its genetic component by using a knock out model of Connexin 36. In order to perfect the mouse model and provide insight into the widespread variation in measurements amongst labs, I looked at three methods of refraction—1) on the awake and lightly restrained mouse, 2) on an awake and cyclopleged mouse and 3) on a cyclopleged and anesthetized mouse. Refraction was measured using an infrared power refractor modified by Dr. Frank Schaeffel and axial length measured using an OCT.
Advisors: Dr. Stewart Bloomfield, Dr. David Troilo
 
Nolan Wilson
Nolan Wilson graduated from Yale College in 2015 with a B.S. (Int.) in Chemistry. His research was towards the syntheses of two amino-sugar moieties of a cancer metabolite. Now, his research under Dr. Qasim Zaidi uses object segmentation to understand the evolutionary significance of human L- and M-cones. He has enjoyed going from the chemistry of color to the perception of color.
Advisor: Dr. Qasim Zaidi

Class of 2020

Abdula Alamri
Abdula Alamri attended Indiana University and received a B.S. in Neuroscience. He is currently a student in the OD/MS program. In collaboration with his research mentor, Dr. Viswanatahn, his current research focuses on the intensity function of the photopic negative response and visually evoked potential in mild traumatic brain injury.
Advisor: Dr. Suresh Viswanathan
 
Carol Lin
Carol Lin attended the University of California, Los Angeles and received a Bachelors of Science in Neuroscience with a minor in French Language & Linguistics. She did research in the areas of comparative psychology and clinical neuropsychiatry as an undergraduate at UCLA before enrolling in the OD/MS program at the SUNY College of Optometry. In collaboration with her mentor, Dr. Benavente-Perez, her research is focused on characterizing and analyzing changes to the retinal neurovascular unit during myopia progression in a primate model by use of immunohistochemistry and confocal microscopy.
Advisor: Dr. Alexandra Benavente-Perez
 
Max Zimbel
Max Zimbel is currently a student in the OD/MS program. He received his B.A in Psychology with a minor in Biology at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. His advisor is Dr. Suresh Viswanathan. Max’s project focuses on the response changes to the photopic negative response (PhNR) in subjects diagnosed with Diabetic Retinopathy.
Advisor: Dr. Suresh Viswanathan