Internationally Known Eye Cancer Researcher Joins Sylvester and Bascom Palmer

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Zelia M. Correa, M.D., Ph.D., one of the country’s leading experts in the field of ocular oncology, has joined Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center and Bascom Palmer Eye Institute of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine as co-director of the ocular oncology service.

Dr. Zelia M. Correa

Recognized throughout the world for her expertise in ocular oncology, Dr. Correa specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of eye tumors such as ocular melanoma, retinoblastoma, ocular metastasis, and choroidal hemangioma.

Ocular oncologists are highly specialized ophthalmic surgeons who diagnose and treat tumors and pseudotumors of the eye. Ocular tumors can be benign or malignant and affect patients ranging from young children to older adults. Treatment of these tumors involves various forms of laser and radiation therapy, intraocular injections, delicate biopsy procedures, and advanced microsurgical techniques.

Dr. Correa most recently served as the Tom Clancy Endowed Professor of Ophthalmology at the Wilmer Eye Institute of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore.  In this position, she built an excellent ocular oncology program that has drawn patients from across the U.S. and throughout the world.  She previously served as professor of ophthalmology and Mary Knight Asbury Chair of Ophthalmic Pathology & Ocular Oncology at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine.

“Dr. Correa’s career has been characterized by outstanding accomplishments, not only in the field of ocular oncology, but also in vitreoretinal surgery, ophthalmic pathology, and medical education,” said Eduardo C. Alfonso, M.D., professor and director of Bascom Palmer Eye Institute. “Her extraordinary interdisciplinary expertise will significantly benefit the care of patients who come to Bascom Palmer from around the world,” added Dr. Alfonso, who holds the Kathleen and Stanley J. Glaser Chair in Ophthalmology.

Dr. Correa’s research focuses on the use of artificial intelligence to distinguish benign from malignant ocular tumors based on imaging characteristics.  She will conduct her research at Bascom Palmer’s ocular oncology laboratory.

“Dr. Correa is one of the leading authorities on ocular oncology, and her recruitment to Bascom Palmer will allow us to achieve our ambitious goal of creating the foremost international destination for patients with eye tumors,” said J. William Harbour, M.D., professor of ophthalmology, vice chair for translational research, director of the Bascom Palmer ocular oncology service, holder of the Mark J. Daily Endowed Chair in Ophthalmology, and associate director for basic science at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Dr. Harbour’s world-renowned ocular oncology laboratory focuses on the use of genetic and genomic technology, bioinformatics, and genetically modified experimental models to better understand and treat major forms of eye cancer, including uveal melanoma and retinoblastoma.

“Dr. Correa is widely recognized for her clinical expertise, surgical skills, and devotion to her patients,” Dr. Harbour added. “Her talents will be critical to our ability to provide for the needs of our rapidly expanding number of ocular oncology patients who come to Bascom Palmer from throughout Florida, the Caribbean, Central and South America, and across the globe.”

A native of Brazil, Dr. Correa received a medical degree from the Faculdade de Medicina de São José do Rio Preto (Brazil) followed by a residency in ophthalmology at the Faculdade de Medicina de Marília (Brazil). She received a doctorate in philosophy at the Federal University of São Paulo (Brazil) and completed four fellowships:  vitreo-retinal surgery at the Hospital do Olho Rio Preto (Brazil); ocular oncology and ophthalmic pathology at Wills Eye Hospital; and experimental ophthalmic pathology at McGill University (Canada).

Her academic career includes more than 150 peer-reviewed original scientific publications, book chapters and abstracts. She currently serves as a member of the editorial boards of JAMA Ophthalmology and Translational Vision Science Technology Journal, and is the ocular oncology section editor for EyeNet magazine.

Dr. Correa plays a leadership role in the education of ophthalmologists both in the U.S. and internationally. Her educational focus has been on two separate areas:  graduate medical education, where she served as director of medical education at the University of Cincinnati, and post-graduate medical education, where she has taught ophthalmology residents and retina/ocular oncology fellows for more than two decades in classrooms, patient clinics and operating rooms.

Residents have elected her Faculty of the Year, and the University of Cincinnati presented her with the Dean’s Award for Education. Among her many accolades, the American Academy of Ophthalmology recognized her accomplishments by naming her a “Guest of Honor” and presenting her with a Senior Achievement Award, the Special Recognition Award for Leadership Development, and the International Ophthalmologist Education Award.  She also founded and has directed the leadership development program for the Pan-American Association of Ophthalmology (PAAO) for over a decade. The PAAO recognized her efforts by presenting her with the Ambassador for Education Award and the Benjamin Boyd Humanitarian Award.

 

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