Visvanathan Ramamurthy, Ph.D., hopes to continue making positive impacts on the health and wellness of West Virginians with ocular diseases while mentoring the next generation of scientists.
Ramamurthy joined WVU as an assistant professor in 2006, serving the departments of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences and Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine. Ramamurthy said that the collaborative and supportive nature of WVU has provided him with ample opportunities to secure federal grants and establish his research program. He credits his success in those areas for giving him the knowledge and tools he needs to be able to make a positive change in the ocular health of West Virginians.
One such grant is the NIH CoBRE grant, which has made WVU just the second university in the country to receive funding for a Center of Biomedical Research Excellence focused on visual sciences. West Virginia has the second-highest rate of visual disability in the U.S., according to Ramamurthy, and he says this funding will propel WVU forward in reducing those visual disparities.
“CoBRE will allow us to recruit researchers and clinician-scientists who we can work with to develop innovative ways to prevent, treat and slow the progression of vision problems and blinding eye disease that are currently incurable right here in West Virginia.”
In addition to making an impact on the state as a whole, he is also continuing to make an impact in the classroom. During his 16 years at the University, Ramamurthy says his passion to teach has only grown.
“Watching our students and trainees grow and become more competent and curious researchers is one of the most rewarding aspects of my role. I love seeing them question me, themselves and the research,” Ramamurthy said. “Their drive to make discoveries each day inspires me to do the same.”
Ramamurthy has served as the director of research for the WVU Eye Institute since 2008 and the chair for the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine since 2020. During his time at WVU, he’s accumulated several awards and honors, but he says the one that he treasures most came from his students.
“I was awarded the WVU School of Medicine’s Outstanding Mentor Award in 2018, based on nominations from my students. I felt very humbled by that and it means so much to me to know I have been able to have as positive of an impact on my students throughout my career as they have had on me,” Ramamurthy said.