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Emily Chew named NIH distinguished investigator

November 21, 2023

A longstanding member of the NEI/NIH community, Emily, Chew, M.D., has been promoted to the title of NIH Distinguished Investigator for her tireless and prolific work as a care provider and clinical trialist.

Emily Chew

Emily Chew, M.D. 

Chew directs NEI's Division of Epidemiology and Clinical Applications (DECA). An ophthalmologist, she specializes in conditions that affect the retina, the light-sensing tissue in the back of the eye. She has been instrumental to clinical studies aimed at understanding, preventing, and treating vascular diseases of the retina, but chiefly age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy—two of the most common causes of vision loss in the U.S.

Of note, Chew has played key roles in large, long-running clinical trials, including the Early Treatment Diabetic Retinopathy Study, the Age-Related Eye Disease Study, the Actions to Control Cardiovascular Risk in Diabetes Study, and the Age-related Eye Disease Study 2. Results of these studies have led to major advances in strategies for sparing vision from eye disease.

Chew completed medical school and residency training in ophthalmology at the University of Toronto followed by a fellowship in medical retina at Johns Hopkins University. She first joined the NEI as a visiting scientist in 1987. Since then, she has worn multiple hats: deputy director of DECA, deputy clinical director, and chief of the NEI Clinical Trials Branch. From 2002 to 2017, Chew served as the director of NEI's medical retina fellowship program. She has mentored 70-plus clinical trainees and has coauthored more than 400 peer-reviewed journal articles and dozens of editorials and book chapters.