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National Eye Institute selects Dr. Richard Lee as clinical director

December 4, 2023

The National Eye Institute (NEI) has chosen Richard Lee, M.D., Ph.D., as the institute’s clinical director, overseeing clinical research and serving as clinical policy advisor for NEI.

Richard Lee, NEI's Clinical Director, 2023

Richard Lee, M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Lee comes to NEI from Moorfields Eye Hospital, where he’s had several roles since 2011, the most recent as the hospital’s Clinical Director of Research & Development. Moorfields is the leading provider of eye health services in the UK, and a world-class center of excellence for ophthalmic research and education. Founded in 1804, it was the first hospital in the world devoted to the treatment of eye disease. Through its partnership with the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology, Moorfields serves as a national and international center for research into eye conditions and treatments.

“Richard’s multifaceted expertise in clinical care, research, international collaborations, and advocacy, along with his proven leadership in various roles, equips him to play a pivotal role in NEI's leadership,” said Michael F. Chiang, NEI’s director. “His contributions will significantly advance NEI’s mission, and I look forward to working with him.” 

Dr. Lee received a Ph.D. in Immunology from the University of Bristol, UK, an MRCS in Surgery from the Royal College of Surgeons of England, UK, and an MRCOphth in Ophthalmology from the Royal College of Ophthalmologists. He began his research program at the University of Bristol in 2006 and led a Bristol University-based laboratory employing scientists and training students to explore how the immune system responds to and influences various eye conditions, such as uveitis, scleritis, and other inflammatory eye diseases. From 2012 to 2018, the lab formally partnered with NEI’s intramural Laboratory of Immunology to create a joint UK-US Consortium for Human Ocular Immunology.

“As a clinician-scientist with a deep interest in translational research, I think NEI offers the ideal environment for innovation and improvement of patient outcomes,” said Dr. Lee. “We now know that the immune system plays a bigger role in eye diseases than we previously thought, so having the opportunity to explore that and ultimately bring new therapies to patients is very attractive to me. I’m very excited to do that at NEI.”  

Dr. Lee is a member of the Federation of Clinical Immunology Societies, International Ocular Inflammation Society, British Society for Immunology, and the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO). 

About the National Eye Institute (NEI)

NEI leads the federal government’s research on the visual system and eye diseases. NEI supports basic and clinical science programs to develop sight-saving treatments and address special needs of people with vision loss. For more information, visit  

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH)

NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit


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