Home > Dr. Hejtmancik and Prof. Kumaramanickavel will speak on Genetic-Epidemiology: A Developing Country Experience, May 16, 2013

Dr. Hejtmancik and Prof. Kumaramanickavel will speak on Genetic-Epidemiology: A Developing Country Experience, May 16, 2013

On Thursday, May 16, the Global Health Vision Lecture Series will feature Dr. J. Fielding Hejtmancik, NEI and Prof. Govindasamy Kumaramanickavel, India. The title of their presentation will be “Genetic-Epidemiology: A Developing Country Experience with the Focus of Ophthalmologists in the U.S. and India.” The lecture will be held at 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m. on the NIH Campus, Building 16, Lawton Chiles International House.

In their presentations, Dr. Hejtmancik and Prof. Kumaramanickavel will discuss how developing countries present unique advantages for carrying out genetic and genetic-epidemiological studies. These studies can increase our knowledge of the genetic epidemiology of specific diseases in the populations being studied as well as of the diseases and genes themselves. In addition, they provide an excellent mechanism for training medical scientists in collaborating countries as well as for improving capabilities in the developing partner. Examples will be given from both Mendelian and complex ophthalmic genetic diseases in India, including congenital and age-related cataracts, primary open angle glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy.

Dr. Hejtmancik received his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from Baylor College of Medicine in 1978 and 1976 respectively. He was an intern and resident in internal medicine at Duke University Medical Center until 1981. He then became a medical research associate in the Laboratory of Molecular and Developmental Biology in the NICHD and then the NEI under the mentorship of Dr. Joram Piatigorsky. In 1984 he returned to Baylor College of Medicine, initially as a genetics fellow in the Department of Internal Medicine and the Institute for Molecular Genetics, becoming an assistant professor in 1985 and serving as the founding laboratory director of the Kleberg DNA Diagnostic Laboratory. He moved to the NEI in 1990 where he is chief of the Ophthalmic Molecular Genetics Section, Ophthalmic Genetics and Visual Function Branch. He is a fellow of the American Board of Internal Medicine and the American Board of Medical Genetics. He is an editorial board member of Molecular Vision. He has authored more than 200 publications in peer-reviewed journals as well as numerous chapters, reviews, editorials, and symposia.

For the last two decades, Prof. Kumaramanickavel (Kumar) has worked on ocular genomics, primarily in the areas of gene mapping, mutational screening, and association studies in complex and Mendelian ophthalmic diseases. He carried out two major epidemiological and genetic projects in glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy comprising 20,000 subjects. He has extensively facilitated cross-faculty integration of clinicians, epidemiologists, sociologists, and vision scientists. Kumar was a key member of a successful ocular gene mapping team at the University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand. From 1996-2009, he was in the Department of Genetics at Sankara Nethralaya, Chennai, India, including serving as department head. Kumar has conducted genetic counseling for nearly 9000 new patients with ocular genetic diseases. He received a degree in medicine from the University of Madras, Madras Medical College, Chennai, India, and subsequently graduated in the same college with an M.D. (Physiology). While he was a Fogarty visiting associate in 1997-98, he was trained by Dr. J. Fielding Hejtmancik in the NEI Ophthalmic Genetics & Clinical Services Branch. Currently he is the research director at two premier ophthalmic institutions of India: Narayana Nethralaya, Bangalore, and Aditya Jyot Eye Hospital, Mumbai. He has received funding for research projects from the government of India, NIH, and INSERM, France. He has 89 peer-reviewed publications including articles in Nature Genetics.

Individuals with disabilities who need sign language interpreters and/or reasonable accommodation to participate in this event should contact Linda Huss at lmh@nei.nih.gov or Sandra Jones at 301-496-2234.


The Global Health Vision Lecture Series is sponsored by the National Eye Institute (NEI) and the NIH Global Health Interest Group. The Fogarty International Center is also a sponsor of this and other previous and planned lectures. The series was created by the NEI Office of International Programs in 2012 to foster the global collaboration and exchange of information among international vision researchers and eye health clinical scientists. Lessons learned from global health programs around the world and their applications to healthcare research in the United States are a focus of discussion in these lectures.

For information contact Linda Huss at lmh@nei.nih.gov or 301-496-5248.

Last Reviewed: 
April 2013