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Tuesday / June 18.
HomeminewsH Barry Collin Medal for Prof Suzanne M.J. Fleiszig

H Barry Collin Medal for Prof Suzanne M.J. Fleiszig

Professor Suzanne M.J. Fleiszig has become the 17th recipient of the prestigious H Barry Collin Research Medal for her outstanding scientific contributions to the field of cornea and contact lens research.

Born in Melbourne, Australia, Prof Fleiszig obtained her optometry degree and PhD in Microbiology at the University of Melbourne. She completed her postdoctoral training in Infectious Disease at Harvard Medical School.

She is one of five female recipients in the medal’s 44-year history, sharing the honour with Prof Fiona Stapleton, Prof Erica Fletcher, Prof Joanne Wood and Prof Tailoi Chan-Ling

In 1994, Prof Fleiszig was recruited to UC Berkeley’s School of Optometry, where she spent her first two years receiving additional training in cell biology at UC San Francisco. She is currently a Distinguished Professor of Optometry and Vision Science, with additional appointments in Microbiology, Infectious Diseases and Immunity, and Health and Medical Science graduate programs, and is also an adjunct faculty member of the USCF Proctor Foundation.

Her work on the pathogenesis of contact lens-related Pseudomonas aeruginosa keratitis has been described as ground-breaking. She was the first to demonstrate that isolates of Pseudomonas aeruginosa causing infections in contact lens wearers differed from those causing non-contact lens related corneal infections and different from those causing infections in other human sites. She went on to identify virulence characteristics in these organisms and to understand how they interacted with the host and specifically host defence mechanisms. This has been key to better understanding both the pathogenesis of the disease and importantly intervention and prevention.

She is an accomplished clinician scientist who has demonstrated remarkable research through numerous publications in highly respected journals, high citation rate and continuous government funding for her work. Prof Fleiszig has been honoured with several awards for her research and impact in optometry, including the Ruben medal from the International Society for Contact Lens Research (ISCLR) in 2013, Beatrice Borish Award in 1997 from the American Academy of Optometry, Glenn A. Fry award in 2005 and Max Shapero in 2017 for her contributions to cornea and contact lens research.

Prof Fleiszig has always been passionate about promoting optometry and nurturing connections between the fields of eye/vision research and microbiology/infectious disease research. Her commitment has led her to hold multiple leadership roles in this field. She has been described as an outstanding mentor to postgraduate students, postdoctoral fellows and both junior and senior faculty, and someone who freely gives her time to develop others and inspire enormous loyalty in those who work with her. She is one of five female recipients in the medal’s 44-year history, sharing the honour with Prof Fiona Stapleton, Prof Erica Fletcher, Prof Joanne Wood and Prof Tailoi Chan-Ling.

About the Medal

The award is named after Professor H Barry Collin, long-serving former Editor-in-Chief of Optometry Australia’s journal, Clinical and Experimental Optometry and includes a $5,000 prize and the recipient submitting a paper for publication in CXO.

It recognises outstanding contributions to the advancement of knowledge in optics, vision science or clinical optometry by a person who is an Australian citizen or a graduate of an Australian optometry school, or who has done a significant part of his or her research in an Australian institution.

This article was supplied and is published with permission of Optometry Australia.