David Calkins, Ph.D., is the Vice-Chairman and Director for Research for the Vanderbilt Eye Institute and the Denis M. O’Day Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences for the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, where he has been faculty since 2004. He also is Director of the Vanderbilt Vision Research Center, home to over 50 vision scientists. As a neuroscientist, he is also Professor of Psychology in the Vanderbilt University College of Arts and Sciences and faculty in the Vanderbilt Brain Institute. Dr. Calkins is a leading authority on the neurobiological basis of vision loss in blinding eye disease, neuroprotection and regenerative medicine for conditions that affect the retina and early visual pathways. He is also a recognized authority in the synaptic organization of the retina and early visual pathways as it relates to structure-function relationships and visual perception. His work has been widely acclaimed for its quantitative approach, rigor and pre-clinical implications, not only for optic neuropathies, but for age-related neurodegenerative diseases more generally. His key publications in Nature, Neuron, and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Journal of Neuroscience, and Progress in Retinal and Eye Research have been lauded not only for their thoroughness and scope, but also for their clarity and incisive theoretical underpinnings. Dr. Calkins’ research has enjoyed continuous NIH funding since his first academic appointment in 1998 with numerous foundation and industry grants to support his program. Dr. Calkins was a founding member of the Glaucoma Research Foundation’s Catalyst for a Cure research consortium to understand neurodegeneration in glaucoma and find new therapeutic interventions. Dr. Calkins’ work has been recognized with awards from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Glaucoma Research Foundation, and the American Health Assistance Foundation. In 2010, he was named an ARVO Silver Fellow for his contributions to the vision community.
In 2011, he was awarded the Lewis Rudin Glaucoma Prize of The New York Academy of Medicine. Most recently he won a 2013 Senior Scientific Investigator Award from Research to Prevent Blindness.