José Cunha-Vaz, M.D., Ph.D. is Emeritus Professor of Ophthalmology of the University of Coimbra, Portugal, and President of the Association for Innovation and Biomedical Research on Light and Image (AIBILI), a not-for-profit Clinical Research Organization. He is Chief Editor of Ophthalmologica, Coordinator of the Diabetic Retinopathy and Retinal Vascular Diseases Section of the European Vision Institute Clinical Research Network (EVICR.net) and Secretary-General of the European Academy of Ophthalmology.
Dr. Cunha-Vaz moved in 1979 to the United States to become a full-time Professor of Ophthalmology and Director of the Retina Service at the University of Illinois at Chicago until his final return in 1986 to Portugal. He was for many years Professor of Ophthalmology and Head of Department of Ophthalmology of the University of Coimbra (1972-2008) and President of Institute of Biomedical Research on Light and Image (IBILI) (1994-2007).
Dr. Cunha-Vaz’s work has included laboratory and clinical research in retina and intraocular fluids with special emphasis on blood-retinal barriers and diabetic retinopathy. He is also dedicated in characterization of different phenotypes and biomarkers of diabetic retinopathy. He was the first to describe the Blood-Retinal Barrier and initiated clinical vitreous fluorometry and multimodal macular mapping. He was PI for research grants funded by NIH (USA), FCT (Portugal), European Union Research Programmes and others. He participated as PI in a large number of studies, especially involving therapies for retinal diseases (ETDRS, RESOLVE, EOP1013, etc).
Dr. Cunha-Vaz has authored and co-authored over 500 peer-reviewed papers and books. He was elected member of Academia Ophthalmologica Internationalis in 1994. He is a founding member and General Secretary of the European Academy of Ophthalmology. He has received many awards such as the Helmholtz Gold Medal, the Gian Battista Bietti Gold Medal, and the Paul Henkind, the Alcon Research Institute, the Eva Kohner, the 2012 BIAL Award for Clinical Medicine and the 2014 Weisenfeld Awards, the Prémio Nacional de Saúde, (Portugal 2014), the Albert C. Muse Prize in Ophthalmology (2014). Prize Pfizer / Sociedade de Ciências Médicas de Lisboa (2015) EURETINA Award Lecture (2016). He has been elected an honorary member of Portuguese Society of Ophthalmology, Spanish Society of Ophthalmology and International Retina Society - Club Jules Gonin. Dr. Cunha-Vaz has received the Orders of Merit and Henry the Navigator from Portugal.