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Machelle T. Pardue to lead Emory Eye Center’s research division
Machelle Pardue in lab

Machelle T. Pardue, PhD, has been named the vice chair and director for research in the Department of Ophthalmology at Emory University School of Medicine. Pardue will lead a new strategic research vision for translational and clinical research for the department, which is associated with the Emory Eye Center.

Pardue’s appointment formally commenced Jan. 1.

Pardue comes to this new role from the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering, a joint program of Emory and the Georgia Institute of Technology, where she conducted research, taught and served as the associate chair of faculty development (2020-22) and as the interim chair (2021-22). At Emory, she will now join the faculty as an associate professor of ophthalmology.

Her research focuses on developing clinically relevant treatments for retinal disease that can make a difference in the quality of life of patients. Her specific interests are in developing novel screening and treatment strategies for early-stage diabetic retinopathy, elucidating mechanisms of myopia, and developing neuroprotective strategies for retinal degenerations.

“We are very fortunate to have been able to recruit a scientist of her caliber to lead our research forward,” ssys Allen D. Beck, MD, the F. Phinizy Calhoun Sr. Department Chair, who oversaw the national search. “In Dr. Pardue, we have a colleague whose abiding commitment to collaboration and translational medical research are perfectly aligned with our mission.”

In her new role as vice chair and director for research, Pardue will oversee the strategic research vision for the department and the recruitment of new research faculty for its research mission. She has extensive experience mentoring students, junior faculty, research fellows and laboratory personnel.

Pardue’s hire supports the department’s commitment to vision research at Emory and in the larger Atlanta Vision Research Community (AVRC), an alliance of faculty and researchers from Georgia Tech, Georgia State University, Morehouse School of Medicine and the Atlanta VA Healthcare system. The AVRC jointly sponsors clinical research seminars throughout the year and actively supports collaborative interactions between AVRC institutions.

Pardue is a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering and Fellow of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology. She has been awarded more than $18 million in direct research funding to support her research efforts.

She is a firm believer that collaborative research is essential to translate results from bench to bedside. This is reflected in the fact that more than 78% of her 132 publications are derived from collaborations with more than 80 different investigators. Her findings have formed the basis for translational studies to human patients in three critical areas: retinal prosthetics; diabetic retinopathy; and neuroprotection using TUDCA, L-DOPA or exercise.

Pardue received her bachelor of science in zoology from the University of Wyoming and her doctorate in vision science and biology from the University of Waterloo. Pardue also has a joint appointment as senior research career scientist at the Atlanta VA Healthcare System and will maintain an adjunct position in biomedical engineering.

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