USF clinician earns international award for cornea research

USF’s Edgar Espana, MD, was one of five physician researchers chosen internationally to receive the 2012 ARVO/Alcon Early Career Clinician Scientist Research Award.

Photo of Dr. Edgar Espana

Dr. Edgar Espana

The award, which is from the ARVO Foundation for Eye Research, supports researchers who are committed to careers as clinician-scientists. Up to five awards are granted each year, each consisting of a plaque, an unrestricted grant of $2,000, plus $1,000 to cover travel and registration expenses to the annual meeting, at which they are recognized and presented with the award.

Dr. Espana, who is assistant professor in the USF Department of Ophthalmology and cornea and cataract surgeon at the USF Eye Institute, recently joined USF to provide cornea, cataract, and refractive eye care.

Dr. Espana credits his receiving the award to his research mentor, David Birk, PhD, professor in the Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology and world renowned cornea researcher. That work involved cornea research and his current research is in the role of Collagen XII and Collagen XIV in the corneal endothelium.

Dr. Espana received his medical school training from the Pontificia Javeriana University (founded in 1623) in Bogota, Colombia.  He completed an ophthalmology residency at the Colombian National University in 2001 as Chief Resident.  He moved to the United States where he conducted research fellowships in cornea and glaucoma at the Ocular Surface Center in Miami and the University of Miami Bascom Palmer Eye Institute.  Dr. Espana then completed a glaucoma clinical fellowship at the prestigious New York Eye and Ear Infirmary in 2006 followed by a second ophthalmology residency at the University of Mississippi Medical Center as Chief Resident.  He then completed a second surgical fellowship in Cornea, External Disease and Refractive Surgery at the Cleveland Clinic, Ohio. 

Dr. Espana, who sees patients at the USF Eye Institute and at Tampa General Hospital’s Healthpark, performs surgery at the Morsani Ambulatory Surgery Center and at Tampa General Hospital.  His main interests are corneal immunological diseases, dry eye, corneal transplantation, stem cell research, and LASIK.  He has published more than 60 peer review articles and book chapters.