Nick Mamalis, MD, Receives University of Utah School of Medicine Alumni Association Distinguished Alumni Award

Apr 28, 2020 11:45 AM


Moran Eye Center physician-scientist Nick Mamalis, MD
Moran Eye Center physician-scientist Nick Mamalis, MD

The University of Utah School of Medicine Alumni Association has chosen John A. Moran Eye Center physician-scientist Nick Mamalis, MD, to receive its 2020 Distinguished Alumni Award.

Presented annually to a School of Medicine graduate who has excelled in the field, the award recognizes excellence in clinical practice, academic activities, and research accomplishments.

“I am very honored, yet humbled to receive this award,” said Mamalis. “This is especially gratifying as it comes from my peers, the alumni of the University of Utah School of Medicine. My medical school training laid the foundation for my entire career. I had the privilege of working with my mentors, David Apple, MD, and Randall J Olson, MD, in medical school, and they gave me the opportunity to start my lifelong vocation in ophthalmology and research.”

Mamalis is acknowledged as one of the world’s leading authorities on intraocular lenses (IOL), synthetic lenses used to replace the eye’s natural lens during cataract and other surgeries. As co-director of the Intermountain Ocular Research Center based at Moran, he has vetted virtually every IOL on the market today as companies seek his input on IOL design, efficacy, and safety.

Directing Moran’s Ophthalmic Pathology Laboratory, Mamalis mentors and trains two pathology fellows each year. He has spent more than a decade helping hospitals around the country protect eye surgery patients from a rare but potentially sight-threatening inflammatory syndrome known as Toxic Anterior Syndrome (TASS). The first to identify the source of a widespread TASS outbreak, he conducted research that led to new, evidence-based guidelines for cleaning and sterilizing intraocular surgical instruments.

Mamalis has received several of the highest honors in ophthalmology, including the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery (ASCRS) Binkhorst Lecture and Medal and the International Intraocular Implant Club Jan Worst Lecture and Medal. In 2015, the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) gave him its Life Achievement Honor Award. Mamalis is regularly cited on the list of the Best Doctors in America, and Cataract & Refractive Surgery Today magazine selected Mamalis as one of its top 50 international opinion leaders. In 2020, The Ophthalmologist magazine named him among the most influential people in the field on its annual Power List.

Mamalis is the president of ASCRS, the largest and most reputable organization for cataract surgeons in the country, and for the past 12 years, he has served as editor of the Journal of Cataract and Refractive Surgery

“Nick has been integral to the success of Moran and a major influence in the world of vision science,” said Moran Eye Center CEO and Department of Ophthalmology Chair Randall J Olson, MD. “He is also an excellent teacher, presiding over the training of many successful cataract surgeons for decades. We are all incredibly proud to see him enter the ranks of Distinguished Alumni.”

In addition to his work at Moran, Mamalis has volunteered his time for decades as an ophthalmological associate for Research to Prevent Blindness Inc. and the AAO’s National Eye Care Project. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Utah affiliate of the National Society to Prevent Blindness, serving a resource for these charities in their mission to promote the treatment of eye diseases.

A Rock Springs Wyoming native, Mamalis received his A.B. degree from Harvard University in 1978 and his M.D. from the University of Utah School of Medicine in 1982. He completed an internship at Loyola University and a fellowship in ophthalmic pathology at the University of Utah School of Medicine. In 1987 he completed his ophthalmology residency at Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine.

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