Missouri Medical Review Fall 2009 : Page 35

orbIt oF UnDerstanDInG alumnus is leader in Graves’ eye disease research Translational researcher Terry Smith, MD ’75, learned about the “rush and excitement of discovery” in laboratories at the University of Mis- souri School of Medicine. More than 30 years later, the renowned endocri- nologist is credited with significantly advancing understanding of Graves’ eye disease. In 2009, Smith became the first Frederick G.L. Huetwell Professor in Ophthalmology and Visual Sci- ences at the University of Michigan Kellogg Eye Center and Depart- ment of Internal Medicine. He and his colleagues are developing new therapies that could disrupt the im- mune system’s assault on orbital tissue during manifestations of Graves’ eye disease, also called thyroid-associated ophthalmopathy. Patients with the condition can experience severe swelling and bulging eyes, which may lead to vision loss in advanced cases. “There are far more questions about this disease and its pathogen- esis than we can answer,” Smith said. “The opportunity to solve some of these mysteries and develop thera- pies for this condition continues to motivate me.” Smith joined the University of Michigan this year after serving at the David Geffen School of Medi- cine at the University of California in Los Angeles, where he was a professor of endocrinology and chief of the Division of Molecular Medicine at the Harbor- UCLA Medical Center. Smith’s laboratory was the first to describe the molecular attributes of tissue surrounding the eye that make it suscep- tible to the inflammation in Graves’ disease. From those findings, he went on to identify a receptor that binds to antibodies and sets off a series of events resulting in inflammation and fibrosis—excessive scar-like tissue that pushes the eye outward and disrupts its function. Building on these discoveries, Smith and colleagues at the Kel- logg Eye Center will investigate novel diagnostic methods and unique therapies to assess and disrupt the disease process, with the expectation of launching trials with patients in the near future. “I continue to see patients and teach in addition to my research,” Smith said. “It provides an amalga- mation of different kinds of disci- plines that ultimately intersect at the bedside.” Smith’s interest in the thyroid- related eye disease was cultivated by his lifelong mentor and former MU radiology professor Edward Siegel, PhD. Smith maintains weekly phone conversations with the now 90-year- old Siegel. After graduating from the MU Terry Smith, MD ’75, is the Frederick G.L. Huetwell Professor in Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at the University of Michigan Kellogg Eye Center. School of Medicine, Smith complet- ed an internship at the University of Illinois Abraham Lincoln School of Medicine in Chicago and a residency at Sinai Hospital in Baltimore. He went on to complete fellowships in biophysics at the University of California School of Medicine in San Francisco, and in clinical endocri- nology at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. Smith has received funding from the National Institutes of Health and Department of Veterans Affairs since 1983. He is the author of more than 150 peer-reviewed book chapters and articles and has been awarded five patents for his discoveries. He also has been elected to the Orbit Society and is chief scientific officer for the National Graves’ Foundation. —Laura Gerding 35

Orbit Of Understanding

Alumnus is leader in Graves’ eye disease research<br /> <br /> Translational researcher Terry Smith, MD ’75, learned about the “rush and excitement of discovery” in laboratories at the University of Missouri School of Medicine. More than 30 years later, the renowned endocrinologist is credited with significantly advancing understanding of Graves’ eye disease.<br /> <br /> In 2009, Smith became the first Frederick G.L. Huetwell Professor in Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at the University of Michigan Kellogg Eye Center and Department of Internal Medicine. He and his colleagues are developing new therapies that could disrupt the immune system’s assault on orbital tissue during manifestations of Graves’ eye disease, also called thyroid-associated ophthalmopathy. Patients with the condition can experience severe swelling and bulging eyes, which may lead to vision loss in advanced cases.<br /> <br /> “There are far more questions about this disease and its pathogenesis than we can answer,” Smith said.<br /> <br /> “The opportunity to solve some of these mysteries and develop therapies for this condition continues to motivate me.” Smith joined the University of Michigan this year after serving at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California in Los Angeles, where he was a professor of endocrinology and chief of the Division of Molecular Medicine at the Harbor- UCLA Medical Center.<br /> <br /> Smith’s laboratory was the first to describe the molecular attributes of tissue surrounding the eye that make it susceptible to the inflammation in Graves’ disease. From those findings, he went on to identify a receptor that binds to antibodies and sets off a series of events resulting in inflammation and fibrosis—excessive scar-like tissue that pushes the eye outward and disrupts its function.<br /> <br /> Building on these discoveries, Smith and colleagues at the Kellogg Eye Center will investigate novel diagnostic methods and unique therapies to assess and disrupt the disease process, with the expectation of launching trials with patients in the near future.<br /> <br /> “I continue to see patients and teach in addition to my research,” Smith said. “It provides an amalgamation of different kinds of disciplines that ultimately intersect at the bedside.” Smith’s interest in the thyroidrelated eye disease was cultivated by his lifelong mentor and former MU radiology professor Edward Siegel, PhD. Smith maintains weekly phone conversations with the now 90-yearold Siegel.<br /> <br /> After graduating from the MU School of Medicine, Smith completed an internship at the University of Illinois Abraham Lincoln School of Medicine in Chicago and a residency at Sinai Hospital in Baltimore. He went on to complete fellowships in biophysics at the University of California School of Medicine in San Francisco, and in clinical endocrinology at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine.<br /> <br /> Smith has received funding from the National Institutes of Health and Department of Veterans Affairs since<br /> <br /> 1983. He is the author of more than 150 peer-reviewed book chapters and articles and has been awarded five patents for his discoveries. He also has been elected to the Orbit Society and is chief scientific officer for the National Graves’ Foundation.<br /> <br /> —Laura Gerding

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