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Matthew Urban Pursues Ophthalmology Research with Passion and Precision

His Research Focus Has Led to Multiple Presentations at National Conferences and in Scholarly Publications, Including JAMA

May 29, 2024
Matthew Urban
Matthew Urban, SOM Class of 2026

“My grandfather – who received an emergency cornea transplant in 2014 – was my inspiration to pursue ophthalmology and improve visual acuity in patients suffering from similar conditions,” says Urban. “This latest JAMA publication has been a significant validation of all the hard work I have dedicated to research in the field of ophthalmology, and it only motivates me more.”

Urban began performing research on stem cells in the eye with Victor L. Perez, M.D., at the University of Miami Bascom Palmer Eye Institute in 2015, while still a high school student. Since he began at NYMC, he has continued research with Dr. Perez at Bascom Palmer and at the Duke Eye Center in Durham, North Carolina. He currently works as a research fellow at Bascom Palmer with Dr. Perez and at Westchester Medical Center (WMC) with Abha Amin, M.D., associate professor of ophthalmology at NYMC and chief of complex anterior segment surgery at WMC. 

“From the outset of my research journey, I've been drawn to the profound synergy between basic scientific inquiry and its practical applications,” says Urban. “Witnessing the transition from theoretical concepts to tangible advancements in clinical practice has been a driving force behind my passion for research.”

Projects to date have included research focused on graft-versus-host disease, allergic eye disease, limbal stem cells in vitro and in vivo, and a clinical study on tubulointerstitial nephritis and uveitis. In April, he presented at the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery annual meeting in Boston on studies he conducted with Dr. Amin on ergonomics education of ophthalmology residents and on using digital motion technology to investigate ergonomics/posture in the clinic. The next step for Urban include drafting the manuscripts for those studies for publication submission.

“One of the most compelling aspects of research for me lies in the journey itself. From the initial spark of an idea to the meticulous process of data collection, analysis, and dissemination, each stage offers its own set of challenges and rewards, contributing to the collective body of knowledge,” says Urban. “I also deeply value the collaborative nature of research. Working alongside colleagues, each bringing their unique expertise to the table, fosters an environment of innovation and shared progress. The collective effort of a team amplifies the impact of our work, propelling us towards new discoveries and breakthroughs.”