Honorary QEI Senior Scientist
University of California at Davis, Sacramento Medical Center
Professor Schwab is from the University of California, Davis Medical Centre (UDMC) in Sacramento where he is a Professor of Ophthalmology. He spent 12 months on sabbatical at the Queensland Eye Institute in 2005 and is still collaborating with Professor Lawrie Hirst on a research project to treat patients who have damage to the front of their eyes. Professor Schwab has been on the faculty of the UCDMC since 1989. Before that he was on the faculty of West Virginia University School of Medicine for 1982 – 1989. At both universities he had an active clinical practice treating patients with corneal and external disease as well as those with uveitis.
His surgical practice focused on corneal transplants, anterior segment reconstruction and cataracts. His clinical practice also included his translational research interest, ocular surface disease. Professor Schwab is also interested in comparative ophthalmology, and currently has a monthly essay series on that topic as the cover editor of the British Journal of Ophthalmology. At UCDMC, he is the medical director of the eye bank, director of the corneal service, a member of the American Board of Ophthalmology and serves on editorial boards for various ophthalmology journals. He has been active in the American Academy of Ophthalmology, chairing committees on education and alternative medications. Among other books he has written, he has recently co-authored a book on diseases of the eye and skin. Professor Schwab’s primary interest is ocular surface disease. This disease affects patients unable to repair the superficial layers of their eyes. These patients may have inherited problems, medication toxicity, immunological problems, or injuries that have kept the front of their eyes from repairing themselves properly.
Professor Schwab was one of the first to prepare bioengineered tissue for the ocular surface in the laboratory and use that tissue to repair damaged eyes. He came to Brisbane in 2005 to work with the other researchers at the Queensland Eye Institute to improve these techniques by using a new tissue adhesive made from the patient’s own blood. If successful, this technique will improve the methods of repair for otherwise hopelessly blind patients. This research may also lead to mechanisms for repair of other mucous membranes, or wet tissue, such as the linings of sinus or bladder.