BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Steven J. Fliesler, PhD, Meyer H. Riwchun
Endowed Chair Professor of Ophthalmology in the University at
Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, has been
elected to the board of trustees of the world’s largest eye
research society, the Association for Research in Vision and
It is his second major honor from ARVO this year. Last month,
Fliesler, who also is a research health scientist at the Veterans
Affairs Western New York Healthcare System, was formally inducted
into ARVO as a Gold Fellow, placing him in an elite group of
international vision researchers.
Fliesler will serve a five-year term on the board, which sets
ARVO’s strategic direction and conducts the group’s
operations and policymaking activities. He also chairs the ARVO
Publications Committee, and completed a three-year term (the past
year as chair) on the Retinal Cell Biology section of the ARVO
Annual Meeting Program Committee, a position he has held twice.
A UB faculty member since 2008, Fliesler is an internationally
recognized scientist and president of the International Society for
Eye Research. He is vice chair and director of research for
UB’s Department of Ophthalmology. He also directs research
for UB’s Ira G. Ross Eye Institute Vision Research Center,
housed in the Buffalo VA, where he also serves as acting associate
chief of staff for research and development.
A prolific researcher, Fliesler has been studying cholesterol
metabolism in the retina for more than 30 years. For the past two
decades, the National Institutes of Health has funded his
pioneering studies into retinal dysfunction and degeneration
associated with Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome, a rare, sometimes
deadly, birth defect. Fliesler also collaborates with colleagues at
other institutions on the development of novel gene therapy
applications to treat retinitis pigmentosa and other genetic eye
conditions that can lead to incurable blindness.
Fliesler is widely considered an expert in lipid (particularly
cholesterol) metabolism in the retina, with more than 100
peer-reviewed publications, plus numerous book chapters, reviews,
editorials and abstracts.
He obtained his PhD in biochemistry from Rice University, then
did postdoctoral research and was a research assistant professor at
the Cullen Eye Institute/Baylor College of Medicine. He held
faculty positions at the University of Miami School of Medicine and
Saint Louis University School of Medicine, where he worked for 20
years before moving to Buffalo.
Fliesler concurrently serves on the editorial boards of six
journals; notably, he is the Retina & Choroid Section
co-editor, was the inaugural Focus on Molecules feature editor, and
the current Special Issues and Reviews editor for Experimental
He is the recipient of a James S. Adams Award and a Senior
Scientific Investigator award from Research to Prevent Blindness.
He received a Chancellor’s Award in Neuroscience from the LSU
School of Medicine and was a finalist twice for an Alcon Research
Institute Award. His research has been continuously funded by
NIH/National Eye Institute since 1983, as well as by the Foundation
Fighting Blindness and the March of Dimes.
Fliesler lives in the Elmwood Village in Buffalo.