UAB names Kelly K. Nichols as School of Optometry dean


Kelly K. Nichols, OD, MPH, PhD, FAAO, has been named dean of the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry.

Birmingham, AL-Kelly K. Nichols, OD, MPH, PhD, FAAO, has been named dean of the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry. Dr. Nichols will assume her new role June 25.

“It is an honor and a privilege to be selected as dean of the UAB School of Optometry,” Dr. Nichols said. “I look forward to working together with Provost Lucas and the talented and dedicated faculty to continue the tradition of clinical and research excellence.”

Dr. Nichols comes to UAB from the University of Houston (UH), where she served as a professor since 2011. While at UH, Dr. Nichols co-founded and served as the executive director for The Ocular Surface Institute, a translational research institute focused on bench-to-bedside research on ocular surface conditions. Prior to joining the faculty at UH, Nichols was a faculty member at The Ohio State University College of Optometry from 2000-2011.

Dr. Nichols received her Doctor of Optometry degree from the University of California at Berkeley, completed a residency in ocular disease at a tertiary referral medical center in Colorado, and earned her MPH in biostatistics and PhD in vision science at The Ohio State University.

Dr. Nichols has been involved in professional organizations including the American Optometric Association and the American Academy of Optometry. She serves as a medical adviser to the Sjögren’s Syndrome Foundation and is an executive board member for the Tear Film and Ocular Surface Society and a founding member of Ocular Surface Society of Optometry. She has served as grant reviewer for the National Institutes of Health and the Veterans Association, and is on the editorial boards of the journals Optometry and Vision Science and The Ocular Surface.

Dr. Nichols’s research interests include dry eye, meibomian gland dysfunction, blepharitis, inflammation, impact of menopause on dry eye, dry eye diagnostics and therapeutics, tear proteomics and lipidomics, and quality of life. Her research funding has been primarily through the National Eye Institute of the NIH, in addition to a variety of industry partners.

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