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Wilson Named Chair of the Department of Ophthalmology, Director of Hamilton Eye Institute at UTHSC


Matthew W. Wilson, MD, FACS, has been named the Barrett G. Haik Endowed Chair for the Department of Ophthalmology in the College of Medicine at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center and director of the Hamilton Eye Institute. He began his new roles this month.

Dr. Matthew Wilson
Dr. Matthew Wilson

Dr. Wilson has served as the acting chair of the UTHSC Department of Ophthalmology since April 2021, and was the vice-chair of Academic Affairs for the department since 2013. 

As chair, Dr. Wilson will oversee all activity to ensure the department’s goals and objectives are met. This includes developing the vision for growth of the department’s clinical and academic aspects.

“We are absolutely delighted that Dr. Wilson will become the chair of ophthalmology in the UTHSC College of Medicine,” said Scott Strome, MD, executive dean of the college, in making the appointment. “Dr. Wilson is an outstanding clinician and a luminary in the field of ocular melanoma. He is also a distinguished researcher, educator, and mentor. The department has an incredibly bright future with Dr. Wilson at the helm.”

Dr. Wilson has been a professor in the Department of Ophthalmology at UTHSC for 23 years. Recruited in 1999 by his mentor Barrett G Haik, MD, FACS, Dr. Wilson has developed an internationally recognized ocular oncology program at HEI and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. He has developed active translational research programs that improve his patients’ clinical care. He also serves as director of the St. Jude Global Retinoblastoma Program, and since 2002 has helped create retinoblastoma centers of excellence in Central America, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia.

“It is a great honor to be chosen to lead the Department of Ophthalmology at UTHSC,” Dr. Wilson said. “I am excited to work closely with Dean Strome, senior leadership, and our faculty to continue to grow the Hamilton Eye Institute – a remarkable asset made possible by the vision and generosity of Dr. Barrett G. Haik and Dr. Ralph Hamilton. The Hamilton Eye Institute houses the teaching, clinical, and research missions of ophthalmology under one roof. We have a strong tradition of excellence that we embrace and will continue to strive for. I have no doubt that we will provide outstanding faculty, residents, and fellows.”

Dr. Wilson obtained his undergraduate degree in biology from Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina. He earned his medical degree from Emory University in Atlanta in 1990 and completed his internal medicine internship, ophthalmology residency, and a fellowship in ophthalmic pathology at Emory University. He also completed fellowships in ocular oncology at Saint Bartholomew’s and Moorefield’s Eye Hospital in London, England, and ophthalmic plastic and reconstructive surgery from Casey Eye Institute in Portland, Oregon.

He has authored over 160 peer-reviewed publications and 20 book chapters. His service to the ophthalmic community earned him the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Academy of Ophthalmology in 2018. He was awarded the St. Jude Chair in Pediatric Ophthalmology in 2010 and named chief of Ophthalmology at St. Jude in 2013. Dr. Wilson currently serves on the Board of Trustees for Furman University.