Dr. Joyce Tombran-Tink is a Professor in the Department of Neural and Behavioral Sciences and Ophthalmology at the Penn State College of Medicine since 2007. She received her PhD in cell and molecular biology at the University of Southern California where she discovered Pigment Epithelial Derived factor (PEDF), a neurotrophic serpin in the eye. She was subsequently awarded a National Research Council Fellowship by the National Academy of Sciences followed by a Staff Fellowship at the National Institutes of Health where she served for 7 years. She also served as graduate Lecturer in Cancer Biotechnology at Johns Hopkins University and on the faculty of the Children’s National Medical Center, the George Washington University, the University of Missouri, and Yale University in Ophthalmology and Neuroscience Research programs.
She is a Gold Fellow and member of the Dowling Society of the Association for Vision and Research in Ophthalmology (ARVO) and has served as a member of the Board of Governors for the ARVO Foundation (AFER). At ARVO she also served on the Women in Vision and Eye Research Leadership (WEAVR) and Auction Committees, the International Members Committee, and the Advocacy committee. She has received many national and international awards for her service and scientific contributions including the Sam and Dora Cohen Memorial Lecture and Award, the Melvin Jones Fellow Award for Humanitarian Services, ENC Outstanding Alumnus Achievement Award, Dan Walter Memorial Award, Honoree and Distinguished Alumni of the Coalition for Christian Colleges and Universities, and the ARVO Fight For Sight Citation Award.
Dr. Tombran-Tink has served as a consultant for the Collaborative Research and Development Foundation (CRDF) Global for the past twenty-two years. At CRDF Global she engages in international service sponsored by the US Department of Defense Threat Reduction Agency, the US State and Energy Departments, Ch2m Hill and the International Science and Technology Center to promote global training in capacity building, sustainability, biosafety, bioweapons nonproliferation, bioethics, and zoonotic infectious disease control programs. Her training service extends to many world regions including North Korea, Iraq, Russia, Georgia, Central Asia, Indonesia, Central America and Africa
She has published over 90 peer-reviewed scientific articles and book chapters, served as co-Editor-in-Chief for the Journal of Ocular Biology Diseases and Informatics, Editor for a series of eight Ophthalmology textbooks published by Springer, and is an Editorial Board member of several international scientific Journals. Dr. Tombran-Tink has established strong research collaborations globally which is reflected in her publications. In addition to her full time role as professor at the Penn State College of Medicine for the past ten years, she has been appointed Visiting Professor at the Xian, Henan and Wenzhou Eye Institutes and their associated Medical Schools in China where she engages in collaborative research and student training programs.
During her doctoral studies, Dr. Tombran-Tink discovered PEDF in the retina as a major product of the retinal pigment epithelium and elucidated its role in neuroprotection and neurodifferentiation in the normal and diseased eye. She is the lead inventor on several patents for the use of PEDF and PEDF peptide mimetics for neurodegenerative diseases and diabetic complications including diabetic retinopathy and nephropathy. She is the Founder of and Head of Lead Discovery for Skyran Biologics Inc., which focuses on developing small peptide mimetics for ocular diseases and diabetic complications.