Introducing Dr. Ravi

Dr. Nathan Ravi in his office in McMillan 705

Nathan Ravi reached the USA in 1976, after graduating from the University of Bombay, India, with a BS (’73) and MS (’75) in physical chemistry. He pursued an advanced degree in polymer science at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute, earning his PhD in 1980. During his doctoral studies, he designed high-temperature thermoplastics that were tested by NASA as adhesives to prevent thermal insulating tiles from falling off space shuttles during re-entry. He worked in industry afterward, researching the use of polymers in biotechnology, then returned to academia six years later. Dr. Ravi joined the University of Miami’s accelerated PhD – MD program and received his MD two years later, in 1988. He completed his internship in internal medicine (’89) and residency in ophthalmology (’92) at the Albany Medical Center in New York. Later in 1992, he joined the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at Washington University and was Board Certified in 1995. Dr. Ravi is a Fellow of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. In 2010, he also earned an MBA from Washington University.

Dr. Ravi is a Professor in the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences (DOVS) and Energy, Environmental & Chemical Engineering (EECE), and a Faculty Scholar at the Institute of Public Health. Dr. Ravi is also a full-time VA physician, currently serving at the St. Louis VA Medical Center – John Cochran Division, where he was the Chief of Staff between 2006 – 2010. During his tenure at WU and the VA, he has mentored numerous undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate students along with a number of  junior faculty in both ophthalmology and engineering. In 1999, he was the recipient of the “Ophthalmology Teacher of the Year Award” award.

Dr. Ravi has delivered numerous lectures as a keynote speaker and visiting professor. He has over 150 publications, including peer-reviewed articles, book chapters, and patents. Competitive federal funds over the last 20 years have enabled him to explore his interests in the development of visual intra-ocular lens prostheses that can be injected via minimally invasive surgery and will auto-focus, thus eliminating the need for glasses and contact lenses. Most recently, motivated by the maladies of his VA patients, he has become passionately involved in understanding the pathophysiology of toxic military burn pit aerosols.

Dr. Ravi served as the President of the Association of Veterans Affairs Ophthalmologists and has been actively involved in the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s federal and international divisions. He has served on research panels for the VA, review panels of the NIH, and advisory panels for the FDA. At the national level, he served on several VA eye-care committees, improving the quality and efficiency of eye care. He received the “Secretariat Award” from the American Academy of Ophthalmology both in 2005 and 2007 in recognition for his work at the VA hospitals and his role in international ophthalmology. In 2016, he received the “Ophthalmology Teacher of the Year Award” from Washington University’s School of Medicine. The St. Louis Veterans Affairs Medical Center recognized Dr. Ravi’s contributions to science with the “Lifetime Achievement Award” in 2017.

Areas of Expertise and Research