King James IV Professorship Awardee 2024

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22 May 2024

The King James IV Professorship is awarded annually in open competition to practitioners of surgery or dental surgery who have made a significant contribution to the clinical or scientific basis of surgery.

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II gave permission to the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh to use the title King James IV Professorship as King James IV of Scotland, who confirmed this College's Seal of Cause on 13 October 1506, had an interest in all matters scientific, including medicine and surgery and was proud of his skill as a dental surgeon, adopting the somewhat unusual practice of paying patients on whom he operated. Due to the royal permissions, history of the Professorship, and the contributions of its awardees, the Professorship is one of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh most prestigious awards.

Professor Bernard Chang (left), pictured with Professor Noemi Lois (right).

Professor Noemi Lois, MD, PhD, FRCS(Ed), FRCOphth was awarded the King James IV Professorship at the RCOphth Annual Congress in Ireland on Monday 20 May 2024, presented by Professor Bernard Chang.

Professor Lois is currently a Professor of Ophthalmology at Queens University and an Honorary Consultant Ophthalmologist and Vitreoretinal Surgeon at the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK. She remains clinically and surgically active alongside her other projects, with a special focus on looking after patients with complications of diabetic retinopathy and vitreoretinal disorders. Professor Lois' career is extensive, having completed a PhD in diabetic retinopathy in Spain before taking up a number of fellowships in Ocular Oncology in Philadelphia, Medical Retina at Moorfield's and Vitreoretinal Surgery in Liverpool. During this time, Professor Lois gained her US Medical License. Professor Lois has deep roots in Scotland too, having spend 13 years as a Consultant Ophthalmology and Vitreoretinal Surgeon in Aberdeen.

Alongside her surgical activity and teaching, Professor Lois also leads research on retinopathy and vitreoretinal surgery. At present, Professor Lois has been the chief investigator / lead or co-lead for several publicly funded multi-center trials, including:

  • FILMS a project on testing clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of ILM peeling in macular hole surgery, funded by the Chief Scientist Office, Scotland.
  • DIAMONDS a project on testing clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of standard laser versus subthreshold micropulse laser to treat DMO (funded by the NIHR-HTA).
  • EMERALD - A project on multimodal imaging and new pathways of care for people with complications of diabetic retinopathy, kindly funded by the NIHR HTA.
  • RECOGNISED, a multicentric EU wide study on diabetes, cognitive impairment and dementia, funded by the EU Horizon 2020.

Research such as these have led to Professor Lois having written and published 160 published articles in peer reviewed journals and 13 book chapters, alongside editing of 3 textbooks, one is on its second edition. In addition to these achievements, Professor Lois is also editor for the Cochrane Eyes and Vision Group.

Professor Lois is a consistent guest speaker at events globally, including India, Africa, USA, Malaysia and Japan. In her career, Professor Lois has also been a part of the Evidence Review Group in 10 Single Technology Appraisals for NICE on new therapies for retinal diseases.

This year, Professor Lois will continue to build her already exceptional career by giving the MEYER-SCHWICKERATH Lecture at the International Congress of the German Ophthalmic Surgery (DOC). Furthermore, her contribution as part of the working group for the first NICE guidelines for Diabetic Retinopathy will be released thing year, as will the RCOphth guidelines on Macular Hole in which she was a part of. Professor Lois will also continue research this year through her new project, called DAME, a multicentre, UK wide trial that will compare clinical effectiveness, cost-effectiveness, patient experience and acceptability of anti-VEGF therapies versus combined anti-VEGF therapy and subthreshold micropulse laser applied once central retinal thickness goes below 400 microns following anti-VEGFs. This project will be funded by the NIHR-HTA.

As you can see from Professor Lois' exceptional career thus far, the King James IV Professorship could not have been awarded to a more deserving individual who has made a significant contribution to her specialty, and will continue to do so for years to come.

Congratulations Professor Lois.

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