Professor Penny Asbell

Professor Penny Asbell

Visiting Professorial Fellow
Medicine & Health
School of Optometry and Vision Science

Dr Asbell is committed to the goal of “improving sight and empowering lives” through contributions to education and mentoring, clinical and translational research, patient medical and surgical care and innovative academic collaboration. Her education includes a B.S. in biochemistry (University of Chicago), M.D. (SUNY Buffalo), M.B.A. (Baruch College), E.L.A.M. (Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine Program, Drexel University), and professional training includes internship in internal medicine at Yale University, ophthalmology residency and a fellowship in uveitis/immunology at NYU and a fellowship at LSU in cornea. She is boardcertified in ophthalmology and licensed to practice in New York, California, and Tennessee. Dr. Asbell has held diverse leadership positions, including tenured academic professorships at the Icahn School of Medicine (Mount Sinai) in New York, and the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis and has been interim chair in New York and chair in Tennessee and Director of the Hamilton Eye Institute at UTHSC and held numerous positions on various strategic committees at both institutions. Dr. Asbell has served in many professional societies, including President of CLAO/ ECLA, Women in Ophthalmology, Editor in Chief of ECLA journal, inaugural editor of Cornea Section for AAO Eyewiki and ad hoc reviewer for all the major ophthalmology journals as well as other world-renowned journals, including Nature, Lancet and JAMA, and a frequent member of NEI review panels.

A principal part of her career has been the mentoring of more than a hundred medical students, residents and fellows from North America and Europe and Asia and directing them into productive and innovative careers in practice and  academia, contributing to education and new research. She is an active participant in medical missions, on the Board of the Hawaiian Eye Foundation; she often ensures that a resident or two can join her on these global opportunities
to serve patients, enhance local education for sustained quality care and learn about health care challenges outside the USA. She has published more than 200 peer-reviewed contributions in academic journals, including notably:

• Asbell, P. A., Sanfilippo, C. M., Sahm, D. F., Decory, H. H. (2020). Trends in Antibiotic Resistance among Ocular Microorganisms in the United States from 2009 to 2018. JAMA Ophthalmology, 138(5), 439-450.
• Asbell, P. A., Maguire, G., Pistilli, M., Ying, G. S., Szczotka-Flynn, L. B., Hardten, D. R., Lin, M. C., Shtein, R. M., Hom, M. M., et al . (2018). n−3 Fatty acid supplementation for the treatment of dry eye disease. New England Journal of Medicine, 378(18), 1681-1690.,
• Roy, N., Wei, Y., Kuklinski, E., Asbell, P. A. (2017). The growing need for validated biomarkers and endpoints for dry eye clinical research. Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science, 58(6), BIO1-BIO19
• Wilhelmus, K. R., Gee, L., Hauck, W. W., Kurinij, N., Dawson, C. R., Jones, D. B., Barron, B. A., Kaufman, H. E., Sugar, J., Hyndiuk, R. A., Laibson, P. R., Stulting, R. D., Asbell, P. A. (2020). Herpetic Eye Disease Study: A Controlled Trial of Topical Corticosteroids for Herpes Simplex Stromal Keratitis. 127(4), S5-S18.

A major part of her career continues to be devoted to clinical and translational research and improving the quality and design of such research. This work embraces research on dry eye disease, ocular biomarkers, ocular infections, corneal disease, refractive surgery, and other areas, and has been funded by NIH/NEI, RPB, industry and philanthropy, including the DREAM trial on dry eye disease, HEDS and ZEDS on herpetic eye disease, ARMOR on antibiotic resistance, small spot excimer laser and INTACS, which have led to results that have directly impacted clinical practice and patient care and future research directions.

Dr. Asbell is a frequently invited lecturer internationally, organizer of professional symposia and recipient of awards and named lectureships from many institutions, including ARVO, AAO, and UC San Francisco, and U of Dusseldorf. A few international symposia Dr. Asbell organized as Chair / Moderator/ speaker include:

• "Biomarkers for Ocular Surface Disease": Eye & Contact Lens Symposium, April 27, 2019, pre ARVO.
• “Biomarkers and Endpoints in inflammatory Ocular Diseases: Challenges and Limitations”, National Institute of Health, Washington DC, May 31, 2017
• "The ABCs of randomized controlled trials " April 22, 2023, ARVO Educational Course, New Orleans
• “Keratoconus and UV Corneal Cross-linking.” June 2014, Toronto, ECLA Symposium 
• “Sex-Based Biology in Diagnosis and Treatment, ”April 29, 2004, ARVO Symposium
• “Intacs Certification Course and Wet Lab”, April 23, 2004 at AAO Annual Meeting, New Orleans
• “Certification Course and Wetlab for Intacs for Keratoconus”, April 2005 at ASCRS Annual Meeting
• “Design and Conduct of Clinical Trials in Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD)”, Special Interest Group (SIG) at Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, Annual Meeting, Fort Lauderdale, FL, May 1-6, 2010.
• “ECL Symposium on Myopia Epidemic and Myopia Progression”, pre ARVO May, 2015 Dr. Asbell is committed to continuing to contribute to ophthalmology by improving the ability to serve patients through research, education, and enhanced expertise and efficiency in patient care.

Complete List of Published Work:

+61 2 9385 4639
School of Optometry & Vision Science North Wing Rupert Myers Building Gate 14 Barker Street UNSW Sydney NSW 2052

Research activities:  

  • Dry eye disease
  • MGD ( meibomian gland dysfunction)
  • HZO ( herpes zoster ophthalmicus)
  • Pterygium
  • Antibiotic resistance
  • Eye pain
  • Eye allergy
  • Eye infections
  • Corneal cross linking
  • Clinical trial development / protocol development