Faculty enhancement award granted to COM ophthalmology researcher

Clay Smith, Ph.D. Photo by Don Enkerud

The UF Provost Office recently announced W. Clay Smith, Ph.D., an associate professor of research in the department of ophthalmology in the College of Medicine, received a Faculty Enhancement Opportunity award for the fall semester.

FEOs are intended to advance the academic, professional and scholarly abilities of faculty members, similar in intent to sabbaticals. However, FEOs are more flexible than traditional sabbaticals, helping offset salary and benefit expenses, travel costs and fees for conferences or similar learning experiences.

Smith studies the biochemistry and cellular events that allow the eye to detect even a single photon of light. Defects in these biological processes often lead to visual complications, such as retinal degeneration and stationary night blindness, and learning more is expected to lead to therapies for people experiencing vision problems.

The FEO award is a part of UF President Bernie Machen’s efforts to support and enhance professional development opportunities for the faculty.