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Maureen Maguire, PhD

24 Years of Biostatistics with Dr. Maureen Maguire 

By Laura O’Keefe

Scheie Vision Winter 2015

“I have the best job at Scheie!” says Dr. Maureen Maguire, when asked what everyone at Scheie should know about her. Dr. Maguire is the Director of the Center for Preventative Ophthalmology and Biostatistics (CPOB) at the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Maguire attended college at Rider University, where she received her Bachelor’s degree in mathematics.  She spent the summer before her senior year at the Provident Mutual Life Insurance Company, where she worked in the actuarial department.  

Dr. Maguire soon realized that the business aspect of actuarial work did not interest her very much.  She was fascinated, however, by the way that insurance companies used factors such as sex or age to accurately predict the quality of someone’s health.

When returning to school for the fall, Dr. Maguire realized that the field of biostatistics offered the perfect combination of her interests in mathematics and public health.  She entered the Master’s program at Johns Hopkins University and went on to complete her PhD in Biostatistics.  Dr. Maguire subsequently joined the faculty of the Department of Ophthalmology at Johns Hopkins.

In July 1994, Dr. Maguire moved to Philadelphia in order to found the CPOB.  Under Dr. Maguire’s leadership, the CPOB has contributed an incredible body of knowledge to the field of ophthalmology.  

When Dr. Maguire first established the CPOB, little could be done to prevent or halt the progression of age-related macular degeneration (AMD).  AMD is the leading cause of irreversible blindness in the US.  In just the past two decades, Dr. Maguire’s research has contributed to the treatment, prevention, and reversal of damage due to AMD. Currently, she is working on a follow-up study to evaluate patients who were successfully treated in a prior study to determine if the effect of treatment is still apparent after five years.

Recently, Dr. Maguire, Dr. Mina Massaro, and others pursued a study evaluating the effectiveness of fish oil supplements in alleviating dry eye symptoms. It is the first study of its kind to monitor dry eye patients over a long period of time, which is important because many seasonal factors, such as indoor heating, can influence dry eye symptoms. 

Dr. Maguire also spends much time training the future leaders of research at Scheie.

“I do my best to remove the ‘black box’ aspect of data analysis.  I make sure everyone knows why and how a particular statistical test was used, rather than just taking the data and handing it back,” Dr. Maguire said.  

Dr. Maguire’s visionary leadership of the CPOB has led to treatments and cures for blindness and the mentorship of the next generation of experts in ophthalmology research.  We’re looking forward to the advancements of the coming years and agree that Dr. Maguire might just have the best job at Scheie!

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