Ronald Kalil, PhD
A pioneer in neuroscience and ophthalmology at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health (SMPH), Ronald E. Kalil, PhD, died on September 20, 2021, in Madison, Wisconsin. He was 79 years old.
Having earned his doctorate at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Kalil joined the SMPH faculty in 1973. At the time of his retirement in 2020, he was a professor in the school’s Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences
(DOVS) and had affiliate appointments in other UW-Madison units, including the McPherson Eye Research Institute.
In 1975, Kalil established and, for 25 years, directed the Neuroscience Training Program. He also established the Center for Neuroscience — which he directed for a dozen years — and the W.M. Keck Laboratory for Biological Imaging. Further, in 2004, Kalil established the first stem cell course at UW-Madison; and he co-founded, directed and taught in the Neuroscience and Public Policy Program. Broadly, he chaired the planning committee that led to the establishment of the SMPH Department of Neuroscience. On the national level, Kalil served for 18 years on advisory panels for the National Institutes of Health and other federal agencies.
“Dr. Kalil was passionate about his research and teaching at UW-Madison,” said Terri L. Young, MD, MBA, FARVO, chair of DOVS and the Peter A. Duehr Professor of Ophthalmology, Pediatrics and Medical Genetics. “His research ranged from molecular neurobiology to behavioral neuroscience. Seminal work in his lab revealed the remarkable ability of the brain to restore function that has been compromised or lost due to brain injury by replacing cells that have died and rebuilding appropriate neural connections. His impact on learners who benefited from the courses and programs that he developed is immense.”