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Person Record

Name Kupfer, Carl
Occupation In 1952, after receiving his MD, Carl Kupfer, served as intern and then as assistant resident at the Wilmer Eye Institute of Johns Hopkins University. He stayed at the University for another year as a laboratory assistant in biostatistics. He interrupted his career in 1954 to serve three years in the U.S. Air Force. After he was discharged from the military in 1957, Kupfer returned to the Wilmer Eye Institute, this time as a Research Fellow in Ophthalmology. On completion of the Fellowship in 1958, he took a position at Harvard Medical School, with the same title as he had at Johns Hopkins. He was appointed to the Harvard faculty in 1960 as an instructor in Ophthalmology, rising to Assistant Professor in 1962. In 1966, he moved across the country when he joined the faculty of the University of Washington Medical School in Seattle as professor in the ophthalmology department; he was named department chairman shortly after. In this position Kupfer was responsible for the administrative and scientific direction of the department as well as for teaching and patient care. He held the concurrent title of Research Affiliate at the University Primate Center. Over the course of his tenure in Seattle, his research included studies of movement of eye fluids in glaucoma, the use of nitrogen mustard for treatment of retinal blastoma, aspects of nerve-muscle physiology, and studies of the nerve pathways from the eye to the brain. His early interactions with NIH included membership in the NIH Vision Research Training Committee. In 1968, Congress authorized the founding of the National Eye Institute (NEI) at NIH. In 1970, Kupfer was named to be the first director of the NEI on the basis of his reputation as a scientist and administrator. Early in his new capacity he sought to identify the needs and opportunities in vision research. He considered central vision processing an important field for research. He established an Office of Biometry and Epidemiology that was to plan and carry out human population studies concerned with the cause, prevention, and treatment of eye disease and vision disorders, with emphasis on the major causes of blindness and visual impairment. The Diabetic Retinopathy Study, started in 1972, set the standard for vision-related clinical studies. The budget of NEI grew from $24 million in 1970 to more than $450 million in 2000. Kupfer's directorship of NEI spanned six NIH Directors and as well as six occupants in the White House. He retired in 2000 after having a full three decades in NIH.
No Archives 5
No Objects 5
No Photos 5
Birthplace New York, NY
Born Feb. 9, 1928
Titles & honors Professor and Chairman in Opthalmology, University of Washington School of Medicine
Director, National Eye Institute, NIH
Migel Medal, American Foundation for the Blind
Presidential Distinguished Rank Award and numerous other awards and named lectures
Elected to the Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences
Honorary D.Sc. University of Pennsylvania, State University of New York, Pennsylvania College of Optometry
Education Yale University, AB (1948)
Johns Hopkins Medical School, MD (1952)

Associated Records

Image of 05.0010.001 - Camera, Stereo

05.0010.001 - Camera, Stereo

05.0010.001.01 - camera 05.0010.001.02 - foot pedal The instrument has a green enameled metal base in a pyramid shape with four feet. The right side of this base has sockets and cords for power, lamps, and a foot pedal. The left side has a control panel with a display readout labelled "Flash Intensity Indicator," a power switch, a red flash discharge button, and a flash intensity dial. The back has a handle. Attached by a cord is a "Linemaster Cadet Switch, Linemaster, Switch Corp., Woodstock, Conn, Cat. No. HB-2." This switch is a piece which gets depressed by the foot. Mounted on top of the base is the camera/viewfinder assembly. The front of this has the viewfinder and adju

Image of 13.0021.080 - Invitation

13.0021.080 - Invitation

Double fold green cardstock with dark green lettering announcing 1996 NIH Day featuring Diabetes Research.

Image of 17.0002.002 - Plaque

17.0002.002 - Plaque

Glass. Hexagon. With slant cut for inscription: "National Eye Institute for outstanding contributions to world ophthalmology." On the front is the ICC XXVI Singapore 1990 logo.

Image of 17.0002.001 - Plaque

17.0002.001 - Plaque

Lucite with etched inscription: "The David Rumbough Scientific Award to the National Eye Institute's Carl Kupfer, M.D., Director, for leadership in the clinical trials and advancement in diabetic retinopathy." Embedded in red is the title "Juvenile Diabetes Foundation" and their logo.

Image of 17.0002.005 - Plaque

17.0002.005 - Plaque

Wood back. Set into the wood is a paper decree with a clear cover screwed over it. The decree is done in calligraphy in different colors with gold initial letters. Signed by T.A. Weingeist (?), (Pres.) and H. Dunbar Koskin Jr. (?). "In recognition of the National Eye Institute's valuable contributions to medicine and ophthalmology through pioneering research that meets the vision related health care needs of people of all ages, the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the President and Board of Trustees of the Academy gratefully take this opportunity to honor you with this expression of our appreciation, and respectully ask you to accept this Distinguished Service Award, presented at our Jo

Image of Office of History Photograph Collection - Scientific directors of the National Institutes of Health

Office of History Photograph Collection - Scientific directors of the National Institutes of Health

Group photograph of the scientific directors of the National Institutes of Health in 1976. The directors in the front row (left to right) are: Drs. Jack Orloff, Leon Jacobs, Philip S. Chen, DeWitt Stetten, Bernard Talbot, Alan S. Rabson, and Roger M. Cole. In the second row the directors are Dr. Vincent T. DeVita, Mr. Edward E. Nicholas, Drs. James B. Sidbury, Joe R. Held, Wallace D. Armstrong, Joseph E. Rall, and David P. Rall. The directors in the third row are Drs. Roger L. Black, Arnold W. Pratt, Thomas N. Chase, James A. Peters, and John C. Eberhart. There are also insets of four additional directors who are Drs. Ruth L. Kirschstein, Carl Kupfer, Harry M. Meyer, and Nathan W. Shock

Image of National Eye Institute - Carl Kupfer

National Eye Institute - Carl Kupfer

Dr. Carl Kupfer was the first director of the National Eye Institute. He served in the position from 1970 until 2000. He served during a critical time that shaped vision research in the United States. Kupfer served under six NIH directors as well as six U.S. presidents.

Image of Scientific Directors - Scientific Directors of National Institutes of Health, 1976

Scientific Directors - Scientific Directors of National Institutes of Health, 1976

The Board of Scientific Directors develops, reviews, and recommends policies affecting the intramural research programs of the National Institutes of Health. The voting members of the Board comprise the NIH Scientific Directors and the Director, CBER, FDA. The chair of the Board is the Deputy Director for Intramural Research (DDIR). This is a group portrait of the taken in 1976.