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Richard D. Semba, M.D., M.A., M.P.H.

Richard D. Semba, M.D., M.A., M.P.H.

Headshot of Richard D. Semba
  • W. Richard Green Professor of Ophthalmology
  • Professor of Ophthalmology



Research Interests

macular degeneration; malnutrition; sarcopenia; proteomics; metabolomics; mass spectrometry more


Richard D. Semba, M.D., M.A., M.P.H., is the inaugural W. Richard Green Professor of Ophthalmology at the Wilmer Eye Institute and holds joint appointments in the Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology and the Department of International Health. 

Dr. Semba conducts research on major conditions affecting human health, including age-related macular degeneration, child malnutrition and growth failure, and loss of muscle mass and strength with older age using proteomics, metabolomics, and mass spectrometry. He has authored or co-authored over 300 peer-reviewed scientific publications and has written the books “Handbook of Nutrition and Ophthalmology”, “The Vitamin A Story: Lifting the Shadow of Death”, “Catalogue of the William Holland Wilmer Rare Book Collection.” He also co-edited the textbook “Nutrition and Health in Developing Countries.”

Dr. Semba received his M.A. and M.D. from Stanford University, and his M.P.H. from Johns Hopkins University. He completed his ophthalmology residency at the Wilmer Eye Institute and has been a faculty member at Wilmer since 1987. more


  • W. Richard Green Professor of Ophthalmology
  • Professor of Ophthalmology

Departments / Divisions

Centers & Institutes



  • M.P.H.; Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (Maryland) (1991)
  • M.A.; Stanford University (California) (1983)
  • M.D.; Stanford University School of Medicine (California) (1983)
  • B.S.; Yale University (Connecticut) (1978)

Additional Training


  • Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Ophthalmology (Maryland) (1987)
  • American Board of Ophthalmology
  • Board of Medical Examiners of the State of Maryland

Research & Publications

Selected Publications

View all on PubMed

Semba RD, Victora C. Neonatal mortality. IN: Semba RD, Bloem MW (eds) Nutrition and Health in Developing Countries. Second Edition. Totowa, NJ, Humana Press, 2008.

Semba RD, Delange F. Iodine deficiency disorders. IN: Semba RD, Bloem MW (eds) Nutrition and Health in Developing Countries. Second Edition. Totowa, NJ, Humana Press, 2008.

Maggio M, de Vita F, Lauretani F, Bandinelli S, Semba RD, Bartali B, Cherubini A, Cappola AR, Ceda GP, Ferrucci L. Relationship between carotenoids, retinol, and estradiol levels in older women. Nutrients 2015; 7: 6506-6519.

Balagopal A, Asmuth DM, Yang WT, Campbell TB, Gupte N, Smeaton L, Kanyama C, Grinsztejn B, Santos B, Supparatpinyo K, Badal-Faesen S, Lama JR, Lalloo UG, Zulu F, Pawar JS, Riviere C, Kumarasamy N, Hakim J, Li XD, Pollard RB, Semba RD, Thomas DL, Bollinger RC, Gupta A; ACTG PEARLS and NWCS 319 Study team. Pre-cART elevation of CRP and CD4+ T-cell immune activation associated with HIV clinical progression in a multinational case-cohort study. Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes 2015; 70: 163-171.

Shardell M, Semba RD, Rosano C, Kalyani RR, Bandinelli S, Chia CW, Ferrucci L. Plasma klotho and cognitive decline in older adults: findings from the InCHIANTI Study. Journals of Gerontology A Biological Sciences Medical Sciences 2015 Aug 21 [Epub ahead of print]

Semba RD, Lam M, Sun K, Zhang P, Schaumberg DA, Ferrucci L, Ping P, Van Eyk JE. Priorities and trends in the study of proteins in eye research, 1924-2014. Proteomics Clinical Applications 2015; 9: 1105-1122.

Zhang P, Kirby D, Dufresne C, Chen Y, Turner R, Ferri S, Edward DP, Van Eyk JE, Semba RD. Defining the proteome of human iris, ciliary body, retinal pigment epithelium, and choroid. Proteomics 2016 Feb 2 [Epub ahead of print]

Semba RD, Ferrucci L, Sun K, Simonsick E, Turner R, Miljkovic I, Harris T, Schwartz AV, Asao K, Kritchevsky S, Newman AB; Health ABC Study. Low plasma klotho concentrations and decline of knee strength in older adults. Journals of Gerontology A Biological Sciences Medical Sciences 2016; 71: 103-108.

Activities & Honors


  • Japanese-American Citizens League Scholarship Award, Yale College, 1973 - 1973
  • Cum Laude, Yale College, 1978 - 1978
  • Honors and Distinction in Biology, Yale College, 1978 - 1978
  • William R. Belknap Prize for Excellence in Biology, Yale College, 1978 - 1978
  • Physician Scientist Award, National Institutes of Health, 1987 - 1992
  • Eli Lilly Clinician Scientist Award, Johns Hopkins University, 1992 - 1994
  • Pediatric Nutrition Award, John Kinney/Nestle, 2002 - 2002
  • Graduate Fellowship in Latin American Studies, Tinker Foundation, 1982
  • Orinoco Foundation Fellowship, Stanford University, 1980


  • American Academy of Ophthalmology
  • American Institute of Nutrition
  • American Society for Clinical Nutrition
  • American Society for Nutrition
  • American Association for the History of Medicine
  • Society for International Nutrition Research
  • International Society for Research on Human Milk and Lactation
  • Gerontological Society of America
  • U.S. Human Proteome Organization
  • American Society for Mass Spectrometry

Professional Activities

  • Editorial Advisory Board, Nutrition Magazine, 1998
  • Member, Women's Eye Health Task Force, 2002
  • Member, Special Interest Group Section, 2013 - 2013
  • Associate Editor, Journal of Gerontology Medical Sciences, 2005 - 2013
  • Consultant, United Nations World Food Programme, 2006 - 2012
  • Member, Ad-Hoc Study Section, 2009 - 2009
  • Member, Aging Systems and Geriatrics Study Section (ASG), 2007 - 2007
  • Regional Advisor, Helen Keller International Asia-Pacific Region, 2004 - 2006
  • Board of Directors, Dwight Hall Center for Social Justice, 1999 - 2002
  • Editorial Board, Journal of Nutrition, 1995 - 1997
  • Task Force Member, World Health Organization, 1992 - 1992

Videos & Media

Lectures and Presentations

  • On the Discovery of the Vitamins
    Guest Speaker, 100th Anniversary of the Discovery of the Vitamins Symposium, Basel, Switzerland (09/23/2012)
  • The Historical Evolution of Thought Regarding Multiple Micronutrient Nutrition
    Guest Speaker, Second International Congress of Public Health Nutrition, Porto, Portgual (09/23/2010)
  • Advanced Glycation End Products in the Diet: Do They Accelerate Aging?
    Distinguished Lecture in Nutritional Science, Columbia University (03/23/2009)
    Institute of Human College of Physicians & Surgeons
  • Nutritional Blindness in Developing Countries
    Keynote Speaker, 25th Annual Wilmer Nursing Conference, Baltimore, Maryland (05/16/2008)
    Johns Hopkins University
  • The 20% Soclution: Vitamin A Program Coverage to Prevent Blindness and Mortality in India
    Keynote Speaker, All-India Ophthalmological Society Meeting, Bangalore, India (02/01/2008)
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