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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

Nutrition; Food Systems; Sustainable Diets; Aging; Age-related Macular Degeneration; Vitamin A Deficiency more


Richard D. Semba, M.D., M.A., M.P.H., is the W. Richard Green Professor of Ophthalmology at the Wilmer Eye Institute. He is also Affiliated Faculty with the Center for a Livable Future in the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Dr. Semba conducts research on nutrition, food systems, and human health. He has authored or co-authored over 400 peer-reviewed scientific publications and has written three books: “Handbook of Nutrition and Ophthalmology”, “The Vitamin A Story: Lifting the Shadow of Death”, and “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

  • Residency: 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, Manley J, Rosman L, Rahman N, Bloem MW. Relationship of cash transfers with risk of overweight and obesity in children and adults: a systematic review. BMC Public Health 2022 Jun 15;22(1):1190

Semba RD, Ramsing R, Rahman N, Kraemer K, Bloem MW. Legumes as a sustainable source of protein in human diets. Global Food Security 2021;28:100520

Semba RD, de Pee S, Kim B, McKenzie S, Nachman K, Bloem MW. Adoption of the ‘planetary health diet’ has different impacts on countries’ greenhouse gas emissions. Nature Food 2020;1:481-484

Semba RD, Shardell M, Sakr Ashour FA, Moaddel R, Trehan I, Maleta KM, Ordiz MI, Kraemer K, Khadeer MA, Ferrucci L, Manary MJ. Child stunting is associated with low circulating essential amino acids. EBioMedicine 2016; 6: 246-252

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

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
  • Lew R. Wasserman Merit Award, Research to Prevent Blindness, Research to Prevent Blindness, 2006
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