Skip to main content

NC State Veterinary Medicine’s Gilger Receives Distinguished Alumnus Award

Brian Gilger examines horse's eye
Brian Gilger, professor of ophthalmology. Photo by John Joyner/NC State Veterinary Medicine

Brian Gilger, a world-leading expert in equine ophthalmology whose groundbreaking work at the NC State College of Veterinary Medicine has led to innovative treatments for numerous eye diseases, is the recipient of a distinguished alumnus award from his alma mater.

The Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine, where Gilger completed his ophthalmology residency and earned a master’s degree in 1992, presented Gilger with the Wilford S. Bailey Distinguished Alumnus in Academia award during a virtual conference last month.

The honor is the Auburn CVM’s highest alumni award, recognizing career achievement and those who have made a difference in their community and beyond by advancing animal and human health. 

Gilger is a professor of ophthalmology at the NC State CVM and an adjunct clinical professor of ophthalmology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Gilger uses an ocular imaging machine to obtain microscopic-level information about the eye of an equine patient. Photo by John Joyner/NC State Veterinary Medicine.

“It was my honor and pleasure to be recognized as the 2020 recipient of the Wilford S. Bailey Distinguished Alumni Award,” says Gilger. “I fondly remember the collegial and nurturing environment at Auburn, an environment that is unique and one I have rarely seen duplicated at other institutions.” 

After receiving a DVM from the Ohio State University in 1987, Gilger completed an internship at the Animal Medical Center New York in 1988 before his residency and master’s degree. He joined the NC State CVM in 1995 as an associate professor of ophthalmology.

Gilger thanked his faculty ophthalmology mentors at Auburn University, David Whitley and Susan McLaughlin, for their support, as well as David Wilkie at Ohio State and Kate Meurs, associate dean for research and graduate studies at the NC State CVM.

At NC State, Gilger has made invaluable contributions to the understanding and treatment of equine glaucoma, fungal infections, corneal ulcerations and recurrent uveitis, which causes blindness. 

Under his leadership, the NC State Veterinary Hospital has integrated gene therapy and ocular imaging through high-frequency ultrasound to its equine care arsenal. Drug development projects spearheaded by Gilger and his research team within his CVM laboratory have shed light on the mechanisms of ocular medicine and yielded new approaches to wound healing.

In 2018, Gilger received the Clinical Research Award from the American Veterinary Medical Association. He was named a distinguished alumnus by Ohio State in 2017. 

A diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists and the American Board of Toxicology, Gilger has authored more than 150 peer-reviewed scientific manuscripts. He has also written for and edited several textbooks, including multiple editions of Equine Ophthalmology.

~Jordan Bartel/NC State Veterinary Medicine