The Mentor’s Mentor

A “mentor” according to is a “wise and trusted counsellor or teacher” and “an influential senior sponsor or supporter”.

One can easily understand how Dr Dan Reinstein would tick the right “mentor” boxes for young up-and-coming ophthalmologists and would-be eye surgeons. He’s brilliant, charismatic, driven, hard working, successful and amazingly talented. In turn,  I imagine that he would lend his support to  anyone with a special flare starting out on a career in eye health.

To many of us Dr Dan is a pioneer in his field. It is only when he uses one of his favourite phrases about his work; explaining how he has followed in previous great footsteps ( or in his words: “I was on the shoulders of giants”), that one is reminded of the great development chain of Laser Eye Surgery and that in it there might have been a special person who inspired him.

Prof John Marshall is that person.

“He was my mentor after medical school and when I was at Cornell (university New York). He mentored me during those years helping and guiding my research”, remembers Dr Dan.

Prof Marshall was a likely choice of mentor as he was the person who invented the Excimer laser for working on the cornea.

“He was inspirational to me during my post graduate years and when I came back to the UK he insisted on putting me on the Kings College faculty at St Thomas’ (hospital, London).

“Over the years we have both informally and formally  discussed research.”

And there is no doubt that Prof Marshall’s latest discovery – a treatment for  the most common type of age related macular degeneration – the leading cause of sight-loss in  the Western World – is, according to Dr Dan, “like walking on the moon!”

By anyone’s standards this is an amazing and life-changing discovery- it is up there in the Nobel-prize-winning categories of medical advances.

Now, I confess to being something of a medical groupie, so when Dr Dan offered to arrange a meeting with Prof Marshall… I leapt at the opportunity.

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