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Born in Greece, Michael Kalloniatis migrated to Melbourne with his family in 1965. Upon completion of his optometry degree at the University of Melbourne in 1981, he continued his studies with a Master's degree evaluating the visual characteristics of low vision children.
Kalloniatis then undertook his PhD at the University of Houston, Texas, studying colour vision processing in the monkey visual system. After receiving his doctorate he remained in the USA, accepting an appointment as a National Institute of Health Research Fellow at the University of Texas. With his interest in retinal neurochemistry and anatomy, he received a post-doctoral award to study retinal circuitry.
In 1991 he returned to Melbourne to take up a lectureship at the University of Melbourne. During this time he established a neuroanatomical laboratory and a visual psychophysics laboratory, also training a number of PhD students.
In 2001 he was appointed the Robert G Leitl Chair and Head of the Department of Optometry and Vision Science (DOVS) at the University of Auckland. During his seven years with the university, he saw the department double its student numbers, introduce under-graduate and post-graduate therapeutic training and establish a strong research base through the attraction of competitive research grants.
In collaboration with the Department of Ophthalmology, Kalloniatis was also instrumental in setting up the New Zealand National Eye Centre, which opened during 2008. In May 2009 he commenced his role as Director, Centre for Eye Health, an initiative of Guide Dogs NSW/ACT and the University of New South Wales (UNSW).
With expertise in retinal anatomy and neurochemistry, Kalloniatis is a highly experienced optometrist with a range of academic and research experience who has maintained clinical practice throughout his career. Both Kalloniatis' parents have experienced vision loss at the hands of eye disease, so his passion to prevent blindness through early diagnosis is augmented by personal first-hand understanding of the social impacts of vision loss.