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Crawford Downs
Crawford grew up in Alexandria, Louisiana, received his PhD in biomedical engineering from Tulane University in New Orleans in 2002, and is now Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, Biomedical Engineering, and Computer Science at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He has served as Vice Chair of Research in the department and Director of the Ocular Biomechanics and Mechanobiology Program.

Prior to joining UAB, he held appointments as a Research Assistant Professor at the LSU Eye Center in New Orleans, Louisiana (2002-2005), and as an Associate Scientist at the Devers Eye Institute in Portland, Oregon (2005-2012). Crawford has spent his career studying ocular biomechanics to better understand the pathophysiology of glaucoma, a leading cause of irreversible blindness worldwide. His work is primarily funded by the NIH, and he has enjoyed mentoring the many high school students, undergraduate and graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows who do research projects in his laboratory.

He is also an Assistant Scoutmaster with Troop 28 of Scouts BSA at IPC in Highland Park. Crawford lives in the Redmont Park neighborhood of Birmingham with his wife Georgia, and children James and Julia, who both attend the Math/Science specialty program at the Alabama School of Fine Arts (ASFA). In his spare time, Crawford enjoys the outdoors, gardening, cooking, eating out, seeing live music, and building furniture.

Why have you decided to serve as a Torchbearer for the JLB?
To be honest, the current COVID crisis has really exposed the challenges many people face in our community. Helping raise funds for One Place is a small gesture on my part to make a positive difference.

What/who inspires you to be a Light in our community?
We moved to Birmingham in 2012 and have been welcomed into the community by many of those who have served as Torchbearers in prior cohorts. It’s easiest to do nothing, and yet these folks have all stepped up to help out. That is inspiring!


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