Dr. Michael Barris was inspired to go into his profession due to the time he spent working in a psychiatric hospital during the junior year of his undergraduate education. He made the decision to focus on research in the field as he felt he could help more people in this way. Dr. Barris was also inspired by his great-grandfather, who was a physician and had a great influence on his career. He first set out in this venture by earning an AB from the University of Rochester in 1966 and later received a PhD from the City University of New York in 1976.
In 1976, Dr. Barris commenced his career as a fellow in ophthalmology at the University of Florida. In 1983, he relocated to Puerto Rico, leveraging his skills and expertise as an assistant professor of optometry at the Interamerican University of Puerto Rico. While he enjoyed his time in Puerto Rico due to the beauty of the buildings and landscape, he also saw a lot of difficulty with the island’s utilities, which perpetuated major public health issues. Due to this experience, Dr. Barris developed a deep appreciation of the importance of public utilities in maintaining the health of the general population. This has lead him to be active in municipal government. As a village trustee, he is actively involved in rebuilding the reservoir and the wastewater treatment plant, which would cost $6 million dollars and benefit 18,000 residents.
After his work in Puerto Rico, Dr. Barris briefly joined the faculty at Queens College before accepting an assistant professor of internal medicine post at Michigan State University in 1990. In 1994, he was made a visiting assistant research professor of biochemistry at the institution before joining Nova Southeastern University as an assistant professor of optometry. In addition to these roles, Dr. Barris has served as an adjunct instructor of ophthalmology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine and as an adjunct lecturer of psychology at Queens College.
There are many highlights within Dr. Barris’ career but he is most proud of his contributions to scientific papers. He has written 43 papers that have been highly cited throughout his career. These include his contributions to Investigative Ophthalmology and Vision Science, Documenta Ophthalmologica, Annals of Neurology, Electroencephalography and Clinical Neurophysiology, Journal of Physiology, American Journal of Physiology, the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America and Optometry and Vision Science.