Renowned eye surgeon Dr. Roger Steinert has been named interim dean of the UC Irvine School of Medicine.

The current Irving H. Leopold Chair in Ophthalmology and founding director of the Gavin Herbert Eye Institute, he will oversee the academic and research missions of the medical school.

Steinert came to UCI in 2004 as professor of clinical ophthalmology and holds a joint appointment in the Department of Biomedical Engineering. He’s a pioneer in laser surgery, most notably in LASIK and excimer laser refractive surgery and in corneal transplantation, developing techniques that have improved the vision of millions.

Steinert has repeatedly been recognized for advancing eye care, including being named one of America’s top ophthalmologists by Becker’s ASC Review and receiving the 2008 Barraquer Award, refractive surgery’s highest honor. The UCI Academic Senate honored him with the Distinguished Faculty Award for Teaching in 2008-09.

Steinert also serves as chief of ophthalmology at UC Irvine Medical Center, where he’s the current president of the medical staff and has been a member of the Governing Body Advisory Council since 2009. He helped lead the effort to establish UCI’s Gavin Herbert Eye Institute, Orange County’s only academic vision care institute, and oversaw the opening of the state-of-the-art, 70,000-square-foot research and clinical facility on campus last September.

Steinert follows Dr. Ralph V. Clayman, the medical school’s dean for the past five years. One of the nation’s premiere urologists and founding chair of the Department of Urology, Clayman will return to the faculty and his clinical practice at UCI. During his tenure as dean, he welcomed 12 new department chairs and a new cancer center director; student applications increased by 25 percent; and he oversaw the creation of the iMedEd Initiative, the first medical education program in the country to incorporate tablet computing, Google Glass and portable ultrasound into academic and clinical training.

Steinert will begin his term as interim dean July 1.