Alumni Spotlight

Bobeck Modjtahedi

Bobeck Modjtahedi

Bobeck Modjtahedi, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, '05


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Betsy Towner Levine
Senior Writer


This year's recipient of the College of Biological Sciences Young Alumni Award is Bobeck Modjtahedi, a proud member of our alumni community.

He was nominated by UC Davis Medical Center Opthalmologist and Assistant Dean Frank Sousa, who wrote that Modjtahedi accrued an astonishing list of honors in both his undergraduate work at CBS and his years at the medical center, where he recently completed his ophthalmology residency.

"Bobeck is a natural leader who is the strongest advocate for UC Davis that I know. Faculty regularly approach him and ask for his advice on where to send their children for college. Bobeck always responds that the education and opportunities provided by UC Davis are second to none," Sousa said.

As an undergraduate, Modjtahedi completed his BS in BioChemistry and Molecular Biology in just three years, graduating in 2005 with a 4.0 grade point average and highest honors. He credits the constant support and encouragement of his family with these and his more recent successes.

He also believes the congenial yet focused atmosphere at Davis offered him “the best of all worlds” at college.

“If you go to UC Davis, you receive a top-notch education from dedicated and bright people while working with amazing colleagues and peers,” Modjtahedi said.

“I remember in organic chemistry class, my friends and I would often have a wrap-up session where we hung out outside the lecture hall and talked for an hour or so,” he said. “We would talk about the class, but also about a large array of topics. I learned a lot from those impromptu sessions--many of my philosophies about education and studying come from the wisdom of my peers from those days.”

After graduation, Modjtahedi continued to shine during his ophthalmology residency. He volunteered for the free clinic system, providing eye exams and care to the underserved. Moreover, Sousa said, it is rare for a resident to contribute meaningfully to the literature, but Modjtahedi managed to do so. His articles have been amongst the most highly read in several prominent ophthalmology journals.

Modjtahedi also recently became the first-ever UC Davis residency-program graduate to be awarded the prestigious Heed Fellowship, which is given to the top graduating ophthalmology residents in the country.

He is now continuing his work in a two-year fellowship in vitreoretinal surgery at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, a Harvard teaching hospital. He plans on a career in academic medicine--balancing clinic work, surgery and research.

“I'd love to work at a university, as one of the most fun experiences of college for me was being a TA for Bio 1A. I got to meet many new students each quarter,” Modjtahedi said. “It was fun to teach them new material but also to help guide them and be a mentor.”

He added that he still talks to many of his old students and has maintained life-long friendships as a result.

"What is perhaps most impressive about Bobeck is that he has remained a well-grounded student and a joy to be around. He has been an invaluable mentor and asset to students at UC Davis for years now," Sousa concluded in his nomination letter.