Skip Navigation

Faculty Directory

Richard Semba, MD


Departmental Affiliation(s):

School of Medicine (Primary)
International Health (Joint)
Molecular Microbiology and Immunology (Joint)

Center & Institute Affiliation(s):

Contact Information

400 N. Broadway
Smith Building, M015
Baltimore , Maryland   21287


SciVal Experts Research Profile


MD , Stanford University , 1983
MPH , Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health , 1991
MA , Stanford University , 1983



Dr. Semba is the inaugural W. Richard Green Professor of Ophthalmology at the Wilmer Eye Institute. He holds joint appointments in the Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology and the Department of International Health. Dr. Semba received his B.S. from Yale University (1978), M.A. and M.D. from Stanford University (1983), and M.P.H. from Johns Hopkins University (1991). He completed his ophthalmology residency at the Wilmer Eye Institute. Dr. Semba has been a faculty member at Johns Hopkins University since 1987. 

Dr. Semba’s areas of research include the characterization of emerging biomarkers for adverse aging-related outcomes and the application of proteomics to the understanding of chronic diseases. He has been studying the relationship of advanced glycation end products and their circulating receptors to human health. His most recent investigations are on the recently-discovered “anti-aging” hormone klotho and its potential role in cardiovascular disease, eye disease, and other aging-related disorders. He also has a longstanding interest in nutritional blindness (vitamin A deficiency disorders) in developing countries.

Dr. Semba is the author of “Handbook of Nutrition and Ophthalmology” (Humana Press, 2007), the first general text on nutrition and eye health. Dr. Semba is co-editor (with Martin Bloem) of the widely used textbook “Nutrition and Health in Developing Countries” (Humana Press, first edition, 2001; second edition, 2008). He is the author the book “Lifting the Shadow of Death: the Vitamin A Story”, which describes how vitamin A deficiency accounted for millions of cases of blindness and deaths throughout history. He explains in the book how it took nearly two centuries to characterize vitamin A and understand its importance to human wellbeing. Dr. Semba and co-author Kristine Smets have written the “Catalogue of the William Holland Wilmer Rare Book Collection”, a description of the collection of over 400 rare books on optics, ophthalmology, and medicine that Dr. Wilmer bequeathed to the Wilmer Institute in 1936. “Lifting the Shadow of Death: the Vitamin A Story” and “Catalogue of the William Holland Wilmer Rare Book Collection” are both scheduled for publication in 2012. 

Honors and Awards

Lew R. Wasserman Merit Award from Research to Prevent Blindness (2006)

W. Richard Green Professor of Ophthalmology (2007-present)

Vitamin A, carotenoids, selenium; oxidative stress and inflammation; aging; pathogenesis of anemia; nutrition and immunity; history of nutrition

  • 2012

  • Semba RD, Sun K, Cappola AR, Fink JC, Dalal M, Crasto C, Ferrucci L, Fried LP. Elevated serum fibroblast growth factor 23 predicts incident chronic kidney disease in older community-dwelling women. Clin J Am Soc Nephrol 2012; 7: 85-91.

  • Semba RD. The historical evolution of thought regarding multiple micronutrient nutrition. J Nutr 2012; 142: 143S-156S.

  • Semba RD, Sun K, Egan JM, Crasto C, Carlson OD, Ferrucci L. Elevated serum fibroblast growth factor 21 is associated with abnormal glucose metabolism and insulin resistance: the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2012; Feb 16 [Epub ahead of print].

  • 2011