Kurt Gilliland, Ph.D.


Assistant Professor;
Assistant Dean of Curriculum

  • B.A., University of North Carolina, 1992
  • M.S., North Carolina State University, 1995
  • Ph.D., University of North Carolina, 2003

Research Interests

The normal human lens is transparent for the purpose of optimally focusing light on the retina. When the lens loses its transparency and becomes opaque, it is known as a cataract, a condition in which light is scattered instead of focused. Cataract, the leading cause of blindness worldwide, may be a multifactorial disease with many sources of light scatter. One particular source of light scatter in human age-related nuclear cataracts is likely to be rare lipid spheres within the cytoplasm known as multilamellar bodies (MLBs). Characterization of the morphology and distribution of MLBs is establishing that these structures are potential light scattering centers that may contribute to the opacity in the cataract. Specimens collected recently at the L.V. Prasad Eye Institute in Hyderabad, India, are revealing interesting information about advanced cataracts and in particular those in developing countries.


Gilliland, K.O. and R.L. Montgomery. 2011. Anatomists and Eponyms: The Spirit of Anatomy Past. Nottingham, England: Nottingham University Press.

Gilliland, K.O. and E.T. Kernick. 2011. Human Anatomical Structure and Embryonic Development. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina.

Kernick, E.T., K.O. Gilliland, K.K. Sulik, and R.L. Montgomery. 2007. The Human Body: Structure and Development. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina.

Montgomery, R.L. and K.O. Gilliland. 2002. Appleton and Lange Review of Anatomy. 6th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Selected Publications

PubMed 1