Research to Prevent Blindness


Ten researchers who have been supported by RPB will be co-principal investigators on five innovative projects just announced by the National Eye Institute (NEI) as part of its Audacious Goals Initiative (AGI) for Regenerative Medicine. In this latest AGI effort, the five multi-disciplinary teams will develop new disease models for a range of eye conditions.  This AGI model-development effort seeks to catalyze new, regenerative treatments – such as cell- and gene-based therapies -- for such conditions as glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration and retinitis pigmentosa.

The two researchers comprising the Developing Cone-Dominant Retinal Disease Models as a Resource for Translational Vision Research team both had RPB Career Development Awards (CDAs).  The majority of team members on two other teams,  Retinal Ganglion Cell Replacement in Optic Neuropathies and Retinal Ganglion Cell Replacement in Clinically Relevant Models of  Optic Neuropathy, received earlier RPB funding.  Many of these scientists were CDA recipients as well. The projects and RPB-associated team members include:

Project: Retinal Disease Models for Translational Photoreceptor Replacement (EY029890)

RPB-Supported Researcher:

  • David M. Gamm, MD, PhD, University of Wisconsin:  Catalyst Award (2014); Nelson Trust/Retinitis Pigmentosa Award (2014); Special Scholar Award (2006)

Project: Retinal Ganglion Cell Replacement in Optic Neuropathies (EY029903) 

 RPB-Supported Researchers: 

  • Jeffery L. Goldberg, MD, PhD, Stanford University:  Disney/Amblyopia Award (2010)
  • David J. Calkins, PhD, Vanderbilt University:  Stein Innovation Award (2018); Senior Scientific Investigator Award (2012); Lew R. Wasserman Merit Award (2003)
  • Donald J. Zack, MD, PhD, Johns Hopkins University:  Nelson Trust/Retinitis Pigmentosa Award (2014); Senior Scientific Investigator Award (2002); Research Sabbatical Award (2001); Career Development Award (1996)

Project: Models of Cone Disorders and Other Heritable Retinal Diseases (EY029904)

RPB-Supported Researchers:

  • John T. Stout, MD, PhD, MBA, Baylor College of Medicine:  Special Scholar Award (2001); Career Development Award (1997)
  • Ala Moshiri, MD, PhD, University of California, Davis:  Career Development Award (2013)

Project: Developing Cone-Dominant Retinal Disease Models as a Resource for Translational Vision Research (EY029891)

RPB-Supported Researchers:

  • Joseph Carroll, PhD, Medical College of Wisconsin:  Career Development Award (2007)
  • Jacque Duncan, MD, University of California, San Francisco:  Nelson Trust/Retinitis Pigmentosa Award (2015); Physician-Scientist Award (2007); Career Development Award (2001)

Project: Retinal Ganglion Cell Replacement in Clinically Relevant Models of Optic Neuropathy (EY029893)

RPB-Supported Researchers:

  • Tonia Rex, PhD, Vanderbilt University Medical Center:  Career Development Award (2010)
  • Brian Samuels, MD, PhD, University of Alabama at Birmingham:  Physician-Scientist Award (2017)

In announcing the projects, NEI Director Paul A. Sieving, MD, PhD stated: “Models that recapitulate human disease are essential to predicting the success of new therapies in humans. These audacious projects will be pivotal in our efforts to translate the latest science advances into new treatments for vision loss and blindness.” 



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