Research to Prevent Blindness

Grant from Research to Prevent Blindness and Castle Biosciences Supports Medical Student Research in Ocular Cancer

NEW YORK and FRIENDSWOOD, TX – May 20, 2022 – Research to Prevent Blindness (RPB) and Castle Biosciences today announced that they are partnering to increase opportunities for medical students to gain research experiences, specifically in the field of ocular cancer. Ocular cancers, such as uveal melanoma (UM), are rare, affecting approximately 2,000 people per year in the U.S., but can be particularly devastating in terms of their effect on sight and on overall health. For these reasons, it is important to incentivize new research in this area and to bring new talent into the ocular cancer field.

RPB and Castle Biosciences are providing funding for the RPB / Castle Biosciences Medical Student Eye Research Fellowship in Ocular Cancer, which allows medical students to take a year off from medical school to devote time to the pursuit of a research project within an RPB-supported department of ophthalmology (see list at end of document). The award application is now open; nomination forms are due June 15, 2022, and applications are due July 1, 2022.

“Effective treatment options are critical because, while not common, ocular cancer has such profoundly negative effects. We are so pleased to partner with Castle Biosciences to bring new talent into this area of research,” said Brian F. Hofland, PhD, president of Research to Prevent Blindness. “Not only will medical student researchers be conducting high quality, meaningful ocular cancer research under the guidance of a senior scientist—therefore leading to opportunities for new knowledge in this area—they will gain invaluable experience and skills that they will take with them into their future careers.”

In 2022, the RPB/Castle Biosciences Medical Student Eye Research Fellowship in Ocular Cancer will award one fellowship to a medical student focusing on a research project related to ocular cancer. The fellowship, which must take place prior to the student’s third or fourth year of medical school, will be funded for one year with a $30,000 grant that will provide financial support in furtherance of the recipient's ocular cancer research activities.

“As a company founded on the desire to improve care for patients impacted by cancers with unmet clinical need, like uveal melanoma, this research fellowship is particularly meaningful to us at Castle,” said Derek Maetzold, president and chief executive officer of Castle Biosciences. “While the types of cancers that our diagnostic tests address have expanded over the years, our commitment to patients, research and innovation has remained the same, which is why we are proud to partner with RPB to offer this grant to a deserving student interested in making a difference in the field of ocular cancer.”

The ophthalmology departments (by state) that are eligible to nominate students for this award are located at the following medical schools:


  • David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles
  • Stanford University School of Medicine
  • University of California, Irvine, School of Medicine
  • University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine


  • University of Colorado School of Medicine


  • University of Miami Miller School of Medicine


  • Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine


  • Indiana University


  • University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine


  • Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine


  • Harvard Medical School


  • The Regents of the University of Michigan School of Medicine
  • Wayne State University School of Medicine


  • Washington University in Saint Louis School of Medicine

New York

  • Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
  • University of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry
  • SUNY Upstate Medical University
  • Weill Cornell Medical College
  • New York University Langone Eye Center

North Carolina

  • Duke University School of Medicine


  • Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of CWRU


  • University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center


  • Oregon Health & Science University School of Medicine


  • University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
  • University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine


  • Vanderbilt University School of Medicine


  • Baylor College of Medicine


  • University of Utah Health Sciences Center


  • University of Washington School of Medicine


  • University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine & Public Health

For more information on this award, visit the RPB website.

About Research to Prevent Blindness 

Research to Prevent Blindness (RPB) is the leading nonprofit organization supporting eye research directed at the prevention, treatment or eradication of all diseases that damage and destroy sight. As part of this purview, RPB also supports efforts to grow and sustain a robust and diverse vision research community. Since it was founded in 1960 by Dr. Jules Stein, RPB has awarded more than $393 million in research grants to the most talented vision scientists at the nation’s leading medical schools. As a result, RPB has been associated with nearly every major breakthrough in the understanding and treatment of vision loss in the past 60+ years. Learn more at

About Castle Biosciences

Castle Biosciences (Nasdaq: CSTL) is a leading diagnostics company improving health through innovative tests that guide patient care. The Company aims to transform disease management by keeping people first: patients, clinicians, employees and investors. 

Castle’s current portfolio consists of tests for skin cancers, uveal melanoma, Barrett’s esophagus and mental health conditions.

DecisionDx-UM is Castle’s 15-gene expression profile (GEP) test that uses an individual patient’s tumor biology to predict individual risk of metastasis. DecisionDx-UM is the standard of care in the management of uveal melanoma in the majority of ocular oncology practices in the United States.

Additionally, the Company has active research and development programs for tests in other diseases with high clinical need, including its test in development to predict systemic therapy response in patients with moderate-to-severe psoriasis, atopic dermatitis and related conditions. To learn more, please visit and connect with us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.



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