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Research to Prevent Blindness

RPB and Association of University Professors of Ophthalmology Announce 2023 Recipient of RPB David F. Weeks Award for Outstanding Vision Research

SAN FRANCISCO, CA and NEW YORK, NY, August 8–David J. Calkins, PhD, has been selected as the 2023 RPB David F. Weeks Award for Outstanding Vision Research (Weeks Award). The Weeks Award, funded through the generosity of Research to Prevent Blindness (RPB), an anonymous donor, and the Association of University Professors of Ophthalmology (AUPO), annually recognizes and celebrates an excellent vision researcher. The award carries the name of David F. Weeks, former President and Chairman of RPB, in honor of his contributions to the field of vision research. Dr. Calkins will receive his award and deliver a presentation during the AUPO 2023 Annual Meeting in San Diego, California in January.

Dr. Calkins is the Denis M. O’Day Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, the Vice Chairman and Director of the Vanderbilt Eye Institute, Director of the Vanderbilt University Vision Research Center, and the Assistant Vice President for Research at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center. “If ever the Weeks Award were to recognize scientists who brought blinding eye diseases into the realm of central nervous diseases, like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s, Dr. Calkins would have to be the first in line. Truly unique among his peer group, Dr. Calkins epitomizes what we desire in a scientific leader” said Paul Sternberg, Jr., MD, Chair of the Vanderbilt Eye Institute.

AUPO President, Joan Miller, MD, shared: “Dr. Calkins is a trailblazer in elucidating the pathogenesis of glaucoma as a neurodegeneration, recognizing the primary role of axonal dysfunction, and demonstrating the effectiveness of neuroprotection.  His work holds promise for improved therapies for patients with this blinding disease, and he is a very worthy recipient of the RPB David F. Weeks Award.” 

“David Weeks, the former President and Chairman of RPB, was committed to excellence in everything he did,” said Brian F. Hofland, PhD, President of Research to Prevent Blindness. “Sadly, Mr. Weeks passed away in 2021, but his commitment to eradicating sight-threatening conditions, and his belief that excellent research was the best means to do so, lives on in the choice of Dr. David Calkins for the 2023 RPB David F. Weeks Award for Outstanding Vision Research. We congratulate Dr. Calkins on this award and are grateful for all that he has done, and will continue to do, to advance novel glaucoma research.”

For more information on the RPB David F. Weeks Award for Outstanding Vision Research, visit the AUPO 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 $397 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 62 years. Learn more at www.rpbusa.org.

About Association of University Professors of Ophthalmology

The Association of University Professors of Ophthalmology (AUPO) was founded in 1966 as a nonprofit organization dedicated to research and education. AUPO is the voice of academic ophthalmology through the promotion of medical education, research, and patient care in ophthalmology, and accomplished by providing a forum for discussion of mutual issues facing departments/divisions of ophthalmology in the United States and Canada. For more information, visit aupo.org.

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