Research to Prevent Blindness

Vision Research Funding Partnership Event Takes Place Today

Leaders of organizations that fund vision research convene in Washington, D.C. to increase collaboration and maximize the impact of research funding for sight-threatening diseases.

Washington, D.C. – March 26, 2024
– Today, Research to Prevent Blindness (RPB) and more than 35 other organizations are convening in Washington DC for the Vision Research Funding Partnership event. This high-level meeting brings together leaders of organizations that fund vision research to think collectively about how to best support scientific research related to vision and the eye. While the organizations represent a variety of sectors (non-profit/foundation, pharmaceutical industry, government), they all have a common goal to eradicate and treat eye diseases through scientific research. The event is hosted annually by RPB and is now in its ninth year.

 This year’s event is organized around the theme of “Pushing Boundaries: Advancements That Are Changing the Field.” Attendees will participate in discussions, education and small group activities designed to increase collaboration across the vision research field and maximize the impact of funding in this area.

 “Vision scientists are leading the way in important new areas of scientific and medical research and we as a field need to pave the way for this critical work to continue,” said Brian Hofland, PhD, President of Research to Prevent Blindness. “By working together across sectors, we can increase our impact and reach the ultimate goal more effectively—helping people maintain their sight.” 

The day will include sessions on:

The Use of The Human Eye in Research, with presentations by:

  • Calvin Roberts, MD, Program Manager ARPA-H and President, CEO, Lighthouse Guild;
  • Anne Hanneken, MD, Associate Professor of Molecular Medicine, Scripps Research;
  • Robert Nickells, PhD, Frederick A. Davis Chair of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences Professor, McPherson Eye Research Institute, University of Wisconsin-Madison;

and moderation by Patrice E. Fort, PhD, MS, Associate Professor, Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of Michigan.

Patient Access to Research and Care, with a panel discussion featuring:

  • Kira Baldonado, MPH, Vice President, Public Health and Policy, Prevent Blindness;
  • Randy Craven, MD, FACS, Medical Director, Glaucoma, AbbVie;
  • Robert Levine, MD, Chairman, Mary Tyler Moore Vision Initiative;

and moderation by Thomas Brunner, President & CEO, Glaucoma Research Foundation.

Base Editing/Gene Editing, with a presentation by:

  • Samuel Du, Graduate Student in the Palczewski Laboratory at University of California, Irvine – School of Medicine,

and moderation by Daniel Jones, PhD, Vice President, US Medical Affairs, Apellis Pharmaceuticals.

Pushing Boundaries through Data Science, with a presentation by:

  • Michael Chiang, MD, Director, National Eye Institute (NEI)

and moderation by Joel Schuman, MD, FACS, Professor of Ophthalmology and Biomedical Engineering, Wills Eye Hospital.

A Collaboration Forum, where participants talk about ongoing partnerships within the vision field, featuring presentations by:

  • Lauren Palestrini, PhD, Chief Science Officer, MTEC;
  • Sheila Hickson-Curran, MCOptom, FAAO, Medical Affairs Leader;
  • Jason Eckert, Vice President and COO, VisionServe Alliance;
  • Aaron Nicholls, Research Scientist at Reality Labs Research;
  • Matthew Levine, Director of Grants, Partnerships, Advocacy for American Macular Degeneration Foundation and Virginie Delwart, MA, MIA, EMT, Director, Patient Advocacy, Regeneron;

and moderation by Georgea Pasedis, PharmD., RPh, Senior Vice President, Head of Global Medical Affairs, Dompé.

Interdisciplinary Science; Advancing Neuroscience, with a presentation by:

  • Bryan Jones, PhD, Associate Professor of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences, Neuroscience Program, University of Utah,

and moderation by Diane Bovenkamp, PhD, Vice President of Scientific Affairs, BrightFocus Foundation.

Federal Funding Update: The 2024/2025 Outlook for Vision Research, with a presentation by:

  • Dan Ignaszewski, Executive Director, NAEVR/AEVR,

and moderation by Rajesh Rajpal, MD, Chief Medical Officer and Global Head of Clinical and Medical Affairs, Johnson & Johnson Vision.

RPB thanks the generous co-sponsors of the Vision Research Funding Partnership for making this event possible.

convening sign



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