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BrightFocus honors 5 vision researchers
Date:5/5/2014

Orlando, FLThe BrightFocus Foundation today honored five outstanding scientists in the fields of macular degeneration and glaucoma, presenting them with named research awards at an event during the annual meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology.

"Each year we give these awards in recognition of the most promising and forward-thinking ideas in the fields of glaucoma and macular degeneration research," said Stacy Pagos Haller, BrightFocus President and CEO. "These special grant awards are funded in honor of exceptional people who fought these diseases and wanted to support outstanding researchers."

Today's honorees come from five statesCalifornia, Florida, Maryland, Michigan, and Texas and are among 30 scientists offered a total of $3.5 million in BrightFocus grant awards this year to fight vision diseases.

Macular Degeneration Awards

Three of the awardees are studying macular degeneration, a disease that causes deterioration of the retina and can interfere with clear central vision. They are:

  • Debra Thompson, PhD, University of Michigan. Thompson is looking at special proteins that may help control inflammatory responses in the retina. This could help prevent the presence of low grade inflammation that can cause retinal damage over long periods of time. She receives $120,000 with the Elizabeth Anderson Award for Macular Degeneration Research, honoring the memory of the beloved late wife of a BrightFocus Scientific Review Committee member, Dr. Robert Anderson. Elizabeth was dedicated to helping young scientists in vision research.

  • Debasish Sinha, PhD, Johns Hopkins University. Sinha is working to understand how the disruption of certain processesknown as autophagy and phagocytosisactivates the immune system in retinal pigmented epithelium (RPE) cells, which can lead to some manifestations of macular degeneration. Sinha's team has developed genetic tools to he
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Contact: Alice L. Kirkman
akirkman@brightfocus.org
240-778-5563
AHAF-American Health Assistance Foundation
Source:Eurekalert

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