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Mass. Eye and Ear researcher among winners of competition for Audacious ideas in research
Date:2/11/2013

Boston (Feb. 11, 2013) -- Massachusetts Eye and Ear ophthalmologist and eye researcher Janey L. Wiggs, M.D., Ph.D., Associate Chief of Ophthalmology Clinical Research and Associate Director of the Ocular Genomics Institute at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary/Harvard Medical School, is one of 10 winners of the National Eye Institute's Audacious Goals challenge. The challenge was a nationwide competition that invited compelling ideas to advance vision science, and garnered a pool of nearly 500 entries. Each winner receives a $3,000 prize plus travel expenses to attend the NEI Audacious Goals Development Meeting, Feb. 24-26, 2013, at the Bolger Conference Center in Potomac, Md. The National Eye Institute (NEI) is a branch of the federal National Institutes of Health.

Dr. Wiggs is the Harvard Medical School (HMS) Paul A. Chandler Associate Professor of Ophthalmology and a resident of Lexington, Mass.

Dr. Wiggs' winning submission, entitled "Vision BioBank A Network of Ocular Phenotyping Centers Using Genomic and Epidemiologic Data to Promote Personalized Ophthalmology," proposes to create a network of biobanks that collect corresponding phenotype (physical characteristics) and genotype (genetic) data on people with certain eye diseases. These biobanks could be used for a wide range of studies, including the development of sensitive and specific gene tests that could accurately determine a person's risk for such diseases, as well as their likely response to certain therapies.

"It would be fantastic if sensitive and specific gene tests could be used to accurately determine disease risk and therapeutic response for common, complex, blinding diseases such as glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and uveitis. Imagine that an eye exam begins with a report listing disease risks and effective therapies for each patient," said Dr. Wiggs. "Ultimately, it will be possible to identify patients at risk for blinding di
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Contact: Mary Leach
mary_leach@meei.harvard.edu
617-573-4170
Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary
Source:Eurekalert

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