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

sease and employ effective therapeutic strategies before irreversible vision loss occurs, making it possible to maintain lifelong useful sight."

Joan W. Miller, MD, FARVO, Chair of the Department of Ophthalmology and Chief of Ophthalmology at Mass. Eye and Ear and Mass General Hospital, agreed. "Dr. Wiggs' multi-institutional 'Vision BioBank' directly addresses the next critical phase in the patient care revolution that is, to develop a broad, deep and robust repository of patient population data so researchers around the globe can more effectively unravel genotype-phenotype connections. With this data in hand, we can more rapidly identify target pathways and develop pharmacologic therapies that mitigate or reverse the progression of disease."

John Fernandez, Mass. Eye and Ear President and CEO offered, "It's gratifying to see Dr. Wiggs among the NEI's Audacious Goals winners. The honor speaks to her vision as a researcher and dedication to improving treatment and care for patients with eye diseases, not only at Mass. Eye and Ear, but also around the world. Dr. Wiggs is one of many visionary researchers at Mass. Eye and Ear working to harness the power of genetic research to move us closer to our goal of curing blinding diseases."

A graduate of the Mass. Eye and Ear/Harvard Medical School 2011 ophthalmology residency program, Rajesh Rao, M.D., Ph.D., was also among the 10 selected, for his proposal "An Audacious Goal: Reprogramming the Retina." The objective of his project would be to directly reprogram easy-to-isolate skin or blood cells to retinal cells using gene therapy and other techniques to enable repair strategies for degenerative retinal diseases. Dr. Rao is the youngest recipient and only trainee to be selected an Audacious Goals winner. He is currently a vitreoretinal fellow at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and The Retina Institute, St. Louis, Mo.

"The Audacious Goals initiative was born out
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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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