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Young eye researchers receive prestigious ARVO-AFER/Merck award

Rockville MD Four researchers under age 45 have been named as recipients of the 2009 ARVO-AFER/Merck Innovative Ophthalmology Research Award (IORA) for their work in glaucoma and back-of-the-eye diseases. The awards are worth a total of $70,000 for the researchers and their laboratories.

The IORA made possible by a generous grant from Merck & Co. to the ARVO Foundation for Eye Research recognizes outstanding young researchers under 45 every other year. The award encourages scientists to undertake investigative work in critical areas of ophthalmology that could lead to meaningful improvements to patients' lives.

First- and second-place awards are presented for each of the two categories. This cycle's recipients are:

First Place - Glaucoma
Mike Karl, MD (University of Washington)
Submission: Stimulation of Neural Regeneration in the Mouse Retina

First Place - Back-of-the-eye diseases
Chung-Jung Chiu, PhD (Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University)
Submission: Diet, Supplement and Risk of Age-related Macular Degeneration in the Age-Related Eye Disease Study

Second Place - Glaucoma
Wolf Lagreze, MD (University Eye Hospital, Freiburg, Germany)
Retrobulbar Optic Nerve Diameter Measured By High Speed Magnetic Resonance Imaging as a Biomarker for Axonal Loss in Glaucomatous Optic Atrophy

Second Place - Back-of-the-eye diseases
Hyun Woong Kim, MD, PhD (Injje University College of Medicine, South Korea)
Submission: Effect of Enalapril on the Expression of Angiogenic Factors in Diabetes-induced Retinopathy in Rats

Mike Karl, the glaucoma first place recipient, said: "It's great to receive this honor as a postdoctoral student, and a great reason to thank and celebrate with the lab, colleagues, friends, and past and current mentors."

"If there is any reason other than luck for my win, one of the most important reasons must be because I have many great mentors," commented Chung-Jung Chiu, who received the first-place aware in the Back of the Eye Diseases category.

The IORA was originally Merck's Chibret Award, created in 1982 to honor French ophthalmologist Dr. Paul Chibret. More than 50 scientists have since received the award.

The ARVO Foundation for Eye Research will recognize the 2009 IORA recipients in conjunction with the ARVO 2009 Annual Meeting, which takes place in Fort Lauderdale, FL, May 3-7.


Contact: Jessie Williams
Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology

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