Award Funds Blindness Research at UR Eye Institute

June 20, 2003

David J. Calkins, Ph.D., of the University of Rochester Eye Institute has been granted a $55,000 RPB Lew R. Wasserman Merit Award by Research to Prevent Blindness. Established in 1995, the RPB Lew R. Wasserman Merit Awards provide unrestricted support to scientists who are actively engaged in eye research at medical institutions in the United States.

Calkins is one of 69 scientists at 34 institutions to be honored with the award.

His laboratory work focuses on understanding the genetic and molecular mechanisms that cause glaucoma, a disease that causes blindness by killing the fibers of the optic nerve. He has developed a set of tools that allows his team to visualize how glaucoma damages individual cells in the retina of the eye.

"I look forward to using the award to expand my laboratory's efforts at using new genomics technology to develop therapeutic interventions for glaucoma," Calkins says.

Calkins is an associate professor in the departments of Ophthalmology, Neurobiology and Anatomy, Neurology, and the Center for Visual Sciences at the University of Rochester. He also is director of both the DeStephano Laboratory for Retinal Genomics and the Electron Microscopy Imaging Core Facility.

Research to Prevent Blindness is the world's leading voluntary organization supporting eye research. Since it was founded in 1960, RPB has channeled hundreds of millions of dollars to medical institutions throughout the United States for research related to all blinding eye diseases.

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