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Winner Named for ICO-Allergan Research Fellowship

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(PRESS RELEASE) DUBLIN, IRELAND –  The International Council of Ophthalmology (ICO) and Allergan announce that Dr. Emilio de Almeida Torres Netto of Brazil has been selected as the winner of the ICO-Allergan Advanced Research Fellowship following a unanimous decision by a world leading panel of judges.

Torres Netto will receive $50,000 to support his ongoing research looking at factors modulating the biomechanics of corneal tissue.  Specifically, he is looking at three areas that may improve current crosslinking (CXL) technology – the gold standard to treat ectatic corneal diseases– aiming to produce more effective and safer treatments. These areas include tissue oxygenation and temperature, new CXL treatments assisted by iontophoresis, and the effect of heavy, repetitive eye rubbing on corneal biomechanics.

Torres Netto said: “As a specialist in cornea, cataract and refractive surgery, I am delighted to be able to continue my research in the areas of keratoconus and corneal crosslinking and build on my previous learnings. A major focus of my research will be on the early detection and treatment of keratoconus in children and adolescents, which is a major cause of visual impairment in young people. I hope to explore ways that current corneal crosslinking technology can be improved and work towards making these treatment protocols safer and more effective for patients.”

The fellowship – launched in 2017 – supports innovative research that advances the scientific understanding and clinical management of ophthalmic diseases worldwide. As part of this initiative, the ICO and Allergan are supporting a second one-year research fellowship to the value of $50,000.

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 “We are excited to announce the research fellowship is going into its second year,” said Dr. Berthold Seitz, director of fellowships at ICO. “Working with the ophthalmic community is central to our aim at the ICO and we are proud to support forward thinking research and talent within the professional community. Our inaugural winner demonstrated what our leading panel of judges is looking for in the recipient of this fellowship – innovation and excellence in translational science.”

The 2018-19 fellowship is open to ophthalmologists, offering them an opportunity to continue their research at a chosen university, and applications will be accepted from subspecialties including: cornea, dry eye, glaucoma, neuro-ophthalmology, retina, tumours and uveitis. Applications for the 2018-19 fellowship will close on Jan. 15, 2019.

Yana Ignatova, senior vice president, head of international strategic marketing, international commercial at Allergan, said: “We believe that supporting ophthalmologists at the forefront of research is vital to improving how eye diseases are understood and managed by the clinical community. We are proud to offer this support for a second year in partnership with the ICO, who shares our commitment to innovation and research, and we are looking forward to seeing the inspiring applications from this year’s cohort.”

Applicants will need to submit the following items with their applications: copy of specialist exam, detailed CV, description of previous work in the field of the application, endorsement of the current program director, detailed description of how research work should be continued, feasibility confirmation of chosen host university, and a sustainability statement. More information about the initiative and how to apply can be found here

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