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Eversight Awards 2024 Eye & Vision Research Grants

This year’s grants went to teams at Tufts University, Wayne State University and University of Michigan to advance promising eye and vision research.

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(PRESS RELEASE) CLEVELAND – The Eversight Center for Vision and Eye Banking Research has awarded four grants to investigators at Tufts University, Wayne State University and University of Michigan to advance promising eye and vision research.

Recipients were selected by an independent review panel of academic researchers and ophthalmologists led by Jonathan Lass, MD, Charles I. Thomas Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, Case Western Reserve University, and member of the Eversight Board of Directors and Medical Advisory Committee.

Proposals selected for funding will engage in meaningful scientific inquisition and align with Eversight’s mission to restore sight and prevent blindness through the healing power of donation, transplantation and research.

“The Eversight Center for Vision and Eye Banking Research proudly supports early-stage eye and vision research,” said Onkar B. Sawant, PhD, Vice President of Research & Development, Eversight. “The questions our awardees are asking today are pioneering research that gives hope to patients experiencing corneal transplant graft failure, ocular bacterial infection, age-related macular degeneration and corneal dystrophies. Their investigations may one day lead to improved vision care, disease treatment and prevention, making vision a reality for more people worldwide.”

Eversight has a robust research and development history and has awarded more than $4 million in grant funding to fuel scientific exploration in the field of vision science. Many of these projects have stimulated larger-scale studies and won further financial support from the National Institutes of Health.

2024 grant recipients and their proposals are:

 

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  • Pedram Hamrah, MD, Professor, Genetics, Molecular and Cellular Biology Program, Immunology Program, Neuroscience Program, Tufts University, is investigating the efficiency of local adoptive transfer of plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) in improving cornea graft survival in high-risk transplantation. This study will provide fundamental data on the role of pDCs in corneal transplantation for a future clinical trial and could lead to novel immune therapies for other corneal conditions and solid organ transplants.
  • Ashok Kumar, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Ophthalmology, Visual and Anatomical Sciences, Wayne State University, is investigating dual-acting nanoformulations for the treatment of ocular bacterial infections. Knowledge gained from this study could improve treatment for patients with ocular bacterial infections that often result in partial or complete vision loss despite current antibiotic and surgical interventions.
  • Jason Miller, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of Michigan, is investigating the pathoetiology of extracellular retinal deposits that cause irreversible blindness in patients with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) by defining the mechanism and composition of retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) lipoprotein secretion. Better understanding the fats involved in RPE lipoprotein particles will inform which pathways in the cell could be targeted therapeutically to  prevent buildup of toxic retinal deposits that cause AMD.
  • Lev Prasov, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor, Departments of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences and Human Genetics, University of Michigan, is investigating optimal vectors and methods for delivering gene base editing reagents to treat corneal dystrophies caused by TGFBI gene mutations. An eventual gene therapy could prevent vision loss and reduce the need for corneal transplantation in patients with corneal dystrophy.

Applications for the 2025 Eversight Eye & Vision Research Grant program cycle will be accepted Summer of 2024. Learn more at eversightvision.org/grants

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