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Macular Degeneration Research Gets $11.5M Boost at University of Michigan

The goal is “to launch a pioneering research initiative.”

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An $11.5 million gift will find research on age-related macular degeneration at University of Michigan Health’s W.K. Kellogg Eye Center.

James Grosfeld, an investor, philanthropist and the former chairman and CEO of PulteGroup, Inc., has made the gift “to launch a pioneering research initiative,” according to a press release from Michigan Medicine. The effort “represents one of the largest investments of talent and resources in the country targeted at developing effective treatments for dry AMD.”

“I am inspired by the passion, the commitment, and the ideas of the Kellogg Eye Center team,” Grosfeld said. “Increasing the speed and the breadth of discovery in dry AMD can make a significant difference in people’s lives.”

“It was a privilege to share with Mr. Grosfeld what a transformational investment in dry AMD research could mean and we are very grateful for his enthusiasm, his generosity and the belief he has placed in us,” said Paul P. Lee, MD, JD, the F. Bruce Fralick Professor and chair of the U-M Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences and director of the Kellogg Eye Center.

Jason M. Miller, MD, PhD, a physician-scientist who specializes in retinal diseases and dry AMD research, has been named the James Grosfeld Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences and will direct the initiative.

“I came to the Kellogg Eye Center to build a laboratory program for dry AMD, which impacts so many people,” Miller said. “We have made several discoveries that have given us a clear direction toward potential treatments. At the same time, we have been building partnerships that will both accelerate our work and enable us to translate our efforts into clinical applications.”

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The gift will support:

  • The establishment of two endowed professorships focused on dry AMD research
  • Increased laboratory staffing to increase the pace of research
  • Collaborative grants that will link dry AMD investigators with other experts at the Kellogg Eye Center and across U-M to bring new techniques and approaches to bear on the disease
  • A pluripotent stem cell facility to create cells for use in dry AMD-related research across disciplines
  • Innovations in clinical research, including the collation of ophthalmic images to advance clinicians’ ability to track dry AMD progression
  • Pilot funding for proof-of-concept experiments and research grants for trainees who seek to bring new ideas and perspectives to dry AMD research

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