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Glaucoma Research Foundation Announces $720,000 in Annual Research Grants

The Catalyst for a Cure researchers
The Catalyst for a Cure researchers

The announcement during World Glaucoma Week emphasizes the need to find better treatments and a cure for this disease that affects more than 60 million people.

March 12, 2018, San Francisco, CA — Glaucoma Research Foundation (GRF) announced today $720,000 in annual research grants to support 12 investigators at prestigious universities across the United States. Glaucoma Research Foundation is funding eight researchers at prominent medical research centers with one-year Shaffer Grants, in addition to four principal investigators engaged in the multi-year “Catalyst for a Cure” consortium.

GRF is awarding $100,000 to each of the Catalyst for a Cure researchers to continue their investigations toward identifying and testing specific biomarkers for glaucoma using advanced optical imaging technologies. Shaffer Grants in the amount of $40,000 each will be awarded to eight individual grant recipients to support innovative research into causes and potential new treatment targets for glaucoma. This investment continues Glaucoma Research Foundation’s status as one of the nation’s preeminent private sources of funding for innovative and collaborative glaucoma research.

“Glaucoma Research Foundation invests in essential research to discover exactly how glaucoma causes vision loss, and to find ways to both prevent and potentially restore vision,” said Thomas M. Brunner, GRF President and CEO. “2018 is our 40th anniversary, and to date we have invested more than $60 million in innovative research and education. Our 2018 research grants are continuing that progress toward a cure and advancing our critical mission.” he said.

Catalyst for a Cure Researchers Testing New Glaucoma Biomarkers

The Catalyst for a Cure consortium is a team of four principal investigators and their laboratories working collaboratively. This year $100,000 is being awarded to each researcher to support further clinical testing of new biomarkers and their role in the development of new candidate therapies for glaucoma.

The four investigators are Alfredo Dubra, PhD, Associate Professor of Ophthalmology, Stanford University School of Medicine; Jeffrey L. Goldberg, MD, PhD, Professor and Chair, Department of Ophthalmology, Stanford University School of Medicine; Andrew Huberman, PhD, Associate Professor, Departments of Neurobiology and Ophthalmology, Stanford University School of Medicine; and Vivek Srinivasan, PhD, Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of California, Davis.

The Catalyst for a Cure (CFC) team has already identified several specific new biomarkers for glaucoma. This year, the CFC researchers are working together to test these new potential biomarkers in clinical trials with glaucoma patients. This will be an important step toward validating the efficacy of each potential biomarker for clinical and research applications.

The 2018 Shaffer Grants for Innovative Glaucoma Research

GRF’s 2018 research grants to explore new ideas are made possible through generous philanthropic support including leadership gifts from the Frank Stein and Paul S. May Grants for Innovative Glaucoma Research, the Dr. Henry A. Sutro Family Grant for Research, Dr. James and Elizabeth Wise, The Dr. Miriam Yelsky Memorial Research Grant, Roberta and Robert H. Feldman, Edward Joseph Daly Foundation, and the R. David Sudarsky Charitable Testamentary Trust. GRF’s Shaffer Grant Advisory Committee evaluates grant applications and determines the most promising projects for Glaucoma Research Foundation to fund each year.

The following 2018 Shaffer Grants will be awarded at $40,000 each:

Monica M. Jablonski, PhD
University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, TN
Project: Extended Release IOP-Lowering Formulation

Mary J. Kelley, PhD
Oregon Health & Sciences University, Portland, OR
Project: Trabecular Meshwork Stem Cells and the Identification of the Laser Factor

David Krizaj, PhD
University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT
Project: Regulation of Tensile Homeostasis in the Trabecular Meshwork

Yvonne Ou, MD
University of California, San Francisco, CA
Project: Ganglion Cell Dysfunction in Glaucoma

Padmanabhan Pattabiraman, PhD
Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH
Project: Anti-fibrogenic Matricellular Protein CCN1 as a Novel Therapeutic Target to Lower Intraocular Pressure

Giuliano Scarcelli, PhD
University of Maryland, College Park, MD
Project: Noncontact Mechanical Mapping of the Optical Nerve Head with Brillouin Microscopy

Dorota Skowronska-Krawczyk, PhD
University of California, San Diego, CA
Project: Eliminate to Protect

Trent A. Watkins, PhD
Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX
Project: Elucidating the Dynamics of the Neuronal Stress Response in Driving the Death of Retinal Ganglion Cells

About World Glaucoma Week

Established by the World Glaucoma Association and World Glaucoma Patient Association, World Glaucoma Week is designed to inspire a series of global activities that alert people to have regular comprehensive eye exams to detect glaucoma earlier, thus contributing to sight preservation. Experts estimate that half of the people with glaucoma are unaware of their condition and could be slowly losing their sight because their glaucoma has not been diagnosed or treated. 2018 marks the 10th year of observance for World Glaucoma Week.

About Glaucoma Research Foundation

Founded in 1978 and headquartered in San Francisco, Glaucoma Research Foundation is America’s oldest and most experienced nonprofit dedicated solely to its mission: to prevent vision loss from glaucoma by investing in innovative research, education and support with the ultimate goal of finding a cure. Glaucoma Research Foundation has invested more than $60 million into research and education to prevent vision loss from glaucoma.

Last reviewed on March 19, 2018

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