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President's Report from ARVO 2014

Thomas M. Brunner
Thomas M. Brunner

Glaucoma Research Foundation President and CEO Thomas M. Brunner reports on the state of glaucoma research from the 2014 ARVO meeting that took place in Orlando, Florida.

Each year I attend the annual spring meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) to learn about the latest developments in glaucoma research, meet with our Catalyst for a Cure scientists, and meet with leading clinicians, scientists and industry representatives. This year was particularly rewarding as I was able to clearly see the impact of our Catalyst for a Cure (CFC) collaborative research programs.

Catalyst for a Cure Impacts Research Agenda


A major indicator was the new National Eye Institute (NEI) Audacious Goals Initiative which has now targeted saving or regenerating retinal ganglion cells and retinal imaging, the goals of our two CFC programs. In addition, NEI has specifically endorsed “cross functional groups” and collaboration as part of its new research strategy. In my opinion our CFC initiatives and their success have been factors in these changes.

NEI to Fund Imaging Research

The NEI Audacious Goals Initiative announced at ARVO that they will fund research on new imaging technologies that will enable research efforts toward achieving the goal of regenerating neurons and neural connections in the eye and visual system. Our CFC scientists will apply for grants under this program in addition to the support they receive from Glaucoma Research Foundation. Ben Barres, PhD, from Stanford is on the NEI Audacious Goals Working Group and is also a member of our CFC Scientific Advisory Board.

Neurodegeneration and Imaging Major Topics

Further evidence of the impact of research we fund includes several sessions on neuroprotection, neurodegeneration, axonal damage, microglia, and mitochondrial dysfunction as well as many posters on these topics. No doubt many of these terms are familiar from the presentations and reports of our CFC investigators. Two of our CFC scientists, David Calkins, PhD and Nick Marsh-Armstrong, PhD, were invited presenters at the meeting. In addition Nick co-chaired a session on neuroprotection.

The new CFC team was also well represented with several sessions on imaging and biomarkers for glaucoma. Alf Dubra, PhD presented on Adaptive Optics Imaging and was co-author on many poster presentations. Jeff Goldberg, MD, PhD presented on “Stem Cells to Retinal Ganglion Cells” and he and Vivek Srinivasan, PhD also had several posters at the meeting. Andy Huberman, PhD presented on “Retinal Image Motion.”

Meetings with Colleagues, Industry

During the meeting CFC scientist Jeff Goldberg and I met with industry representatives to discuss the Biomarker Initiative to determine if there may be interest in support for this research. I also met with our Board members, Scientific Advisors, industry colleagues and CEO’s of other non-profits in vision research.

It was a very busy week between meetings, attending papers, viewing posters, and visiting the technical exhibits and it was gratifying to see our many friends in the glaucoma field.
Article by Thomas M. Brunner, President and CEO of Glaucoma Research Foundation in San Francisco, California. Read more about Tom Brunner »

Last reviewed on October 29, 2017

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