Published: Jan. 5, 2011
Updated: Jan. 5, 2011
Reporters & producers can visit Duke Medicine News and Communications for contact information.
A grant of $100,000 to the Department of Ophthalmology at Duke University School of Medicine will support research into the causes, treatment, and prevention of blinding eye diseases.
The research will be directed by David L. Epstein, MD, chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology.
“This grant helps Duke Eye Center to further its goal of curing blinding diseases. Without RPB’s contributions, this goal would essentially be unattainable -- these funds provide hope to millions of people around the world with debilitating eye diseases. We can’t thank them enough for their support over the years,” Epstein says.
RPB also awarded a $60,000 Physician-Scientist Award to Cynthia A. Toth, MD. Toth is one of 46 physician-scientists at 24 institutions who have received the award since it was established in 2000.
Toth has identified macular edema in the retina of many premature infants with retinopathy of prematurity (ROP).
She now wishes to study how this macular finding relates to the ROP disease process and the systemic health of premature infants. Her long-term goals are to identify whether this is a marker for a specific phase of ROP activity, and whether macular edema in infancy has an impact on vision development.
“Dr. Toth has the dedication, skill and research infrastructure in place to study these important questions, which will be enabled by RPB’s generous support,” Epstein says.
A $30,000 RPB Medical Student Eye Research Fellowship will enable Wenlan Zhang to take a year off from medical school to pursue a research project within the Department of Ophthalmology.
Zhang will conduct research with Dr. Catherine Bowes Rickman, studying genetic polymorphisms in age-related macular degeneration. This important RPB program will greatly augment Zhang’s research experience and prepare her for a successful career in academic ophthalmology.
RPB is the world’s leading voluntary organization supporting eye research. Since it was founded in 1960, RPB has channeled hundreds of millions of dollars to medical institutions for research into the causes, treatment and prevention of blinding eye diseases.
For information on RPB, RPB-funded research, eye disorders, and the RPB Grants Program, go to www.rpbusa.org.