Our mission is to serve as the catalyst for vision research, and our
highest priority is to foster interactive, interdisciplinary, and translational
studies of how the visual system functions in health and disease.

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AMD Research Grant Awards
December, 2014

Two McPherson ERI members from the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences were the recent recipients of $25,000 grant awards from the James Christensen Estate Macular Degeneration Research Fund. The fund, established by a generous estate gift, was created to support research on age-related macular degeneration on campus. Year-long funding will advance AMD research by Dr. Aparna Lakkaraju (Repurposing FDA-approved drugs as therapeutics for age-related macular degeneration) and Dr. Julie Mares (Influence of lifelong dietary plant pigments on their density in the macula and vision function, pilot studies). Drs. Lakkaraju and Mares received their awards after a joint competition open to all McPherson ERI members as well as DOVS faculty.

Metabolism Research in AMD Grant Award
October, 2014

Drs. David Gamm (Director, McPherson Eye Research Institute), Brad Schwartz (CEO, Morgridge Institute for Research), and Terri Young (Chair, Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences) are pleased to announce the recipient of a $25,000 grant award for Metabolism Research in Age-Related Macular Degeneration. This pilot award was partially funded by the James Christenson Estate Macular Degeneration Research Fund, and extended with generous additional funding by the Morgridge Institute for Research in order to advance its new metabolism focus. This grant opportunity initiates a new campus partnership advancing research and collaborative efforts, and it is hoped will foster further campus connections.

Assistant Professor Lian-Wang Guo (Department of Surgery) will receive year-long funding (November 2014 through October 2015) to advance his project, Assessment of the Sigma-1 receptor as a therapeutic target for protection against retinal pigment epithelial cell degeneration. Dr. Guo seeks to develop the Sigma-1 receptor as a new target that may be important for mitochondrial metabolism. The Sigma-1 receptor is a druggable chaperone protein, which is located between the mitochondria and endoplasmic reticulum, required to maintain normal mitochondrial function. There is considerable support for the idea that progressive deterioration of the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) originates in dysfunctional mitochondria, leading to ROS and oxidative damage.

Hilldale Research Fellowship Awards
Fall, 2014

We are pleased to announce Anna-Lisa Doebley as the recipient of the 2014-2015 McPherson ERI-sponsored Hilldale Undergraduate/Faculty Research Fellowship. This award provides a grant of $3,000 to the student and $500 to the faculty collaborator. Under the mentorship of Dr. Aki Ikeda (Medical Genetics) Ms. Doebley will be exploring, The role of TMEM135 in cellular stress response. The Ikeda lab has found that mice with a mutation in transmembrane protein 135 show early-onset age related macular degeneration and increased susceptibility to oxidative stress; Anna-Lisa is working to discern the molecular mechanisms that make TMEM135 an important factor in protecting cells from stress, ultimately leading to a better understanding of retinal degeneration. This fund was created as the result of funds raised through McPherson ERI's Annual Cycle for Sight Fundraiser.

Walsh Research Travel Awards
January, 2014

The spring 2014 McPherson ERI/David G. Walsh Research Travel Awards, which provide funds for graduate students to attend research conferences in order to present vision-related work have been announced; recipients will also speak in the McPherson ERI seminar series in spring 2015.

  • Catherine (Taddy) Fick (Comparative Ocular Pathology Laboratory, School of Veterinary Medicine; Dick Dubielzig, mentor) will attend the May 2014 meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO). Her poster presentation is entitled, A comparison of short ciliary arteries in normal and glaucomatous dogs.
  • Li Xuan Tan (Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, SMPH; Aparna Lakkaraju, mentor) will attend the 2014 meeting of the American Society for Cell Biology in December. Her poster presentation is entitled, Novel regulators of the lysosome-autophagy axis in the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE).

2014 Hilldale Research Fellowship Awards
January, 2014

We are pleased to announce that the McPherson ERI will sponsor a Hilldale Undergraduate / Faculty Research Fellowship in 2014. The MERI Leadership Committee initiated this undergraduate support opportunity to advance vision-related research on campus. Funds for this fellowship derive from the MERI's Annual Cycle for Sight Fundraiser.

MERI 2014 Calendar
January, 2014

The new MERI calendar is out! The calendar highlights MERI research over the past year, 2013, with beautiful images supplied by MERI research labs.

MERI 2014 Calendar Research and Images