Scientists in a field investigating (cover of 2018 annual report)

Gaining critical knowledge about the science and art
of vision and applying it to the prevention of blindness


Summer at the McPherson ERI!

Read about new recipients of the Kenzi Valentyn Vision Research Trainee Grants and the McPherson ERI/David G. Walsh Research Travel Awards, and visit our summer show, Photography Mimics Vision, in the Mandelbaum & Albert Family Vision Gallery (up through September 6th).   There’s always something happening at the McPherson ERI!

Novel Imaging Tech Brings Together Madison, Milwaukee Vision Researchers

The Morgridge Institute for Research recently highlighted a collaboration between two McPherson ERI vision scientists, Melissa Skala at UW-Madison and Joseph Carroll at Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee.  Read more about both scientists in McPherson ERI’s Insights – Melissa Scala from Summer 2017, Joseph Carroll from Spring 2019.

Congratulations to the Retina Research Foundation for 50 Years of Achievement!

The McPherson ERI and UW-Madison congratulate the Retina Research Foundation on its 50th Anniversary.  RRF was founded by Dr. Alice McPherson in Houston in October 1969, with the mission to reduce retinal blindness worldwide by funding programs in research and education.

Dr. Alice McPherson
Alice McPherson, MD

Beginning with the first pilot research grant funded in 1973, RRF now supports a wide diversity of programs worldwide, including pilot research grants, chairs and professorships, research awards recognizing lifetime achievement, international fellowships training in developing countries, and educational and travel scholarships — all achieved through collaboration with the finest universities (including UW-Madison) and ophthalmological organizations.

Dr. Charles Zuker Delivers 7th Annual McPherson Endowed Lecture

Charles Zuker, PhD (Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics and of Neuroscience, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons) gave the 7th Annual McPherson Endowed Lecture on Monday, May 6, 2019 in the DeLuca Forum, Discovery Building.  His talk, “From Receptors to Behavior,” focused on his recent work on identifying the cells and receptors which mediate the five basic taste qualities, and uncovering the logic of taste coding.  Dr. Zuker is recognized for his studies on the molecular biology, genetics and physiology of multiple senses, including phototransduction and mechanotransduction.

2019 Calendar and 2018 Annual Report

The McPherson ERI’s 2018 Annual Report is available now, wrapped within a colorful 2019 wall calendar featuring images from 5 years of the Mandelbaum & Albert Family Vision Gallery.  Feel free to contact us if you’d like a print copy!

MERI-at-a-Glance Brings Vision Researchers to WID

On Friday, November 30th, McPherson ERI members, their trainees and lab associates gathered at the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery (WID) for MERI-at-a-Glanceeight short research presentations (10 minutes each) sharing vision-related findings and interests. The annual event was a great opportunity to learn about the breadth of vision research conducted by McPherson ERI members at UW-Madison and other campuses, with time to network and make new connections.

10th annual McPherson Eye Research Institute Poster Session, Lecture, Draws Members to SMPH

Attendees at the Poster Session

The 10th Annual McPherson ERI Poster Session and Lecture brought together dozens of Institute members for posters, food, and conversation on October 16th.  The session was followed by Dr. Jeremy Wolfe’s talk, “OMG, I did not see that!  The science of missing what is in front of our eyes.”

NEI Audacious Goals Grants Awarded to Teams Headed by Drs. David Gamm, Joseph Carroll

Two out of five new National Eye Institute Audacious Goals Initiative grants were awarded to teams headed by McPherson Eye Research Institute investigators, the NEI announced on Thursday, 10/8.  The funds, awarded “to accelerate the development of regenerative treatments for blindness,” were given to teams headed by Dr. David Gamm at UW-Madison, and Dr. Joseph Carroll at Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee.  Dr. Carroll’s team also includes McPherson ERI investigators Dana Merriman, PhD (UW-Oshkosh) and Dr. Daniel Lipinski, MSC, DPhil (MCW).

Clinical Stem Cell Therapies Begin to Emerge

UW-News highlights 3 UW-Madison scientists, including McPherson ERI Director Dr. David Gamm, who are working to bring stem cell therapies to the clinic.

Dr. Alice McPherson’s Gonin Medal Donated to UW

Dr. McPherson has donated her Gonin Medal, the most prominent award in international ophthalmology, to the UW-Madison Archives, where it joins noteworthy artifacts and papers by many prominent UW-Madison faculty (read more)

Dr. McPherson with Gonin Medcal
Dr. McPherson with Gonin Medal (Photo © Andy Manis)
Dean Golden, Dr. McPherson, and Dr. Gamm
Dean Golden, Dr. McPherson, and Dr. Gamm (Photo © Andy Manis)

New Walsh Family Professorship Will Support “Cutting-Edge Vision Research”

The McPherson Eye Research Institute is pleased to announce the establishment of the David and Nancy Walsh Family Professorship in Vision Research, intended to support “cutting-edge vision research” at the Institute.

2018 Vision Research Trainee Grants Awarded

Thomas Lawler and Dwani Patel are the 2018 recipients of the McPherson ERI’s Vision Research Trainee Grants.  These one-year grant awards of $3000 each are funded by the Institute’s annual Cycle for Sight event and awarded by the Research and Leadership Committees.

D. Dan Huh, PhD, Delivers the 6th Annual McPherson ERI Endowed Lecture

Dr. Huh
Dr. Huh is the Wilf Family Term Assistant Professor in the Department of Bioengineering, University of Pennsylvania

Human organs are complex living systems in which specialized cells and tissues are assembled in various patterns to carry out integrated functions essential to the survival of the entire organism. A paucity of predictive models that recapitulate the complexity of human organs and physiological systems poses major technical challenges in virtually all areas of life science and technology. Dr. Huh’s talk, delivered on May 21st in Ebling Symposium to a large audience which included McPherson ERI co-founder Dr. Alice McPherson, presented his interdisciplinary research efforts to develop microengineered biomimetic models that reconstitute complex structure, dynamic microenvironment, and physiological function of living human organs, including the eye.
View the event poster

Growing Healthier Vision in Julie Mares’ Lab

Dr. Julie Mares’ research team investigates the protective aspects of plant pigments such as lutein and zeaxanthin, commonly used in vision supplements.  The current CAREDS2 study will help determine the levels of macular pigment needed to preserve vision with age.
Learn more about this research

Spring 2018 Walsh Research Travel Award recipients announced

The McPherson ERI Research Committee has announced two new recipients of David G. Walsh Research Travel Awards. These awards provide funds for graduate students and postdocs from McPherson ERI members’ research groups to attend conferences to present vision-related work, and to advance educational and professional development opportunities. Award-winners for spring 2018 are Pawan Kumar Shahi, postdoctoral researcher (Pediatrics; Bikash Pattnaik, mentor) for a presentation entitled “Rescue of Kir7.1 function by gene augmentation in LCA16 patient derived iPSC-RPE cells;” and Divya Sinha, postdoctoral researcher (Waisman Center; David Gamm, mentor), for a presentation entitled “Mitochondrial integrity and function in hPSC-derived RPE.” Both will attend the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) meeting in Honolulu this spring. Congratulations to both award recipients, who will be invited to speak in the McPherson ERI seminar series during the 2018-19 academic year.

McPherson ERI Grant Summit Program 

Grand Summit Program logoFederal funding is increasingly difficult to obtain, yet it remains the driving force behind most research programs. The McPherson ERI Grant Summit Program seeks to increase support for UW-Madison vision research by facilitating successful resubmissions of federal grant applications. Toward this end, we have developed a simple and rapid mechanism whereby McPherson ERI members who “just miss” funding cut-offs can obtain Institute support to address issues raised by reviewers (e.g., study section), thus increasing their odds of a positive outcome. Here are the Grant Summit Program guidelines and application. Applications are welcomed at any time and will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis, with no internal deadlines nor pre-determined grant quotas.

MERI-at-a-Glance Draws Researchers!

MERI-at-a-Glance featured short presentations by eight McPherson ERI-affiliated researchers on Friday, December 8th.

Aki Ikeda, former McPherson ERI Associate Director and Timothy William Trout Professor of Eye Research
Kevin Eliceiri
Kevin Eliceiri, new McPherson ERI Associate Director and RRF Walter H Helmerich Research Professor

From the Director:  McPherson ERI Associate Director Transition

Recently, the Institute underwent a transition in the Associate Director position, which offers an opportunity to highlight two of McPherson ERI’s extraordinary scientists and leaders.
More about this transition

The 9th Annual McPherson ERI Vision Science Poster Session and Distinguished Guest Lecture
People at the Poster EventPeople at the poster event

This event took place on Thursday, October 12th. Close to 100 McPherson ERI Members, Lab & Program Associates, Trainees, and Friends attended our annual poster session and reception, and many of them displayed research posters.  The reception was followed by a talk from distinguished guest lecturer Steven Seitz, which was also open to the public.
Poster Session and Guest Lecture

Gamm Team Recognized in NEI’s 3D Retina Organoid Challenge   

A team of McPherson ERI scientists headed by Dr. David Gamm was recognized by the National Eye Institute as part of an initiative aimed at improving the production of human 3D retina structures grown from stem cells.
Gamm team recognized

Dick DubielzigDr. Richard R. Dubielzig featured on NPR and in the Wisconsin State Journal

Dr. Richard R. Dubielzig, who founded the Comparative Ocular Pathology Laboratory of Wisconsin (COPLOW), was recently featured in this NPR story and in the Wisconsin State Journal.

McPherson ERI 2017 Annual Report and 2018 Calendar with Research Images and Annotations

View the report and calendar images


Melissa Skala, PhD
Melissa Skala, PhD

Grand Summit Program logo

The McPherson ERI Grant Summit Program seeks to increase support for UW-Madison vision research by facilitating successful resubmissions of federal grant applications. Grant Summit Program guidelines and the application form provide detailed information. Applications are welcomed at any time and will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis with no internal deadlines nor pre-determined grant quotas.


Seminar Series Schedule
Every month during semester

Fall Poster Session and Lecture by Margaret Livingstone, PhD
October 24, 2019

Cycle for Sight
Stay tuned for 2020 date!

Science Expeditions Photos
April 5-7, 2019

Vision Science Instructional Lectures

Vision Gallery
Changes periodically

Vision at the Vet School
Stay tuned for 2020 date!

7th Annual McPherson ERI Endowed Lecture
Charles Zuker, PhD
May 6, 2019


Spring 2019

McPherson ERI Newsletter Spring 2019

Spring 2019 newsletter cover image

Fall 2018

McPherson ERI Fall 2018 Newsletter

Summer 2018

McPherson ERI Newsletter Summer 2018

Summer Newsletter Cover 2018

Spring 2018

McPherson ERI Newsletter Spring 2018

InSights Cover Spring 2018

Fall 2017

McPherson ERI Newsletter Fall 2017

InSights Cover Fall 2017