Honors and Awards Received in August and September, 2016

September 29, 2016

Faculty Recognition

Dean Eliott, MD, Evangelos Gragoudas, MD, and Lucia Sobrin, MD, MPH, have been named members of the Ocular Surgery News "Retina 150" list. This is a select group of retinal specialists the editors and publisher have identified as leading innovators in the field of medical and surgical retina. The list is a compilation of specialists who either work to educate their colleagues or innovate by developing novel technologies and techniques to advance the specialty.

Michael Gilmore, PhD, received a grant of $10 million from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, NIH, to lead and develop the Harvard-wide Program on Antibiotic Resistance through 2021. An important component of the Harvard Ophthalmology Infectious Disease Institute, this program has elevated Mass. Eye and Ear's reputation as a leading center for research on antibiotic resistance and development of new treatments for infectious diseases.  

Ula Jurkunas, MD, and Shivakumar Vasanth, PhD, received an Eye and Vision Research grant in the amount of $16,529 from Eversight, a global non-profit network of eye banks. This grant will allow Dr. Jurkunas and her team to begin research to clarify an unexplained link between expansion of CTG repeats in TCF4 and the effect of oxidative, stress-driven nuclear DNA damage. Their investigation intends to provide a novel link between the observed cellular effects and the most significant genetic determinant of Fuchs endothelial corneal dystrophy, helping to identify the pathway aberrantly regulated due to oxidative stress. Read the full story here.

Joseph Rizzo III, MD, received a grant from the US Army Medical Research Acquisition Activity in the amount of $309,147 over two years for his project, "Central visual prosthesis with interface at the lateral geniculate nucleus." He also received a grant from the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering in the amount of $1,774,142 over three years for his project, "Preclinical testing for the Boston Retinal Prosthesis with penetrating electrodes."

Trainee Recognition

Ophthalmology resident Rohini Rao, MDwrote a case report, "A Host of Problems," that has been nominated for Ophthalmology Times' 2016 Resident Writer's Award Program. This paper is co-authored by Hajirah Saeed, MD, Deborah Jacobs, MD, and Reza Dana, MD, MSc, MPH. You can vote for Rohini's paper here.

Mi In (Irene) Roh, MD, MPH, MSc, a vitreoretinal surgery fellow at Mass. Eye and Ear, was selected as the 2016 Alcon Research Scholar. This award supports a trainee to work on a translational research project with a senior clinician scientist at Mass. Eye and Ear. With this award, Irene will work under the mentorship of Deeba Husain, MD, to assess the functional outcomes of patients with various stages of age-related macular degeneration, with the goal of providing additional information regarding the severity and extent of macular disease.

Edem Tsikata, PhD, who works in the Glaucoma Service in Teresa Chen's imaging group, won first and second place in a contest held by the United States Bureau of Reclamation to collect ideas that may lead to breakthroughs in quantifying the invertebrate drifts in river and estuary systems, essential for threatened and endangered fish. Edem's top ranked solution, which was the  only submission meeting all the solution technical requirements, proposed using commercially available digital holographic imaging equipment with modifications that would enable successful identification and quantification of invertebrates in rivers and estuary environments. His second place solution proposed using high resolution sonar. He will receive $17,500 for his two ideas, which will be further explored and tested by Reclamation and other federal government entities. Edem's current research focuses on developing novel imaging methods for spectral domain and swept source OCT imaging.