Honors and Awards Received in June and July 2016

August 2, 2016

Faculty Awards

Joseph Arboleda-Velasquez, MD, PhD, and co-PI, Leo Kim, MD, PhD, received a Department of Defense grant in the amount of $1,499,592 over three years, for their project, "Testing the Preclinical Efficacy of Therapies for Proliferative Vitreoretinopathy." They are collaborating on this project with Dean Eliott, MD, Eleftherios Paschalis, PhD, and Tomasz Stryjewski, MD.

Petr Baranov, MD, Meredith Gregory-Ksander, PhD, Kip Connor, PhD, and Daniel Sun, PhD, received grants from BrightFocus Foundation.

The Beetham Eye Institute and Harvard Vanguard Clinical Research Team have garnered the coveted "Site of the Month" recognition from the Diabetic Retinopathy Clinical Research Network (DRCR.net) for the ninth time. The DRCR includes over 175 sites across the United States and is the premier clinical trials research group in diabetic retinopathy nationwide. It has been cited multiple times for excellence in the Congressional Record.

Kinga Bujakowska, PhD, received a 2016 Fight for Sight Grant-in-Aid award in the amount of $22,500 to investigate the pathophysiology of retinal disease that results from mutations in the gene coding for the intraflagellar transport protein 172 (IFT172). She will use a new, conditional retina-specific Ift172 knock-out mouse to study the function of IFT172 in the retina.

Kip Connor, PhD, received a grant from a corporate sponsor in the amount of $165,688 over one year for his project, "Study of Complement Inhibitors in Photoreceptor Preservation in an Animal Model."

Joseph Rizzo III, MD, received an R01 grant of $1,774,142 over three years from the National Institutes of Health for his project, "Preclinical Testing for the Boston Retinal Prosthesis with Penetrating Electrodes."

Luk Vandenberghe, MD, PhD, received a one-year, $174,808 award from Selecta Biosciences, Inc. for his project, "AAV Gene Therapy."

Shivakumar Vasanth, PhD, a Senior Scientific Associate in the laboratory ofUla Jurkunas, MD, received an Eversight Research Grant for his project, "Role of Aberrant DNA Damage Response in Fuchs Endothelial Corneal Dystrophy and its Effect on the Trinucleotide Repeat Expansion in TCF4." This exploratory project aims to elucidate a possible link between trinucleotide repeat expansions and an aberrant DNA damage response.

Trainee Recognition

Durga Borkar, MD, received a grant from the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery Foundation in the amount of $5,000 for her project with Residency Program Director, Carolyn Kloek, MD, entitled, "Utility of the Postoperative Week 1 Examination and Postoperative Month 1 Dilated Examination after Cataract Surgery."

Jonathan Chou, MD, has been selected to present his poster, "Validation of the EyeSi indirect ophthalmoscope simulator as a learning tool" at the XXXIV Congress of the ESCRS in Copenhagen.

Ziongjie Fu, PhD, a research fellow at Boston Children's Hospital, received a Knights Templar Eye Foundation Competitive Renewal Research Award for 2016-2017. She is investigating how the effects of hyperglycemia exacerbate retinopathy of prematurity, and how adiponectin protects against hyperglycemia-associated retinopathy.

Viridiana Kocaba, MD, received an Arthur Sachs Scholarship, which is awarded to students with French citizenship who are admitted to Harvard University. Viridiana is a research fellow in the laboratory of Ula Jurkunas, MD.