The Visual Sciences Research Center (VSRC) of Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and the Research Institute of University Hospitals Case Medical Center has been awarded a $3.2 million renewal over five years of their Core Grant from the National Eye Institute (NEI), one of the government's National Institutes of Health. The NEI conducts and supports research to help prevent and treat eye diseases and other disorders of vision.
The grant will sustain ongoing research and studies of major diseases of the eye and visual system in support of the research programs of 16 principal investigators holding 23 active NEI individual research grants and an NEI Institutional Training grant. The current investigators form the nucleus of the Case VSRC, a broader group of 40 vision researchers in 19 different basic- and clinical-science departments at Case Medical Center with over $36 million funding in total in vision research and one of the top 10 visual sciences research centers in the country.
"We are thrilled with the renewal of the Core Grant, key support in our fight to come up with better treatments for blinding eye diseases affecting our aging population like cataract, diabetic retinopathy, and macular degeneration" said Eric Pearlman, professor of ophthalmology and visual sciences at the School of Medicine and research director for the Visual Sciences Department.
The NEI Core Grant, initially awarded in 1997, is now in its third cycle of renewal and has generated over 100 publications advancing the field. Besides exploring eye research affecting the aging population, VSRC investigators are working on lazy eye and cross eyes, ocular immunology and inflammation causing scarring of the eye tissues, and the retinal degenerations, in particular retinitis pigmentosa.
The grant will allow support of core facilities in the newly renovated 15,000 square feet laboratories of the department and VSRC and enable major new functions including hybridoma production, live cell imaging, laser capture microdissection, and a full service proteomics facility to acquire and analyze protein expression in ocular tissues. The grant also will provide opportunities for enhanced collaborations for the promotion and growth of visual research training programs, advanced research technology and pioneering visual science. In addition, the VSRC has received a $500K gift from the Triple T Foundation, which is designated, in part, to improve research and laboratory facilities and to support the build-out and expansion of the center.
"The Core Grant has been and will continue to catalyze the growth of our current programs at Case and attract new vision research investigators to our community to help us come up with new treatments for eye diseases as well as build our economy in Northeast Ohio" said Jonathan Lass, professor and chair of the Departments of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at the School of Medicine, Case Medical Center and Director of the VSRC.
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