2023 Retina Society/IRRF Awardees

Image of The Retina Society + IRRF logos

In 2023, 13 grant applications across the spectrum of basic, translational and clinical science were received for consideration for funding by the Research and Education Fund and Grant Awards program.  All were carefully reviewed by a committee consisting of Jason Hsu, Nora Lad, Eric Nudleman, Susanna Park, Yannis Paulus, Charles Wycoff and David Zacks.

Photo of Glenn Yiu, MD, PhD
Glenn Yiu, MD, PhD

Glenn Yiu, MD, PhD
Director, Tele-Ophthalmology
Professor, Department of Ophthalmlology
University of California Davis

PROJECT TITLE:  Photoreceptor Reprogramming in an Optogenetic Model of Geographic Atrophy

Chronic oxidative retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) damage in age-related macular degeneration (AMD) leads to damage to rod photoreceptors and scotopic function loss in early disease, and later involve cones in more advanced stages like geographic atrophy (GA).  This study will investigate photoreceptor structure and function in a novel optically-induced mouse model of GA, and then assess the effectiveness of reprogramming rods to cone-like cells using CRISPER-medicated gene ablation of the Nrl transcription factor as a neuroprotective strategy to prevent photoreceptor damage in GA.

Photo of Thomas Wubben, MD, PhD
Thomas Wubben, MD, PhD

Thomas Wubben, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor, Ophthalmology & Visual Science
University of Michigan

PROJECT TITLE:  Photoreceptor Protection Via Metabolic Targeting of the Integrated Stress Response

Understanding the metabolic underpinnings that orchestrate stress pathway activation in photoreceptors is critical to creating innovative, therapeutic strategies for retinal degenerative diseases.  This proposal will identify the link between metabolic dysregulation and stress pathway activation to potentially provide novel, gene-agnostic, photoreceptor neuroprotective strategies with immediately translatable applications.


Photo of Andrew Browne, MD, PhD
Andrew Browne, MD, PhD

Andrew Browne, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor, Ophthalmology
Gavin Herbert Eye Institute
University of California Irvine

PROJECT TITLE:  An Imaging Assay to Objectively Quantify Dark Adaptometry With a Gradient Photobleach Recovery Assay

Rod-mediated dark adaptometry is the most reliable subjective assay of visual function that can distinguish normal aging from early and intermediate macular degeneration.  This study seeks to develop an objective imaging assay to quantify rod-mediated dark adaptation.