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Meet Our Founders

Dr. Barlow, Jr.

Founder Robert B. Barlow, Jr. PhD

Dr. Robert Barlow was internationally known for his research with the neural basis of visual behavior; computational models of neural coding; and circadian and metabolic modulation of human visual sensitivity.

Dr. Barlow received his doctorate from Rockefeller University in New York City. After Rockefeller, he became a scientist, researcher, and professor at Syracuse University for 28 years until the late 1990s. In 1996 he joined the faculty at Upstate Medical University. There, he was the driving force that established the Center for Vision Research.

Dr. Barlow also held leadership positions on several boards, including being a vice president of the board of trustees of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, on the board of trustees of the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, and a director for the Doreen Grace Brain Center in Mashpee, Massachusetts. He had been a visiting scholar at Harvard University, University of Cambridge in England, and the University of Tsukuba in Japan and had a long list of invited presentations as a lecturer.

Dr. Barlow had been featured in many scientific journals and programs, including Nature Magazine, Discovery Channel and the BBC. His work has also been published in more than 100 scientific papers.

Founder, John A. Hoepner, MD

Dr. John A. Hoepner

Dr. John A. Hoepner, is Professor and long-serving Chair (now Emeritus) of the Department of Ophthalmology at Upstate Medical University. He worked tirelessly with Robert B. Barlow, PhD and Barry E. Knox, PhD to bring the Center for Vision Research to fruition. The mission in 1997 was to build a Center for Vision Research into a leading center for research on major eye diseases and vision disorders.

Dr. Hoepner’s leadership brought to forefront an emphasis on understanding the cell and molecular biology underlying the most prevalent blinding diseases. With the help of internationally recognized vision scientists as the Scientific Advisory Panel, Dr. Hoepner developed and implemented our strategy of attracting world-class scientists and providing them the best possible opportunities for making breakthrough discoveries on major causes of blindness.

As Chair, Dr. Hoepner’s efforts established an endowment supporting the CVR and support from prestigious annual grants by Research to Prevent Blindness. In addition, the young faculty recruited by Dr. Hoepner have been successful at being obtaining RPB Career Development Awards and many other grants. He built a strong relationship with the Lions Club, District 20Y-1 and Dr. Hoepner oversaw the Center for Vision Care providing eye care for patients throughout Central New York.

Founder, Barry E Knox, PhD

Dr. Barry E. Knox, PhD

Dr. Barry Knox is known for his research in the biochemistry and molecular biology of the retina, with an emphasis on proteins involved in phototransduction, transcriptional control of photoreceptor gene expression, transgenic Xenopus and G-protein coupled receptors.

Dr. Knox received his doctorate in 1984 from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore. After Hopkins, he became a postdoctoral scientist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the departments of Chemistry and Biology. In 1990, he joined the faculty at Upstate Medical University in the Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology. He joined with Drs. Barlow and Hoepner to establish and recruit leading vision scientists to the Center for Vision Research.

Dr. Knox has progressed through the ranks at Upstate to Professor, also being named a Jacobsen Scholar. He has held leadership positions, including Director of the Cell & Molecular Biology Program, Chair of the Department of Neuroscience, Director of the Neuroscience Graduate Program, and chaired many institutional committees. He was awarded the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities.