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Eye-catching News

Ophthalmology Chair Receives International Award

Robert D. Fechtner, MD, Professor and Chair of the Department of Ophthalmology received the Founders Award of the World Glaucoma Association (WGA), at their meeting in Melbourne, Australia, in March.  Dr. Fechtner received this award "in grateful appreciation for six years of distinguished service as WGA Executive Vice President."

Robert B. Barlow Vision Seminar Series

Phyllis R. Robinson, PhD - will present "Melanopsin from molecule to behavior" on Wednesday, December 14, 2022 @ 4:00 pm in room 4709 in the Neuroscience Research Building. Dr. Robinson is the Robert & Jane Meyerhoff Professor, Presidential Research Professor 2020-2023, Professor of Biological Sciences, Program Director for the UMBC U-RISE Program, University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC).

Research to Prevent Blindness Awards Unrestricted Grant to Department of Ophthalmology

The State University of New Upstate Medical University has been granted an Unrestricted Grant by Research to Prevent Blindness (RPB) in the amount of $115,000 a year for multiple years to support eye research conducted by the Department of Ophthalmology through the Center for Vision Research (www.upstate.edu/cvr). This funding has been based on a thorough review of criteria, including the department’s research activities, laboratory environment, and clinical and scientific staff, as evaluated by RPB’s renowned Scientific Advisory Panel.

The funds will be deployed at the discretion of Dr. Robert Fechtner, Department Chair, to provide maximum flexibility in developing and expanding eye research programs and to provide opportunities for creative planning that go beyond the scope of restricted project grants.

Upstate Medical University holds one of 37 RPB Unrestricted Grants nationwide (there are over 125 eligible departments).  Moreover, Upstate’s award is one of four RPB Unrestricted Grants in all of New York State and the only such grant in the SUNY system.

"Research to Prevent Blindness is the largest supporter of vision research outside of the Federal Government and is dedicated to supporting vision research at all levels,” said Robert F. Fechtner, MD, Chair of SUNY Upstate’s Department of Ophthalmology. "The unrestricted departmental funds can act as seed money to support novel ideas that haven’t been funded through other sources yet, to help researchers who need additional support, and to help veteran researchers continue their investigations when they are between funding” said Fechtner.

Since it was founded in 1960, RPB has channeled more than $355 million into to medical institutions for research into the causes, treatment, and prevention of blinding eye diseases. For information on RPB’s grant program, listings of RPB institutional and individual grantees, and findings generated by these awards, go to www.rpbusa.org.

“This current award recognizes both the excellence in our current research portfolio and the realistic potential for expansion in the near future,” said William J. Brunken, PhD, Director of the Center for Vision Research “The award is particularly noteworthy as RPB is focusing its programs on the strongest vision research programs in the nation.”

The current award reestablishes funding that began in 1998. From 1998 to 2013, RPB provided SUNY Upstate Medical University’s Department of Ophthalmology with more than $2.73 million. The Department has attracted more than $32.3 million in peer-reviewed funding from the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation and other agencies and lists among its funding sources $1.2 million from the Grateful Patient campaign of the Upstate Medical University Foundation and $250,000 from the Lions Clubs of District 20-Y1.

If anyone would like a tour of the Center for Vision Research’s laboratory facilities, please contact Carol Miller, Research Program Administrator, at (315) 464-5241.

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