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Lukasiewicz awarded Brian Boycott prize

Thumbnail Image8/25/2016  Professor Peter Lukasiewicz has been awarded the prestigious 2016 Brian Boycott Prize for career achievement in retinal neuroscience at the recent FASEB science research conference on retinal neurobiology and visual processing meeting in Keystone, Colorado. 

The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) meeting on Retinal Neurobiology and Visual Processing is a biannual meeting attracts approximately 200 top-level vision scientists from around the world.

The Brian Boycott Prize is awarded to those researchers who have made a significant contribution to the understanding of the retina and its role in vision processing. 

The award is named for Brian Boycott a leading English anatomist, Fellow of the Royal Society, and one of the founders of the field of retinal circuitry in the 1960s.  The Boycott Prize was instituted in his honor after his death in 2000.

Founded in 1912, the goal of the FASEB is to advance health and welfare by promoting progress and education in biological and biomedical sciences through service to its member societies and collaborative advocacy.

Rajagopal awarded Young Physician-Scientist honor

Thumbnail Image8/22/2016 

Rithwick Rajagopal, MD, PhD, an assistant professor of ophthalmology and visual sciences at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, has received a Young Physician-Scientist Award from the American Society for Clinical Investigation.

Rajagopal, working with Clay F. Semenkovich, the Irene E. and Michael M. Karl Professor and director of the Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism & Lipid Research, has found that vision loss from diabetic retinopathy may begin much earlier than previously believed.

Rajagopal received the award in April at a joint meeting in Chicago of the Association of American Physicians, the American Society for Clinical Investigation, and the American Physician Scientists Association.

The award recognizes young physician-scientists whose work is supported by National Institutes of Health (NIH) training grants or similar career-development funding, and who have recently joined the faculty at an academic medical center and have had notable achievements in research.


Steven Bassnett recognized for Lens research

Thumbnail Image3/28/2016 

Steven Bassnett, PhD, of Washington University, St. Louis, Mo., has been named the 2016 Cataract Research Award recipient by the National Foundation for Eye Research for his outstanding work in lens research. The award — a plaque and $2,500 honorarium —  will be presented at the Lens Business Meeting during that ARVO 2016 Annual Meeting in Seattle.

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Establishment of the Jeffrey T. Fort Innovation Fund

Thumbnail Image2/4/2016  Dr Rajendra Apte has been named PI on the Jeffrey T. Fort Innovation Fund.  This fund has been established through private philanthropy from Mr.  Jeffrey T. Fort.  It is designed to support Dr. Apte’s research on diseases and conditions of the retina.

Dr Carla Siegfried name first Kolker distinguished professor

Thumbnail Image1/28/2016  Dr. Carla Siegfried has been appointed as the the inaugural Jacquelyn E. and Allan E. Kolker, M.D. Distinguished Professor of Ophthalmology.  This professorship was recently made possible by the enormous generosity of Mr. Jeffrey Fort of St. Louis.
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Dr Lukasiewicz named as new Becker professor

Thumbnail Image1/28/2016  1/26/2016  Dr. Peter Lukasiewicz has been named the next Janet and Bernard Becker Professor of Ophthalmology.
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Dr Kefalov's paper has been recommended as being of special significance in its field

12/10/2015  Circadian and light-driven regulation of rod dark adaptation was recommended by Gordon Fain.
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Adult Human Retinas Can be Rejuvinated and Function After Death; New Use of Donor Tissue for Research, Drug Development, and Retinal Transplantation in the Future.

Thumbnail Image11/13/2015  Several unique procedures and technical applications have been designed, tested, and refined in order to capture transretinal recordings from dissected retina taken from adult human donor eyes
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Eye drops could clear up cataracts using newly identified chemical

Thumbnail Image11/5/2015  A chemical that could potentially be used in eye drops to reverse cataracts, the leading cause of blindness, has been identified by a team of scientists from UC San Francisco (UCSF), the University of Michigan (U-M), and Washington University in St. Louis (WUSTL).
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Eye’s recycling process key to seeing color, bright light

Thumbnail Image10/27/2015  As many of us learned in high school science class, the retina’s rods and cones allow us to see. Rods are for night vision, and cones operate in bright light and allow us to distinguish colors. But although scientists have an idea of what makes rods perform and flourish, they’ve been somewhat in the dark about what keeps cones working and thriving.
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Congratulations to Dr Mae Gordon for being awarded the Jeffrey & Joyce Myers Lecture Serie

Thumbnail Image10/20/2015 

Dr Mae Gordon was awarded the Jeffrey & Joyce Myers award.  The title of her lecture was ' Implementing NIH requirements for Rigorous Experimental Design'


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Bassnett Joins National Advisory Eye Council

Thumbnail Image10/8/2015  The National Eye Institute (NEI), part of NIH, has appointed three new members to the National Advisory Eye Council (NAEC) who are attending their first NAEC meeting as council members today. The NAEC provides guidance on research, training, and other NEI program
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Eye’s motion detection sensors identified

Thumbnail Image6/16/2015 

A neural circuit in the retina at the back of the eye carries signals that enable the eye to detect movement. The finding could help in efforts to build artificial retinas for people who have suffered vision loss.

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Obituary: David C. Beebe, 70, professor of ophthalmology and visual sciences

Thumbnail Image4/1/2015  David C. Beebe, PhD, the Janet and Bernard Becker Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, died at his home in St. Louis on Friday, March 27, 2015, from complications of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). He was 70.
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The human eye can see ‘invisible’ infrared light

Thumbnail Image12/1/2014 

Any science textbook will tell you we can’t see infrared light. Like X-rays and radio waves, infrared light waves are outside the visual spectrum.

But an international team of researchers co-led by scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis has found that under certain conditions, the retina can sense infrared light after all.

Using cells from the retinas of mice and people, and powerful lasers that emit pulses of infrared light, the researchers found that when laser light pulses rapidly, light-sensing cells in the retina sometimes get a double hit of infrared energy. When that happens, the eye is able to detect light that falls outside the visible spectrum.

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Corbo receives two research grants

Thumbnail Image9/8/2014 

Joseph Corbo, MD, PhD, associate professor of pathology and immunology, of genetics and of ophthalmology and visual sciences, has received a one-year, $25,000 grant from the Center for the Investigation of Membrane Excitability Diseases for research titled “High-Throughput Functional Analysis of Non-Coding Regions Related to Arrhythmias.” 

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Proteins critical to wound healing identified

Thumbnail Image8/18/2014 

Mice missing two important proteins of the vascular system develop normally and appear healthy in adulthood, as long as they don’t become injured. If they do, their wounds don’t heal properly, a new study shows.

The research, at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, may have implications for treating diseases involving abnormal blood vessel growth, such as the impaired wound healing often seen in diabetes and the loss of vision caused by macular degeneration.

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Glaucoma drug helps restore vision loss linked to obesity

Thumbnail Image6/25/2014 

A new study shows that the eyesight of patients with an unusual vision disorder linked to obesity improves twice as much if they take a glaucoma drug and lose a modest amount of weight than if they only lose weight.

The condition, called idiopathic intracranial hypertension, affects an estimated 100,000 people in the United States. Most are obese women ages 20 to 50.

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Margolis named Wolff Distinguished Professor of Ophthalmology

Thumbnail Image5/30/2014 

Todd P. Margolis, MD, PhD, head of the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, has been named the new Alan A. and Edith L. Wolff Distinguished Professor of Ophthalmology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Margolis also is ophthalmologist-in-chief at Barnes-Jewish Hospital.

Margolis became the new head of ophthalmology in January and was installed as the Wolff Professor this spring by Washington University Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton and Larry J. Shapiro, MD, executive vice chancellor for medical affairs and dean of the School of Medicine.

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Apte receives Camras Award

Thumbnail Image5/2/2014 

Rajendra S. Apte, MD, PhD, the Paul A. Cibis Distinguished Professor of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences, is one of three recipients of the 2014 Pfizer Ophthalmics Carl Camras Translational Research Award. The award, given by the ARVO Foundation for Eye Research, recognize researchers ages 45 or younger who have exhibited excellence in research that has led to, or has promise of leading to, clinical applications.

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Manik Goel - winner of EyeWiki competition

Thumbnail Image2/7/2014 

Please join me in congratulating Manik Goel, one of our spectacular second year residents, on being awarded as one of the winners of the EyeWiki competition for his online article:

"Femtosecond lasers and laser assisted in situ keratomileusis (LASIK)"

This is a great achievement.

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David C. Beebe, PhD - Distinguished Faculty Awards, 2014

Thumbnail Image1/27/2014 

David C. Beebe, PhD, the Janet and Bernard Becker Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, is being honored as an outstanding postdoctoral mentor.

Since joining the Washington University faculty in 1995, Beebe has served on nearly 100 doctoral thesis committees. His trainees report that he whole-heartedly encourages and motivates excellence, and that he finds ways to get them the resources and training they need to meet their highly varied scientific interests. The keys to his success, they say, are his energy, contagious enthusiasm and flexibility. He easily adapts his teaching style to the skill level of his trainees — undergraduates through junior faculty — crosses disciplinary boundaries to mentor individuals with varied skill sets, and accommodates and values cultural diversity.

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Margolis named new head of ophthalmology

Thumbnail Image10/9/2013 

Todd P. Margolis, MD, PhD, has been named head of the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. With the new appointment, effective Jan. 1, Margolis also will become ophthalmologist-in-chief at Barnes-Jewish Hospital.

The appointment was announced by Larry J. Shapiro, MD, executive vice chancellor for medical affairs and dean of the School of Medicine.

“I am pleased to announce that Todd Margolis has accepted the position of head of ophthalmology and visual sciences,” Shapiro said. “Since the days when the late Bernie Becker was head, and continuing during the leadership of Mike Kass, the department has had a long history as a leader in understanding and successfully treating blinding eye diseases, and I believe that Todd will build upon that legacy.”

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Recycling in the eye promotes good vision

Thumbnail Image7/18/2013 

Recycling isn’t just good for the environment. It’s also good for your eyesight.

Researchers atWashington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., have found that good vision depends, at least in part, on a recycling process in the eye that mops up cellular debris and reuses light-sensitive proteins. 

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Altering eye cells may one day restore vision

Thumbnail Image1/24/2013 

Doctors may one day treat some forms of blindness by altering the genetic program of the light-sensing cells of the eye, according to scientists atWashington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. 

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Apte new Cibis Professor of Ophthalmology

Thumbnail Image1/15/2013 

Rajendra S. Apte, MD, PhD, is the new Paul A. Cibis Distinguished Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences atWashington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

The Cibis Distinguished Professorship was established in the year 2000 by an anonymous donor. It honors the late Paul A. Cibis, MD, an important figure in the history of Washington University’s Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, according to Michael A. Kass, MD, the Bernard Becker Professor and head of ophthalmology and visual sciences, who announced the appointment.

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Tychsen named Hardesty distinguished professor

Thumbnail Image5/23/2012 

Pediatric ophthalmologist R. Lawrence Tychsen, MD, has been named the John F. Hardesty, MD, Distinguished Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton and Larry J. Shapiro, MD, executive vice chancellor for medical affairs and dean of the School of Medicine, announced the appointment. Tychsen will be installed May 31.

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‘Positive stress’ helps protect eye from glaucoma

Thumbnail Image4/3/2012 

Working in mice, scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have devised a treatment that prevents the optic nerve injury that occurs in glaucoma, a neurodegenerative disease that is a leading cause of blindness.

Researchers increased the resistance of optic nerve cells to damage by repeatedly exposing the mice to low levels of oxygen similar to those found at high altitudes. The stress of the intermittent low-oxygen environment induces a protective response called tolerance that makes nerve cells — including those in the eye — less vulnerable to harm. 

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Major Instrumentation Award from the National Eye Institute


A major equipment award has been made by the National Eye Institute to extend and enhance the services offered through the Morphology & Imaging module and the Visual Function Testing module of the P30 Vision Core Grant.  The award will support the upgrade of our FV1000 confocal microscope to a multi-photon-capable instrument.   The award will also allow the purchase of a new ERG system for electrophysiological measurements on rodents.


VRC Scientists awarded RBP grants


Congratulations to Daniel Kerschensteiner and J. William Harbour who have been awarded prestigious research grants from Research to Prevent Blindness (RPB). RPB is the leading voluntary health organization supporting eye research directed at the prevention, treatment or eradication of all diseases that threaten vision. To date, RPB has contributed more than $6 million to Washington University in support of vision research.

Dr. Kerschensteiner was given a Career Development award and Dr. Harbour was given a Senior Scientific Investigator Award.

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Becker's very special collection

Thumbnail Image12/1/2011 

Visitors to Bernard Becker Medical Library are greeted by the man himself, in a manner of speaking.

Near the library entrance hangs a large portrait of Bernard Becker, MD, painted by St. Louis artist Gilbert Early, a graduate of Washington University School of Fine Art in 1959.

Although the artist might just as well have shown Becker studying the latest ophthalmology journal, in this portrait Becker holds a rare old book, a hint that his passion for the history of science ran as deep as his devotion to research in eye health.

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Gene scan helps identify cause of inherited blindness

Thumbnail Image9/3/2010 

Scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have scanned the entire genome of mice for genes that help build photoreceptors, the light-sensing cells of the eye.

The results already have helped researchers identify the gene that causes a form of retinitis pigmentosa, a type of inherited blindness in humans.

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Ingredient in red wine may prevent some blinding diseases

Thumbnail Image6/25/2010 

Resveratrol — found in red wine, grapes, blueberries, peanuts and other plants — stops out-of-control blood vessel growth in the eye, according to vision researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

The discovery has implications for preserving vision in blinding eye diseases such as diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in Americans over 50.

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High eye pressure: monitor or treat?

Thumbnail Image3/8/2010 

Most people at risk for developing glaucoma due to high eye pressure do not need treatment, according to a large, multicenter study.

The Ocular Hypertension Treatment Study (OHTS) investigators, led by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, report in the Archives of Ophthalmology that most patients with high eye pressure but no glaucoma damage can be carefully monitored rather than given eye drops.

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Immune cells protect retina from damage due to age-related macular degeneration

Thumbnail Image8/14/2006 

Although some recent studies have suggested that inflammation promotes retinal damage in age-related macular degeneration (AMD), new work from Washington University ophthalmology researchers has found that a particular type of inflammation, regulated by cells called macrophages, actually protects the eye from damage due to AMD.

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