News Releases

March 19, 2001

Emory Eye Center receives core grant providing 20 consecutive years of funding

(ATLANTA) Henry Edelhauser, Ph.D., director of research at the Emory Eye Center, and his colleagues have received $1.5 million in research dollars through the National Eye Institute (NEI), a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The grant covers a five-year period, beginning in April. The NEI Core Center Grant includes three modules: 1) Structural Biology; 2) Analytical Biochemistry/Molecular Biology; and 3) Epidemiology and Biostatistics. Emory Eye Center's past Core Center Grant has successfully supported collaborative vision research and service, involving some 33 faculty (including more than 20 NEI-funded principal investigators), 20 postdoctoral fellows, six pre-doctoral fellows and generated more than 250 publications over the past five years.

Established by Congress in 1968 to protect and prolong the vision of the American people, the NEI conducts and supports research that helps prevent and treat eye diseases and other disorders of vision. Vision research is supported by the NEI through approximately 1,600 research grants and training awards made to scientists at more than 250 medical centers, hospitals, universities, and other institutions across the country.

"This important funding, which now provides 20 consecutive years of such funding from the NEI, will enable the Emory Eye Center to continue its long-standing commitment to research," says Thomas M. Aaberg, Sr., director of the center. "The continued NEI support is crucial not only to the Eye Center, but also to Emory University and our affiliate institutions," he concludes.

The funding will provide multi-disciplinary research that will reach out to units throughout the Emory University campus. "Renewal of the basic Core activities allows the Eye Center to maintain and expand the high level of productivity in vision research," says Edelhauser. "The scope of research services proposed for each of the modules reflects expanded scientific capabilities. The structural biology module adds immunohistochemistry, confocal microscopy and fluorescence image analysis to the light and electron microscopy services," he adds.

With some 7,000 square feet of research space dedicated to molecular biology and molecular genetics research in the Department of Ophthalmology, the Eye Center has expanded its Analytical Biochemistry/Molecular Biology Module, including gene array technologies. The Epidemiology and Biostatistics Module proposes to expand its services to basic research projects as well as clinical research projects.

"The NEI funding allows us to continue to enhance our research productivity by providing common centralized services at Emory to stimulate and facilitate collaborative studies between faculty and to attract other university disciplines to vision research," says Edelhauser. "This Core facility also serves as a centralized vision research facility in Atlanta, where faculty from Emory University, Yerkes Regional Primate Center, Georgia Institute of Technology, Georgia State University, the Veterans Administration Medical Center and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention can undertake collaborative studies in vision research," he concludes.

Key personnel in the administration of the Core grant include:

NAME ORGANIZATION ROLE

Henry F. Edelhauser, Ph.D. Emory University School of Medicine Principal Investigator
Robert L. Church, Ph.D. Emory University School of Medicine Module Director
Paul Sternberg, Jr., M.D. Emory University School of Medicine Module Co-Director
Carolyn Drews-Botsch, Ph.D. Emory University School of Public Health Module Co-Director
Hans E. Grossniklaus, M.D. Emory University School of Medicine Module Director
The Emory Eye Center is the largest, most comprehensive eye care facility in Georgia, serving patients for more than 125 years. Physicians from across the globe seek residency and fellowship training there from its internationally renowned clinical and basic science faculty. Its research program remains one of the top-rated in the country, and it is one of the top 10 NIH-funded eye research institutions in the U.S., with total grant funds of close to $6 million.

U.S. News & World Report named Emory as one of the country's 10 best eye centers in its July 17, 2000, issue, the seventh year in a row that the news magazine has included Emory in its ophthalmology ranking. In addition, Ophthalmology Times, a semi-monthly newspaper written and reviewed by ophthalmologists, named the Emory Eye Center as the country's eighth "Best Overall Program" for 2000 (Oct. 15, 2000). The newspaper surveyed the chairmen and directors of residency programs from every ophthalmology residency program in the U.S. for the ranking. This is the only survey conducted nationally using the opinions of academic eye centers. In a second ranking, Ophthalmology Times rated the Emory Eye Center as tenth in "Best Research Program."

Media Contact: Joy H. Bell
jbell@emory.edu
404-778-3711

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