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researchers at Emory Eye Center
From left top: 1) Eldon Geisert, PhD; Ying Li, PhD, and Felix Struebing, PhD, and 2) John Nickerson, PhD, Sara Wetzstein and Priyanka Priyadarshani in the Biostatistics and Bioinformatics (Bioanalysis) Core laboratory; 3) Li He, PhD; Delores Stacks; and 4) Machelle Pardue, PhD, at the May 2016, "AVRC Retinal Degeneration Symposium."

August 26, 2016

$3,023,456 Five-Year Award Announced by NEI for Emory Eye Center Vision Research

(ATLANTA) Emory Eye Center Director of Research P. Michael Iuvone, PhD, and his colleagues announced today the news of a first-year funding award of $624,000 for their “P30 Core Grant for Vision Research” proposal by the National Eye Institute (NEI), a division of the National Institutes of Health.

Beginning September 1, 2016, the grant, a renewal of NEI P30 funding, will help fund collaborative research by top vision researchers from the Southeastern United States who participate in a multi-institutional network, the Atlanta Vision Research Community (AVRC). This consortium of award-winning vision scientists–currently 21 faculty, 21 postdoctoral fellows and 10 pre-doctoral fellows—represents pioneering vision investigation being conducted at the Atlanta VA Medical Center for Visual and Neurocognitive Rehabilitation (VAMC), Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (CHOA), Emory Eye Center (EEC), Emory University School of Medicine (EUSOM),  Emory Rollins School of Public Health (RSPH), Emory College (EC), Georgia State University, Georgia Institute of Technology (GT) and Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM).

The AVRC’s core laboratories are located in 7,000 square feet of research space at Emory Eye Center that is dedicated to conducting vision research in three areas: Structural Biology and Imaging, Functional Genomics and Proteomics, and Bioinformatics and Biostatistics (Bioanalysis)

“The purpose of a core grant from the NEI is to provide shared services, equipment, and training to support principal investigators and their staff. This makes far more efficient use of facilities, time and effort where one investigator might otherwise struggle to accomplish mission–critical tasks independently,” says John Nickerson, vice director of AVRC. “This sharing is the basis for team science. We have many great vision scientists in the Atlanta area. The core grant serves as a hub of activity, creates new and exciting projects, and most importantly aids in establishing collaborations among these scientists that promote rapid progress to understanding and improving the treatment major eye diseases.”

“The core grant also helps attract scientists from other disciplines to vision research and facilitates the research of young investigators who have not yet attained independent NEI funding,” Iuvone says.  “It aids significantly our overall goal of understanding mechanisms of vision, so that we can provide better treatments to prevent or slow vision loss associated with eye disease.”

In the past five years, these scientists have generated more than 200 articles in peer-reviewed publications, including findings on approaches to track vision loss during progressive retinal disease, gene defects that cause retinitis pigmentosa, effects of physical exercise on progression of retinal disease, and potential therapy for ocular trauma-induced vision loss.

“I want to extend my congratulations to Dr. Iuvone and the rest of the Emory Eye Center vision research team for this critical funding award from the National Eye Institute,” says Allen Beck, interim director and chair, Emory Eye Center and William and Clara Redmond Professor of Ophthalmology, Glaucoma Section. “Core grant funding is provided to only a small number of research centers, and this five-year award demonstrates that Emory remains at the forefront of vision research.”

Key personnel in the administration of the core grant include:

Jeffrey H. Boatright, PhD, co-director of Functional Genomics and Proteomics (FGP) Core, Investigator (EEC, EUSOM, VAMC)

Eldon E. Geisert, PhD, co-director of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics (Bioanalysis) Core , Investigator (EEC, EUSOM)
Hans E. Grossniklaus, MD, MBA, director of Structural Biology and Imaging (SBI) Core, Investigator (EEC, Winship Cancer Institute, EUSOM)
P. Michael Iuvone, PhD, director and Principal Investigator (EEC, EUSOM)
John M. Nickerson, PhD, vice director, co-director of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics (Bioanalysis) Core, Investigator (EEC, EUSOM)
Machelle Pardue, PhD, co-director of Functional Genomics and Proteomics (FGP) Core, Investigator (GT, VAMC)

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 at the Center from oyr internationally-renowned clinical and basic science faculty. Our research program remains one of the top-ranked and top NIH-funded vision research institutions in the U.S., with total NIH grant awards exceeding $4 million in 2015.

 “The National Eye Institute (NEI) was established by Congress in 1968 to protect and preserve the vision of the American people. This research leads to sight-saving treatments, reduces visual impairment and blindness and improves the quality of life for people of all ages. NEI-supported research has advanced our knowledge of how visual system functions in both health and disease.”

“NEI Mission Statement,”


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