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Glick Eye Institute researcher honored with Ausich scholarship

Basavarajappa works with Tim Corson, Ph.D., assistant professor of ophthalmology at the Glick Eye Institute. Dr. Corson also holds faculty appointments with the IU Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Dr. Corson and his team are conducting research into retinoblastoma, melanoma and age related macular degeneration.

The Ausich Graduate Student Research Scholarship promotes research that contributes to better knowledge and understanding of the role of natural compounds found in foods. It is named for Rodney Ausich, Ph.D., a former Kemin Health president who was the inventor of FloraGLO® Lutein and is credited with recognizing its benefits for eye health.

“My research study involves identifying the mechanism by which a medicinal plant-derived compound prevents pathological angiogenesis. Understanding of this mechanism will lead us to develop possible therapies for diabetic retinopathy, age-related macular degeneration and retinopathy of prematurity,” said Basavarajappa.

Basavarajappa holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Bangalore University in Karnataka, India, and is working on his doctoral degree in biochemistry and molecular biology at the IU School of Medicine.

“This honor for Halesha is well-deserved, given his promise as a doctoral student and the exciting project he has chosen to work on,” said Dr. Corson. “He is an exceptionally hardworking, creative and committed scientist, and an asset to my laboratory. His proposed research is based on deciphering the molecular mechanism of a naturally-occurring antiangiogenic compound. This work offers real possibility for discovering new mechanisms and treatments for neovascular eye diseases such as age-related macular degeneration.”

The international scholarship provides $15,000 in support for two years. Kemin Health is a specialty ingredient supplier that develops and commercializes ingredients for use in supplements and food in worldwide markets. Kemin Health is in Des Moines, Iowa.

“The awarding of this grant underscores the type of bright and energetic researchers that our scientists are able to attract to the Glick Eye Institute, due to the exciting work that is being undertaken here,” said Louis B. Cantor, M.D., chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology at the Glick Eye Institute.