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Research to Prevent Blindness grant expands scientific program at Glick Eye Institute

IU School of Medicine • 6/19/14

INDIANAPOLIS — The Department of Ophthalmology at the IU School of Medicine has received a five-year unrestricted grant from Research to Prevent Blindness, providing flexibility in developing and expanding the department’s research programs at the Glick Eye Institute.

RPB’s annual $115,000 grant, awarded only to departments of ophthalmology at academic medical institutions, provides opportunity for creative planning that goes beyond the scope of typical research projects, explained Michael Boulton, Ph.D., director of basic science and translational research and Merrill Grayson Professor of Ophthalmology.

“This award is in recognition of our rapidly expanding research program which over the last 12 months has realized awards in excess of $15 million,” said Dr. Boulton. Much of the funding is to support Dr. Boulton’s research and the research of Maria Grant, M.D. The researchers and their teams joined the Glick Eye Institute and the IU School of Medicine faculty last year.

Dr. Boulton said the unrestricted grant gives the department the potential to provide “development” awards to junior and mid-level faculty to facilitate new projects, to enhance the bioimaging core and to attract new faculty. This award opens the door for the department to apply for other grants available through RPB which were previously unavailable.

“This is an important step forward in achieving our strategic plan for vision research and will facilitate our long term aim to develop new treatments for diseases such as glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration,” said Louis B. Cantor, M.D., chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology and the Jay C. and Lucile L. Kahn Professor of Glaucoma Research. “Additionally, it confirms the belief in the department that Eugene and Marilyn Glick had when they donated the significant funds that allowed construction of the Glick Eye Institute.”

The eye institute opened in 2011.

“I fully believe that we are now on track to becoming one of the leading vision research institutes in the United States,” Dr. Boulton said. “An RPB unrestricted grant will help us further the expansion of the department’s dynamic research portfolio by providing stability and flexibility in the development and expansion of our vision research programs.”

“The IU Department of Ophthalmology, already internationally recognized for clinical research, will benefit from this generous RPB grant as it allows for further development of the basic and translational science program,” said Dr. Cantor.