The 2019 American Society of Retinal Specialists (ASRS) annual meeting is dedicating an entire session to honoring current and future leaders in the retina community.
The event will be held July 26-30 at the Hyatt Regency Chicago, offering a forum on the latest developments in retina.
On Sunday, ASRS will recognize leaders whose dedication and outstanding contributions have helped evolve the field and improve patient care.
Carl C. Awh, MD, and John S. Pollack, MD, will serve as moderators for the session. Several awards will be given out. These include:
The Pyron Award
The Retina Research Foundation (RRF) will present its Gertrude D. Pyron Award to Joan M. O’Brien, MD, chairperson of the department of Ophthalmology, director of the Scheie Eye Institute, and William F. Norris and George E. de Schweinitz Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. She will speak on “Genetics of Retinal Disease.”
In addition to her duties as a chairman and ocular oncologist, Dr. O’Brien serves as the principal investigator of a five-year, $11.25 million R01 glaucoma genetics study on African Americans that has enrolled more than 10,000 patients in Philadelphia and has the potential to provide more targeted screenings and treatments for this disease.
Dr. O’Brien’s research on ocular genetics has advanced diagnostic and treatment options for several diseases. Working with Boris Bastian’s lab at the University of California-San Francisco (UCSF), Dr. O’Brien discovered and characterized two novel oncogenes in uveal melanoma, GNAQ and GNA11, which were published in Nature and the New England Journal of Medicine. This discovery allowed for personalized, targeted therapy for patients with uveal melanoma, improving their quality of life.
Dr. O’Brien also identified numerous unique pathogenic variants in the retinoblastoma gene (RB1). This testing, which allowed retinoblastoma therapy to be directed according to underlying genetic risk, is now offered nationwide at no charge through the National Eye Institute’s (NEI’s) eyeGENE initiative.
The Pyron Award is endowed by an estate gift from Gertrude D. Pyron, an imminent geologist during her lifetime, who bequest to the Retina Research Foundation (RRF) out of admiration for Alice McPherson, MD’s leadership in vision science. The RRF was founded by Dr. McPherson, an ASRS member, in 1969 to establish and fund programs for the eradication of vitreoretinal disease.
Dr. O’Brien will receive a $30,000 cash prize, including a $5,000 personal honorarium and a $25,000 research grant.