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Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology honors outstanding clinical researchers


Three prestigious Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) awards will be presented to clinical researchers at the ARVO 2008 Annual Meeting (April 27–May 1) in Fort Lauderdale, FL. The awardees also will present lectures focusing on their research.

Key Points

Three prestigious Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) awards will be presented to clinical researchers at the ARVO 2008 Annual Meeting (April 27–May 1) in Fort Lauderdale, FL. The awardees also will present lectures focusing on their research.

Robert Miller, MD

3M Cross Chair in Visual Neuroscience, Vertebrate Retina, Department of Neuroscience, University of Minnesota

Dr. Miller was chosen as the recipient of the Proctor Medal for his seminal discoveries on the basic mechanisms through which nerve cells of the retina communicate. He identified inhibition in the retina, paving the way for new knowledge on the processes of excitation and neurotransmission mediated by peptides. In addition, he provided major insights into functional properties of glial cells, which support new modes of cell communication.

He received his MD from the University of Utah College of Medicine and did postdoctoral work at Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Miller has held faculty positions in physiology at the State University of New York at Buffalo, ophthalmology and physiology at Washington University in St. Louis, and was the head of physiology at the University of Minnesota Medical School.

He has been the recipient of numerous honors and awards for his research and teaching, including a National Institutes of Health MERIT award from the National Eye Institute (1988–1998) and the Bryan Boycott Award for Research given by the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. Dr. Miller has served on the editorial boards of the Journal of Neurophysiology and Brain Research.

Dr. Miller will present the Proctor Lecture at the ARVO 2008 Annual Meeting: Cell Communication Mechanisms in the Vertebrate Retina on Monday, April 28 at 5:15 p.m.

Lois E.H. Smith, MD, PhD

Department of Ophthalmology, Children's Hospital, Harvard Medical School

Dr. Smith is the 2008 recipient of ARVO's prestigious Friedenwald Award, the Association's other top honor. Like the Proctor Medal, the Friedenwald Award is bestowed for outstanding research in the basic or clinical sciences as applied to ophthalmology.

Dr. Smith's research is directed at understanding the causes of retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) and on developing methods to prevent it. Recent investigations in her laboratory have focused both on the factors that stimulate and on those that suppress the development of ROP.

ARVO's Friedenwald Award highlights Dr. Smith's seminal contributions in promoting understanding of the involvement of growth factors such as vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) in pathologic retinal angiogenesis.

One study demonstrated that ROP may be due to the loss of the natural source of IGF1-which is critical to blood vessel growth in the eye-from the amniotic fluid. Another study indicates that the induction of receptors for VEGF receptor 1 (VEGFR-1) may prevent the oxygen-induced vessel loss that precipitates the ischemia of ROP.

Dr. Smith received her MD from Boston University School of Medicine. She completed an internship at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, a residency at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, and a fellowship at Children's Hospital Boston.

Dr. Smith will present the Friedenwald Lecture at the ARVO 2008 Annual Meeting: Retinopathy Through the Eyes of a Child on Tuesday, April 29 at 5:15 p.m.

George O. Waring III, MD, FACS, FRCOphth

Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology, Emory University School of Medicine, private practice, Atlanta, GA

ARVO will present the 2008 Mildred Weisenfeld Award for excellence in ophthalmology to Dr. Waring for his leadership in the field of refractive corneal surgery and for applying stringent scientific principles in his pioneering work.

Currently clinical professor of ophthalmology at Emory University School of Medicine, Dr. Waring spent 25 years as a tenured professor, during which he and his colleagues trained some 75 corneal fellows. He is a founding surgeon at InView Vision Center in Atlanta. He received his medical degree from Baylor Medical College in Houston and completed his ophthalmology residency and corneal fellowship at Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia.

Dr. Waring is the recipient of numerous other professional awards including three American Academy of Ophthalmology Honor Awards (including its Life Achievement Honor Award in 2004), the Castroviejo Medal from the Corneal Society, and four awards from the International Society of Refractive Surgery, including the Lifetime Achievement Award. He has delivered 35 named lectures.

He is editor-in-chief of the Journal of Refractive Surgery and has served on 15 other editorial boards. He has received 13 National Eye Institute grants (six as principal investigator, most notably the 15-year Prospective Evaluation of Radial Keratotomy [PERK] Study) and has participated in 10 FDA clinical trials.

Dr. Waring will deliver the Weisenfeld Lecture at the ARVO 2008 Annual Meeting: It's Only Glasses: Refractive Surgery, Vision Impairment, and Quality of Life on Monday, April 28 at 6:15 p.m.

Joanne Olson is assistant director of communications with the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology. Readers may contact her at 240/221-2923 or jolson@arvo.org

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