First recipients of ARVO/Alcon early career clinician-scientistresearch awards named

April 30, 2006

The recipients of the inaugural ARVO/Alcon Early CareerClinician-Scientist Research Awards were announced during thekeynote session Sunday evening.

The recipients of the inaugural ARVO/Alcon Early Career Clinician-Scientist Research Awards were announced during the keynote session Sunday evening.

Maria Cristina Malloci, MD, of the University Eye Clinic, Cagliari, Italy, was recognized for her study to ascertain the prevalence of age-related macular degeneration and examine the role of the T1277C polymorphism (Y402H) of the CFH gene in a Sardinian genetic isolate (Talana).

Rachel L. Redfern, OD, of the College of Optometry, University of Houston, was honored for her work to examine the expression of toll-like receptors on the human ocular surface and their functional relationship with the antimicrobial peptides, human beta defensins (hBD), and cathelicidin (LL-37).

Dimitra Skondra, MD, of the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Harvard Medical School, Boston, was recognized for the characterization of azurocidin as a permeability factor in the retina. The data suggested that azurocidin is an important mediator of vascular permeability in the retina and that its action is downstream of VEGF-induced leukocyte-endothelial interaction.

Abraham Solomon, MD, of the Hadassah University Hospital, Jerusalem, was honored for evaluating the expression of inflammatory cytokines and cathepsins in the corneal epithelium in keratoconus. It was found that as the expression of these mediators increase with the patients' age, these data may partially explain the continuous progression in corneal thinning that is typical in keratoconus.

Stephen H. Tsang, MD, of Columbia University, Harkness Eye Institute, New York, was recognized for a study that raises the possibility that phosphorylation of the PDE6y at T22 and T35 may play a role in regulating response wave form in a normal rod. The two phosphorylation sites may have opposite effects - capable together of modulating turn-off in either direction over a wide range.

The awards were made possible through a grant by Alcon Laboratories to The ARVO Foundation for Eye Research. Each award recipient received a grant of $3,000.