Women in research highlighted by ophthalmology foundation

The newest program of the ARVO Foundation for Eye Research is Women in Eye and Vision Research, launched at the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology's 2009 annual meeting to further develop and strengthen the career paths of women who conduct eye and vision research.

Key Points

The lunch, which featured guest speaker Adrienne Graves, PhD, president and chief executive officer of Santen Inc., attracted more than 250 attendees. The silent auction portion of the event raised more than $4,200. This money will be used to fund travel grants for women to attend next year's ARVO meeting.

The aim of the WEAVR program is to further develop and strengthen the career paths of women who conduct eye and vision research. AFER leaders decided to spotlight this issue because nearly 50% of ARVO members are female but few women hold leadership positions in the association. Also, few faculty chairpersons are female, and many people report obstacles for women in the academic environment.

Two awards

ARVO and AFER recognized the recipients of two major sets of awards at the recent annual meeting.

A grant from Merck & Co. Inc. made possible a series of biennial awards known as the ARVO-AFER/Merck Innovative Ophthalmology Research Awards. These awards are designed to encourage young researchers to undertake investigative work in critical areas of ophthalmology that may one day lead to meaningful improvements to patients' lives. The awards are worth $70,000 per cycle.

This year's first-place recipients were Mike O. Karl, MD, of the University of Washington, Seattle (glaucoma), and Chung-Jung Chiu, DDS, PhD, of Tufts University's Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, Boston (back-of-the-eye diseases). Second-place recipients were Wolf A. Lagrèze, MD, University Eye Hospital, Freiburg, Germany (glaucoma), and Hyun Woong Kim, MD, PhD, Inje University College of Medicine, Gimhae, South Korea (back-of-the-eye diseases).

Through the annual ARVO/Alcon Early Career Clinician-Scientist Research Awards, Alcon Laboratories helps AFER support researchers who are committed to careers as clinician-scientists. This year's award recipients were Masayuki Ashikari, MD, PhD, of Nagoya City University, Nagoya, Japan; Michael V. Boland, MD, PhD, of Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore; Yuguang He, MD, of University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas; Alessandro Iannaccone, MD, of University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center, Memphis; and Nobuyoshi Kitaichi, MD, of Hokkaido University Graduate School of Medicine, Sapporo, Japan.

Summer conference

ARVO's Summer Eye Research Conference (SERC), titled Ophthalmic Drug Delivery Systems for the Treatment of Retinal Diseases: Basic Research to Clinical Application, will be July 31 and Aug. 1 on the campus of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD.

As is the case with a typical ARVO SERC, this gathering will have a strictly limited capacity to help promote a relaxed and intimate atmosphere that attendees will find conducive to in-depth discussion, question-and-answer sessions, and networking.

This year's program is co-sponsored by the National Eye Institute and is organized by Henry F. Edelhauser, PhD, of Emory University, Atlanta; Michael R. Robinson, MD, of Allergan; and Cheryl L. Rowe-Rendleman, PhD, of the Ophthalmic Medical and Research Consulting Group.

By the end of the session, attendees will be able to:

A preliminary agenda and registration information may be obtained at http://www.arvo.org/serc/.

Network with ARVO

ARVO is on Facebook and LinkedIn. Ophthalmologists and others can join the groups to find colleagues, discuss key issues, and raise their profiles.

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