Dr. Adriana Di Polo Awarded the 2019 Shaffer Prize from Glaucoma Research Foundation

Dr. Di Polo’s laboratory investigated the hypothesis that insulin can improve the survival and function of injured retinal ganglion cells and may be viable as an innovative glaucoma treatment.

For her research project seeking a new treatment to restore vision in glaucoma patients, Adriana Di Polo, PhD, professor of neuroscience at the University of Montreal, was awarded the 2019 Shaffer Prize for Innovative Glaucoma Research. The 2019 Shaffer Prize was presented January 31st during ceremonies at the Glaucoma 360 Annual Gala at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco.

The annual research prize is awarded by Glaucoma Research Foundation to recognize a researcher whose project best exemplifies the pursuit of innovative ideas in the quest to cure glaucoma. George A. Cioffi, MD, Chairman of the department of ophthalmology at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, presented the Shaffer Prize to Dr. Di Polo at the Gala.

Dr. Di Polo’s research grant, titled “Regeneration of Retinal Ganglion Cell Dendrites: Stimulating Connections to Restore Vision in Glaucoma” was funded by the late Frank Stein and  Paul May through the Glaucoma Research Foundation. The $40,000 grant allowed Dr. Di Polo’s laboratory to investigate the hypothesis that insulin can improve the survival and function of injured retinal ganglion cells. Dr. Di Polo and her team are now in discussion with clinical collaborators to design a first-in-kind clinical trial to test this regenerative approach in glaucoma patients.

In this short video, Dr. Di Polo talks about what it meant to her to receive the coveted research prize.

“The research from Dr. Di Polo’s team at University of Montreal is significant in that it demonstrated regeneration of the dendrites in the retinal ganglion cells, and also because it uses insulin, which has been shown to be safe for clinical use,” said Thomas M. Brunner, President and CEO, Glaucoma Research Foundation. “Glaucoma Research Foundation is thrilled to have funded this team of innovative researchers, and we are optimistic that it has brought us one step closer to a cure for glaucoma.”

The Shaffer Prize for Innovative Glaucoma Research was established in 2007 to honor the late Robert N. Shaffer, MD, a co-founder of the Glaucoma Research Foundation.


First posted on February 14, 2019; Reviewed on May 19, 2022