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Glaucoma Research Foundation Announces $2.5 Million in Grants to Cure Glaucoma

photos of 2024 research grant recipients

“This is the largest annual research budget in our 46-year history,” said Thomas M. Brunner, GRF President and CEO.

March 14, 2024, San Francisco, CA — Glaucoma Research Foundation (GRF) today announced a total of $2.5 million in annual research grants to support innovative research to cure glaucoma and restore vision. Grants were awarded to 18 investigators at prominent universities in the United States, Nigeria, and Hong Kong.

“This is the largest annual research budget in our 46-year history, said Thomas M. Brunner, GRF President and CEO. It’s the first time we’ve had two Catalyst for a Cure initiatives running concurrently plus the greatest number of Shaffer Research Grants we have funded in a single year.” Brunner added, “The Vision Restoration Initiative and the Initiative to Prevent and Cure Neurodegeneration are making new discoveries bringing us closer to a cure for glaucoma.”

Glaucoma Research Foundation is awarding $1 million to the Catalyst for a Cure Vision Restoration Initiative principal investigators—$250,000 to each laboratory—to continue their promising research toward restoring vision in glaucoma, and $800,000 to the Catalyst for a Cure Initiative to Prevent and Cure Neurodegeneration, $200,000 to each laboratory. Ten one-year, $55,000 Shaffer Grants will be awarded to ten scientists to support research into glaucoma genetics and new treatment for glaucoma.

“In August we will bring together many of the scientists we fund with some of the brightest scientific minds in vision research for our annual Catalyst Meeting in Boston,” said Andrew G. Iwach, MD, GRF Board Chair. “Glaucoma Research Foundation is doing our best to invest in research that brings us closer to our goal of finding a cure for glaucoma and restoring vision, while at the same time developing better solutions for patients today.”

Catalyst for a Cure Research Collaboration

The four principal investigators in the Steven and Michele Kirsch Catalyst for a Cure Vision Restoration Initiative are Xin Duan, PhD, University of California, San Francisco; Yang Hu, MD, PhD, Stanford University School of Medicine; Anna La Torre, PhD, University of California, Davis; and Derek Welsbie, MD, PhD, Shiley Eye Institute at UC San Diego. The four principal investigators in the Melza M. and Frank Theodore Barr Catalyst for a Cure Initiative to Prevent and Cure Neurodegeneration are Sandro Da Mesquita, PhD, Mayo Clinic; Milica Margeta, MD, PhD, Mass Eye and Ear; Karthik Shekhar, PhD, University of California, Berkeley; and Humsa Venkatesh, PhD, Harvard/Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

The 2024 Shaffer Grants for Innovative Glaucoma Research

Following is a list of the Shaffer Research Grants supported by our generous donors including The Dr. Henry A. Sutro Family Grant for Research, the Rajen Savjani Fund for Innovative Glaucoma Research, the Zander Family Research Fund for Glaucoma Genetics, and the Frank Stein and Paul S. May Grants for Innovative Glaucoma Research.

Revathi Balasubramanian, PhD
Columbia University Irving Medical Center
Project: Endothelin Signaling in Trabecular Meshwork and Schlemm’s Canal Development

Kevin Chan, PhD
New York University Grossman School of Medicine
Project: Role of Insulin Resistance and Aquaporin-4 in Glaucoma

Bryce Chiang, MD, PhD
Stanford University
Project: Targeted Optic Nerve Head Drug Delivery

Cátia Gomes, PhD
Indiana University School of Medicine
Project: Studying the Contribution of Aging to Retinal Ganglion Cell Degeneration Relevant to Glaucoma

Meredith Gregory-Ksander, PhD
Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass Eye and Ear, Harvard Medical School
Project: Restoring Microglia Homeostasis as a Treatment for Glaucoma

Takaaki Kuwajima, PhD
University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
Project: Development of Immune Cell-mediated Optic Nerve Regeneration Therapy

Margaret MacNeil, PhD
York College, CUNY
Project: Protecting the Optic Nerve with Mitochondrial Directed Peptides

Felipe Medeiros, MD, PhD
Bascom Palmer Eye Institute
Project: Race, Polygenic Risk Scores, and Glaucoma Progression

Olusola Olawoye, MD, PhD
University of Ibadan
Project: Genetic characterization of Juvenile Glaucoma in Africa

Samantha Sze Wan Shan, PhD
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
Project: MiR-17-92 Members in IOP Regulation