We are proud to announce the recent gift of $42,000 from the Knights Templar Educational Foundation of Georgia to support Vision Science and Eye Educational activities.

Dr Jay Hegde has been hired as a paid consultant by NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) to advise them on a visual neuroscience project. It involves advising NASA on how the visual system recognizes objects in natural images, so as to help them devise computers that recognize objects of interest in photographs taken from space. Congrats Dr Hegde!

Shawn Elms has successfully defended his thesis with the guidance of his major advisor, Dr. Ruth Caldwell. The title is Arginase biology in endothelial cells. Congratulations Shawn!

got her post doc fellowship funded by AHA on first submission with 1.6 priority score, her mentor is Dr. Azza El-Remessy. The title is Role of proNGF/p75NTR in diabetes-induced barrier dysfunction. Congrats to Barbara!

Congratulations to Juan Mo as the recipient of the Culver VDI ARVO travel award! Juan is a graduate student in Dr. Sally Atherton's lab. Juan's project goal is to examine the relationship between autophagy and apoptosis during murine cytomegalovirus (MCMV) retinitis.

Congratulations to Ophthalmology Medical Photographer Mike Stanley His photograph of Avellino Corneal Dystrophy being the cover of EyeNet Magazine at the annual American Academy of Ophthalmology meeting. Mike was also awarded first place for his fluorescein angiographic photo in the annual Ophthalmic Photographers' Society competition which receives photos from programs nationally and internationally.

Congratulations to Dr. Jay Hegde on being named a consultant to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to advise them on a visual neuroscience project. Dr. Hegde's work will involve advising NASA on how the visual system recognizes objects in natural images, so as to help them devise computers that recognize objects of interest in photographs taken from space.

Congratulations are in order for Abiodun Akinwuntan PhD, MPH, DRS His research grant, titled “Assessment and rehabilitation of fitness-to-drive in individual with Multiple Sclerosis (MS)” has been funded by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Congratulations to Priya Narayanan for being selected as a finalist for the STAR Young Investigator Award at the 2012 STAR Research Conference that was held last Friday and for winning 1st prize for her oral presentation!

Congratulations to Dr. Jay Hegdefor receiving competitive supplements to his National Science Foundation grant to purchase state-of the-art monkey neurophysiology instrumentation as well as supplementation to his Department of the Army award to obtain human EEG instrumentation. We are very glad that our colleague has received these supplements to enhance his thriving research program!

Congratulations to Folami Lamoke We are very pleased to announce that Folami Lamoke, graduate student in the Department of Pharmacology/Toxicology has been awarded an F-31 NRSA fellowship! Her project is titled: “Characterization of the thioredoxins system in the diabetic retina.” Folami is a predoctoral student in the laboratory of Dr. Manuela Bartoli, Associate Professor of Ophthalmology, Pharmacology/Toxicology and Graduate Studies. Congratulations Folami and Dr. B!

Dr. Jay Hegde was honored for his work and received the MCGRI Emerging Scientist Award at the GHSU faculty senate meeting on May 3, 2012. This award recognizes Dr. Hegde's multidisciplinary, innovative research program with a clinical focus to study the neural mechanisms of visual function and dysfunction, and to develop rehabilitative treatments for visual impairments. Congratulations Dr. Hegde on this most prestigious award!

Dr. Pamela Martin, Assistant Professor of Biochemistry/Molecular Biology, Ophthalmology and Graduate Studies has received an ISER 2012 Travel Fellowship to attend the XX Biennial Meeting of the International Society for Eye Research in Berlin, Germany July 21-25, 2012. The title of her presentation is "GPR109A: A novel therapeutic target for combatting inflammation in diabetic retina." Congratulations Dr. Martin!

Congratulations to Dr. Azza El-Remessy! Dr. El-Remessy has received a RO1 grant for a 5 year period from the NEI. Her work is entitled "Molecular Mechanisms of Diabetic Retinopathy."

Congratulations to Folami Lamoke, who is a graduate student in the lab of Dr. Manuela Bartoli. Ms. Lamoke has received a 2 year fellowship from the 2012/UNCF/Merck Graduate Science Research Dissertation Fellowship. Congratulations Folami!

Congratulations to Junko Ariga who successfully defended her thesis in March 2012. The title of her thesis is "Cellular and Molecular Mechanisms of Retinal Bipolar Cell Regeneration in Zebrafish." Her mentor is Dr. Jeffrey Mumm. Congratulations Dr. Ariga!

Pamela Martin, PhD. will host Janet Sparrow, PhD. as a guest speaker for the Biochemistry & Molecular Biology Seminar Series. Dr. Sparrow is Anthony Donn Professor with the Department of Ophthalmology, Pathology and Cell Biology at Columbia University. Her presentation title is "Bisretinoids of Retina and Macular Degeneration." The presentation will be held on Friday, March 3, 2012 at the Cancer Research Center, CN 1102 from 12:30 - 1:30 PM.

Congratulations to Pryia Narayanan, PhD. in the lab of Dr. Ruth Caldwell. She has been awarded an ARVO Travel Grant to attend the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) meeting to be held in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, May 6-10, 2012. Her presentation is titled "Arginase2 Deficiency Reduces Hyperoxia-induced Retinal Neurodegeneration through the Regulation of Polymine Metabolism."

Congratulations to Wen Chen, Wuhan Student in the lab of Dr. Sally Atherton. She has been awarded an ARVO Travel Grant to attend the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) meeting to be held in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, May 6-10, 2012. Her presentation is titled " Apoptosis and Expression of Antiviral Response Genes during Ocular HSV-1 Infection in TNFR1 or TNFR2 Knockout Mice."

Congratulations to Karishma Choksi, Graduate Student in the lab of Dr. Mohamed Al-Shabrawey. She has been awarded an ARVO Travel Grant to attend the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) meeting to be held in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, May 6-10, 2012. Her presentation is titled "Interrelation Between NADPH Oxidase and BMP2/SMAD Pathway in Diabetic Retinopathy."

Congratulations to Barbara Mysona, PhD. in the lab of Dr. Azza El-Remessy. She has also been awarded an ARVO Travel Grant, and will attend the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) meeting to be held in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, May 6-10, 2012. Her presentation is titled "Inflammatory Role of ProNGF/p75NTR in Muller cells of the Diabetic Retina."

Congratulations to Dr. Jeff Mumm and his research team! Dr. Mumm's work with zebrafish to help discover new drug therapies was the focus of a recent article in the Augusta Chronicle and WRDW Channel 12 News. His work was also highlighted in the Wednesday, February 1, 2012 issue of The Connection, a publication of Georgia Health Sciences.

Congratulations to Dr. Jay Hegde! Dr. Hegde has been awarded a 4 year grant from the National Science Foundation beginning in February 2012. His project is entitled "Recognition of Occluded Objects as Statistical Inference: A Neurophysiological Study in Awake, Behaving Monkeys." This study seeks to understand the neuronal mechanisms by which the visual system 'makes up' for information that is lost when an object is blocked, or occluded, from sight. The long term goal of this study is to help harness these mechanisms toward rehabilitating certain types of visual deficits.

Congratulations to Steven Walker, Graduate Student in the lab of Dr. Jeffrey Mumm. Steven has been awarded the Kirschstein NSRA Fellowship award from the NIH. His funded project is entitled "Genetic Circuitry of Cell-specific Retinal Neuron Regeneration." This research project is designed to identify genes that control whether eye specific cells often damaged or lost in blinding diseases can be regenerated from adult stem cells. Identification of such genes will serve as a foundation for new therapeutic strategies aimed at replacing lost retinal cells and reversing vision loss in humans. Congratulations to Steven for his success in getting this award!!

Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology and Director of the Glaucoma Service, Kathryn Bollinger, MD, PhD. has received a MENTORED CLINICAL SCIENTIST DEVELOPMENT AWARD (K08) from the National Eye Institute, NIH. Dr. Bollinger's grant entitled "Molecular Mechanisms Underlying Sigma 1-Mediated Retinal Ganglion Cell Protection" is a five-year project to explore novel mechanisms for neuronal protection in glaucoma. Serving as mentors for this award are Sylvia Smith, PhD, Professor of Cellular Biology/Anatomy, Ophthalmology and Graduate Studies GHSU and Dr. David Calkins, Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, Vanderbilt University Medical Center. VDI faculty who are serving on Dr. Bollinger's advisory committee are Drs. Sally Atherton, Ruth Caldwell, Vadivel Ganapathy and Gregory Liou.

Congratulations toRenee Bozard who successfully defended her thesis in July 2011. The title of her dissertation is "Molecular and biochemical regulation of folate transport proteins in retinal M�eller cells." Her mentor is Dr. Sylvia Smith. Congratulations Dr. Bozard!!

Mohammed Abdelsaid, PhD. in Dr. Azza El-Remessy's lab won the UGA/MCG Excellence in Research award at the annual Graduate Research Day that was held on March 25, 2011. His work was entitled: "TXNIP is required for VEGF Survival and Angiogenic Signal." Congratulations!!

Ahmad Al-Azayzih, also in Dr. Azza El-Remessy's lab, won Best Graduate Student Poster award at the UGA Research Day held on May 24th. His poster was entitled: "ProNGF: A Novel Player in Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy?", this was a study that was done in collaboration with Dr. Julian Nussbaum. Congratulations!!

Congratulations also to Priya Narayanan, PhD. in Dr. Ruth Caldwell's lab! Dr. Narayanan has received a 4 year Scientist Development grant from the national American Heart Association. Her research focus is on studying the mechanisms of neuronal survival/degeneration in ischemic retinopathies. Her funded project is entitled: "Role of Neuronal Arginase on Vascular Protection during Ischemic Retinopathy."

Congratulations to Folami Lamoke! She is a graduate student in the lab of Dr. Manuela Bartoli and has received the Ji Cheng Memorial Award given for excellence in Biomedical Research by a graduate student in the early years of training at the annual Graduate Research Day held on March 25, 2011. She presented a poster entitled: "Accelerated Oxidative Stress in Diabetic Versus Aged Retina Correlates with Decreased Antioxidant Capacity of the Thioredoxin System."This poster addressed the role of the endogenous antioxidant system of the thioredoxins in retinal tissue damage associated with diabetic retinopathy.

Dr. Mohamed Al-Shabrawey has received a 3-year international grant from Qatar national research fund from the National Priorities Research Program (NPRP) (Qatar). Congratulations Dr. Al-Shabrawey!