EAST FLATBUSH — The organization Research to Prevent Blindness (RPB) has awarded the State University of New York’s Downstate Medical Center (SUNY Downstate) a four-year challenge grant of $220,000 to spur the development of advanced research into the causes, treatment and prevention of blinding diseases.
Douglas R. Lazzaro, M.D., professor and chair of ophthalmology at Downstate, will be the principal investigator. RPB is the world’s leading voluntary organization supporting eye research.
“This award from RPB is a major milestone in the development of an ophthalmology research nucleus at SUNY Downstate,” said Dr. Lazzaro. SUNY Downstate is now one of 52 institutions receiving this recognition from RPB, which, since its founding in 1960, has channeled hundreds of millions of dollars to medical institutions throughout the United States.
In the last five years, Downstate has attracted $6.2 million in eye research funding from various sources.
Lazzaro’s team includes William J. Brunken, Ph.D., professor of cell biology and ophthalmology and director of ophthalmic research; and John Danias, M.D., Ph.D., professor of cell biology and ophthalmology, who is investigating the molecular basis of glaucoma.
In addition, another member of the team, Brahim Chaqour, Ph.D., associate professor of cell biology and ophthalmology at Downstate, has been awarded a National Eye Institute grant for research on aspects of the retina. Jacob Aranda, M.D., Ph.D., professor of pediatrics and ophthalmology and director of neonatology, was awarded a major grant from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development to establish a pediatric pharmacology center focused on eye-related research.
“That SUNY Downstate has gone from virtually zero funding in eye research to more than 6 million in five years is a tribute to the dedication of the entire eye team here at Downstate,” said Lazarro.
SUNY Downstate’s eye research includes projects within the SUNY Eye Institute and SUNY REACH (a medical research network). Both of these are collaborative efforts involving the four SUNY academic medical centers within the state (Downstate, Buffalo, Stony Brook, and Upstate, at Syracuse) as well as the SUNY College of Optometry in Manhattan.
SUNY Downstate Medical Center, founded in 1860, was the first medical school in the United States to bring teaching out of the lecture hall and to the patient’s bedside. SUNY Downstate Medical Center contains a College of Medicine, Colleges of Nursing and Health Related Professions, a School of Graduate Studies, a School of Public Health, University Hospital of Brooklyn, and an Advanced Biotechnology Park and Biotechnology Incubator.
SUNY Downstate ranks ninth nationally in the number of alumni who are on the faculty of American medical schools. More physicians practicing in New York City have graduated from SUNY Downstate than from any other medical school.
January 26, 2012 - 11:40am