Newswise — Rockville, Md.—The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) congratulates Cammi Valdez, PhD, the 2022 recipient of the Genentech Career Development Award for Underrepresented Minority (URM) Emerging Vision Scientists. She will receive a two-year grant totaling $100,000 to support research and personnel costs to establish an independent vision research program.

The Genentech Award is intended to provide early-career URM investigators with an opportunity to explore novel and innovative research project ideas. Valdez, a vascular biologist, is currently an assistant professor of Chemistry at Northeastern State University (NSU), Tahlequah, Okla. Her lab aims to develop two new tools for the field of diabetic retinopathy (DR): 1) an adaptable automated image analysis program, and 2) a new method to incorporate systematic and accurate cell labeling of the microvasculature. These tools will provide a quick and reliable manner of identifying and quantifying endothelial cells and pericytes in the retinal capillaries of mice and other species that will advance the field of DR.

"Having the funding from the Genentech Career Development Award for Underrepresented Minority Emerging Vision Scientists is a game changer," says Valdez. "This grant will offer the Valdez Lab the necessary funding to help develop NSU’s first mouse colony, providing an important opportunity to regional college undergraduate students to engage in animal studies of biomedical importance. I have been dedicated to mentoring diverse undergraduate students throughout my career, and the central focus of my lab is the training of undergraduates for their success and growth as developing scientists. I want to provide a robust and rigorous research agenda to the diverse students at NSU. To accomplish this, I know I must move towards independence and receiving this award is a necessary step in this path.

As part of the award, ARVO will also match Valdez with a mentor outside of her home institution to provide support for her career advancement.

"As a woman of color and a scientist, being recognized by ARVO with this award is one of the top highlights of my career," says Valdez. "I am both honored and humbled."

For more information about the Genentech Career Development Award for Underrepresented Minority Emerging Vision Scientists, visit ARVO’s website.

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The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) is the largest eye and vision research organization in the world. Members include approximately 10,000 eye and vision researchers from over 75 countries. ARVO advances research worldwide into understanding the visual system and preventing, treating and curing its disorders. Learn more at

Established in 2001, the ARVO Foundation for Eye Research raises funds through partnerships, grants and sponsorships to support ARVO’s world-class education and career development resources for eye and vision researchers of all stages of career and education. Learn more at

Founded more than 40 years ago, Genentech is a leading biotechnology company that discovers, develops, manufactures and commercializes medicines to treat patients with serious and life-threatening medical conditions. The company, a member of the Roche Group, has headquarters in South San Francisco, California. For additional information about the company, please visit