Newswise — February 17, 2017, San Francisco, CA -- For his research project “Understanding Axonal Degeneration Pathways in Glaucoma,” Richard T. Libby, PhD from the University of Rochester Medical School in Rochester, New York was awarded the 2017 Shaffer Prize for Innovative Glaucoma Research.

The Shaffer Prize was presented during ceremonies at the Glaucoma 360 Annual Gala on February 2nd at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco. The Shaffer Prize is awarded annually by Glaucoma Research Foundation to recognize a researcher whose project best exemplifies the pursuit of innovative ideas in the quest to cure glaucoma.

Thomas M. Brunner, President and CEO of the Glaucoma Research Foundation, presented the Shaffer Prize to Dr. Libby. Mr. Brunner explained the significance of the research results to Gala guests: “A 2015 Shaffer Grant allowed Dr. Libby’s lab to explore a novel new idea in the field of neurodegeneration, defining the molecular cascade that controls axon degeneration, which is a key early event in glaucoma,” he said.

Dr. Libby is an Associate Professor at the University of Rochester Medical Center, School of Medicine and Dentistry. He has previously received awards and honors including the Research to Prevent Blindness Career Development Award. Funding for Dr. Libby’s 2015 research project “Understanding Axonal Degeneration Pathways in Glaucoma” was provided by a grant from The Alcon Foundation.

Dr. Libby received a doctorate degree in Biology from Boston College in 1997 in the field of neurodevelopment and completed his postdoctoral fellowship at the Medical Research Council’s Institute for Hearing Research in Nottingham England, where he worked on understanding the molecular causes of Usher’s syndrome. There he realized the power of using model genetics systems to study eye disease. Dr. Libby is now an Associate Professor in the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Rochester and director of the Pathways of Human Disease graduate program. His laboratory focuses on understanding the cell signaling pathways that lead to vision loss in 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.

About Glaucoma Research FoundationFounded in San Francisco in 1978, Glaucoma Research Foundation (GRF) is America’s oldest and most experienced institution dedicated solely to its mission: Preventing vision loss from glaucoma by investing in innovative research, education and support with the ultimate goal of finding a cure. GRF has a proven track record of innovative, results-oriented research and produces definitive educational materials used by eye care professionals across the country. The Glaucoma Research Foundation website,, provides valuable information about glaucoma to more than 4 million visitors annually.