Newswise — February 26, 2021, San Francisco, CA — Glaucoma Research Foundation (GRF) today announced a total of $1.7 million in annual research grants to support 13 investigators at prestigious colleges and universities across the United States. 

GRF is awarding $1 million to the four Catalyst for a Cure principal investigators ($250,000 to each laboratory) to continue their investigations toward restoring vision in glaucoma. GRF one-year Shaffer Grants in the amount of $50,000 each will be awarded to nine individual grant recipients to support their research into potential new treatment targets for glaucoma. This investment continues Glaucoma Research Foundation’s status as one of the nation’s leading private sources of funding for innovative glaucoma research. 

“Glaucoma Research Foundation is funding nine researchers at prominent medical research centers with our one-year Shaffer Grants,” said Andrew G. Iwach, MD, GRF Board Chair. “In addition, we will continue to fund the four principal investigators engaged in our multi-year Catalyst for a Cure Vision Restoration Initiative. With this diverse research portfolio, we are doing our best to invest in research that in the short term will help improve the lives of glaucoma patients worldwide while at the same time pursuing the longer-term goal of finding a cure and restoring vision.”

Catalyst for a Cure Research Collaboration

“Despite COVID interruptions, our Catalyst for a Cure Vision Restoration research team has continued to make tremendous progress,” said Thomas M. Brunner, GRF President and CEO. “The team has shown promising results in optic nerve regeneration and is testing new approaches to replace retinal nerve cells, with the goal of restoring useful sight to patients who have lost vision to glaucoma. Their efforts are our best hope for a cure for glaucoma.” he said. 

The four Catalyst for a Cure investigators are Xin Duan, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Ophthalmology and Physiology Weill Institute for Neurosciences, University of California, San Francisco; Yang Hu, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Ophthalmology, Stanford University School of Medicine; Anna La Torre, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Cell Biology and Human Anatomy, School of Medicine, University of California, Davis; and Derek Welsbie, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology, San Diego Shiley Eye Institute, University of California, San Diego.


The 2021 Shaffer Grants for Innovative Glaucoma Research

Each year GRF’s Shaffer Grant Advisory Committee evaluates grant applications and determines the most promising projects for Glaucoma Research Foundation to fund. These one-year grants help initiate creative research ideas, and the scientific results often lead to additional funding to continue pursuing innovative research. Following is a summary of 2021 projects the Glaucoma Research Foundation is funding at $50,000 each:


Ta Chen Chang, MD

Bascom Palmer Eye Institute

Project: Genetic Studies of Open Angle Glaucoma in Haitian Community


Qi N. Cui, MD, PhD

Stellar-Chance Laboratories, University of Pennsylvania

Project: Evaluating the Glucagon-like Peptide 1 Receptor (GLP-1R) as a Therapeutic Target in Glaucoma


Luca Della Santina, PhD, PharmD

University of California, San Francisco

Project: Excitatory – Inhibitory Balance in Glaucoma


Juin Do, MD, PhD

Shiley Eye Institute, University of California, San Diego

Project: Optic Nerve Relays for the Restoration of Visual Function


John Fingeret, MD, PhD, FARVO

Carver College of Medicine, University of Iowa

Project: Single Cell Transcriptome Analysis of Glaucoma


Jason Meyer, PhD

Indiana University School of Medicine

Project: Complement Pathway-mediated Neurotoxicity of Reactive Astrocytes in a Stem Cell Model of Glaucoma


Lev Prasov, MD, PhD

Kellogg Eye Institute, University of Michigan

Project: Elucidating the Role of a Novel Closure Associated Gene in Eye Development and Disease


Teresa Puthussery, BOptom, PhD

UC Berkeley School of Optometry

Project: A Novel Approach to Assess Selective Ganglion Cell Vulnerability in Glaucoma


Steven Roth, MD, FARVO

College of Medicine, University of Illinois

Project: Novel slow-release exosome formulations for glaucoma


About Glaucoma Research Foundation

Founded in San Francisco in 1978, Glaucoma Research Foundation (GRF) is America’s oldest and most experienced institution dedicated solely to its mission: to cure glaucoma and restore vision through innovative research. GRF has a proven track record of ground-breaking, 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 3 million visitors annually.



Register for reporter access to contact details