Newswise — February 1, 2021, San Francisco, CA — For his research project “Targeting Neuronal Mitochondria for Neuroprotection in Glaucoma,” Pete Williams, PhD from the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden was awarded the 2021 Shaffer Prize for Innovative Glaucoma Research. The Shaffer Prize, presented annually by Glaucoma Research Foundation during their annual Glaucoma 360 Gala, recognizes a researcher whose project best exemplifies the pursuit of innovative ideas in the quest to better understand and cure glaucoma. 

Dr. Williams’s research project investigated therapeutic strategies that target the optic nerve to treat glaucoma. “There are no treatments for glaucoma that directly target the retina and the optic nerve,” Dr. Williams said. “The only treatments that we currently have manage intraocular pressure.” His 2019 research project funded by Glaucoma Research Foundation with a $50,000 grant allowed his laboratory to study metabolic changes within neurons and mitochondrial changes in retinal ganglion cells to discover therapeutic strategies in models of glaucoma that could later be translated to helping human patients in the clinic. “I'm motivated every day to perform truly translational research that we can take from our lab and walk it across the corridors into the clinic,” he said. 

“The research from Dr. Williams’s team at the Karolinska Institutet is essential because it focuses on finding non-IOP-lowering treatments for glaucoma,” said Thomas M. Brunner, President and CEO, Glaucoma Research Foundation. “Glaucoma Research Foundation is pleased to recognize Dr. Pete Williams and his team of innovative researchers with the 2021 Shaffer Prize.” 

The Shaffer Prize for Innovative Glaucoma Research was established in 2007 to honor the late Robert N. Shaffer, MD, a co-founder of Glaucoma Research Foundation.


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.