The American Macular Degeneration Foundation Partners with Fight for Sight to Offer Summer Student Research Fellowships


Newswise — Northampton, MA – The American Macular Degeneration Foundation (AMDF) is continuing its partnership with Fight for Sight (FFS) to co-fund two AMD-focused Summer Student Fellowships in 2019.

“We have co-funded Summer Student Fellowships with Fight for Sight since 2012,” said Chip Goehring, President, AMDF.  “With these awards, we are encouraging early-career AMD investigators to enter and stay in the field, which can be daunting. In today’s medical research world, scientists continuously have to seek support from numerous funders.”    

Tran M. Tu, University of California, Davis, will be using advanced imaging techniques to determine the effectiveness of a single-injection gene therapy to suppress the development of the leaky blood vessels that cause sudden and dramatic vision loss in the later stages of wet macular degeneration. A single-injection treatment for wet AMD would significantly reduce the risk of infection currently possible with multi-injection treatments and might also help to overcome patients’ resistance to ongoing treatments when the goal of treatment is to curtail vision loss rather than to restore lost sight.

Kalila Walsh, University of California, Santa Barbara, will be seeking to develop a new stem cell treatment for the dry form of macular degeneration, for which there is no current treatment. She proposes  producing retinal pigment epithelial cells (RPE, the cells which form the blood-vessel-rich tissue below photoreceptors in the retina) from stem cells using a method which would replace animal products with chemicals, paving the way for a cheaper, faster way of making these cells available to patients.

“Fight for Sight has a long history of supporting young scientists who turn out to be tomorrow's vision research leaders,” said Arthur Makar, Executive Director, Fight for Sight. “Our rigorous grant selection process begins with the boldness of a researcher’s proposal.”

For 2020, AMDF and FFS have agreed to co-fund a Summer Student Fellowship, a Post-Doctoral Award and a Grant-in-Aid.  Applications for those 2020 grants will be available this fall through the FFS website (fightforsight.org).

“We are thrilled to continue and deepen our partnership with AMDF,” added Makar. “Our organizations are committed to collaboration in order to increase our effectiveness in accelerating vision research.”

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The American Macular Degeneration Foundation (macular.org) is a patient-centered foundation that supports potentially game-changing AMD research, education and advocacy in order to improve quality of life and treatment outcomes for all of those affected by AMD.

Fight for Sight (fightforsight.org), for more than seven-decades, has been supporting and inspiring eye and vision research by funding promising scientists early in their careers. 

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