Newswise — Washington DC – March 23, 2023 – Today, Research to Prevent Blindness (RPB) and more than 30 other organizations are convening in Washington DC for the Vision Research Funding Partnership event, which was organized around the theme of “The Research Pipeline – From Premise to Patient.” This high-level meeting brings together leaders of organizations that fund vision research to think collectively about how to best support scientific research related to eye health and vision. While the organizations represent a variety of sectors (non-profit/foundation, pharmaceutical industry, government), they all have a common goal to help people maintain healthy vision throughout their lives. The event is hosted annually by RPB and is now in its eighth year.

Attendees will participate in discussions, education and small group activities designed to increase collaboration across the vision research field and maximize the impact of funding in this area.

“We are grateful to our attendees for recognizing the value of collaboration,” says Brian Hofland, PhD, President of Research to Prevent Blindness. “In a field where the stakes are high—the research we support is ultimately designed to save sight—we know that working together is the best way to ensure that our organizations are efficient and effective in our individual, but often overlapping, missions.”

The day will include sessions on:

The Importance of Basic Research Support for the Research Pipeline: How Non-profits Can Support the Research Pipeline” with presentations by:

- Tom Brunner, President and CEO, Glaucoma Research Foundation;

- Preeti Subramanian, PhD, Director of Scientific Programs, Vision Science, BrightFocus Foundation; and

- Matthew Levine, Director of Grants, Advocacy and Partnerships, American Macular Degeneration Foundation.

The Role of Federal Funding: Advancing Research and Breaking New Ground” with a presentation by:

- Kapil Bharti, PhD, Senior Investigator and Head of the Ocular and Stem Cell Translational Research Section, National Eye Institute.

Venture Philanthropy and Pharmaceutical Industry/MedTech: Focus on Novel Therapies” with presentations by:

- Jason Menzo, CEO, Foundation Fighting Blindness;

- Rajesh Rajpal, MD, Chief Medical Officer and Global Head of Clinical and Medical Affairs, Johnson & Johnson Vision; and

- Georgea Pasedis, Pharm.D. RPh, Senior Vice President, Global Head of Medical and Clinical Affairs, Dompé.

FDA: Protecting Public Health via the Approval Processwith a presentation by:

- Tieuvi Nguyen, PhD, Director of the Division of Ophthalmic Devices, Center for Devices and Radiological Health, U.S. Food & Drug Administration.  

Artificial Intelligence and Data Science Update” with a presentation by:

- Aaron Lee, MD, MSCI, C. Dan and Irene Hunter Endowed Professor of Ophthalmology, University of Washington.   

Federal Funding Update: The 2023/2024 Outlook for Vision Research” with a presentation by:

- Dan Ignaszewski, Executive Director, National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (NAEVR) /Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (AEVR).


The event will also feature a session in which organizational leadership “pitch” new initiatives in need of collaborative partners to others in the room. This session will feature:

- S. Robert Levine, MD, Chairman, Mary Tyler Moore Vision Initiative;

- Lauren Palestrini, PhD, Chief Science Officer, Medical Technology Enterprise Consortium (MTEC);

- Michael Repka, MD, Medical Director for Governmental Affairs, American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO); and

- Brian Hofland, PhD, President, Research to Prevent Blindness.


Finally, the day will conclude with presentations and small group breakout sessions focused on incorporating the consumer/ patient voice into the research pipeline. Speakers for this session include:

- Jeff Todd, President & CEO, Prevent Blindness;

- Susan Olivo, Executive Director and CEO, Lavelle Fund for the Blind;

- Jason Eckert, Executive Director, Reader’s Digest Partners for Sight Foundation;

- Daniel Jones, PhD, Head, Global Medical Affairs, Apellis; and

- Calvin Roberts, MD, President and CEO, Lighthouse Guild.


This year’s event is generously co-sponsored by the following organizations:

Underwriting Sponsors




Gold Sponsor

Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson

Silver Sponsors

All May See Foundation

American Academy of Ophthalmology

Foundation Fighting Blindness

Glaucoma Research Foundation

Mary Tyler Moore Vision Initiative

Medical Technology Enterprise Consortium

Bronze Sponsors

American Macular Degeneration Foundation

The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) and The ARVO Foundation

BrightFocus Foundation

EyeSight Foundation of Alabama

International Retinal Research Foundation

Lavelle Fund for the Blind

Prevent Blindness

The Glaucoma Foundation