Newswise — Rockville, Md.—The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) Foundation announced today the recipients of the 2023 ARVO Foundation Collaborative Research Fellowship: Marianna Hollaender, MD; Rodrigo Riedel, PhD; Paula Tenconi, PhD.

The Fellowship pairs early-career researchers from developing countries with collaborating scientists in well-established research laboratories with the aim to strengthen ophthalmic research capacities worldwide. The Fellows will receive a $10,000 award to support a one-year project, which can include additional training in specialty equipment or research methodologies.

Hollaender (University of São Paulo, Brazil) is studying Genetic analysis of nanophthalmos in the Brazilian population. A rare eye disorder characterized by abnormally small yet structurally intact eyes, nanophthalmos poses significant vision challenges. "Our research aims to uncover its genetic basis specifically within the Brazilian population," says Hollaender. "This collaborative effort with the University of Michigan seeks to deepen our understanding of nanophthalmos in Brazil by elucidating its genetic landscape and relating it to clinical features observed in patients."

Hollaender says this award holds profound significance as it represents recognition of the dedication and significance of the collaborative research being developed. "This honor strengthens my resolve to contribute significantly to the field of ophthalmology. It provides critical support, facilitating access to cutting-edge technologies and fostering connections with experts globally, particularly through the esteemed network associated with this award."

Riedel (Instituto de Química Biológica de la Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales-Consejo Nacional de Investigación en Ciencia y Tecnología/IQUIBICEN-CONICET, Argentina) will conduct an Evaluation of the regenerative properties of human amniotic mesenchymal stem cells in corneal endothelial dysfunction. Human amniotic mesenchymal cells possess immunomodulatory, anti-fibrotic and anti-inflammatory properties, allowing their use in cell therapy. "This research would improve our understanding of the mechanisms and differentiation potential of human amniotic mesenchymal cells," says Riedel. He added, "This knowledge will contribute to the development of novel strategies in regenerative medicine and transplantation within the field of ophthalmic health."

Riedel says the award will be crucial to advancing his scientific career, solidifying international collaborations within this new research direction and allowing a greater degree of independence in his research project. "In Argentina, the economic situation has left scientists with fewer resources for conducting research. Therefore, this award will enable us to advance rapidly with the proposed project and be able to contribute to ophthalmological health."

Tenconi (Instituto de Investigaciones Bioquímicas de Bahía Blanca/INIBIBB, Argentina) is researching The phospholipase D pathway as a potential therapeutic target for inflammatory ocular diseases. "We expect that experimental outputs of this project will contribute to the knowledge of the molecular basis of retinal inflammatory diseases such as uveitis, diabetic retinopathy and AMD, among others," says Tenconi. "Unraveling novel mechanisms involved in the retinal inflammatory conditions could set the basis for the development of new treatment strategies."

Tenconi says the Fellowship will provide a unique opportunity to establish collaborations and also will be an enriching experience to learn techniques in vivo animals. "I will be attending ARVO 2025 to present which would not be possible without this financial support due to the economic situation in Argentina." Tenconi adds this will also provide an opportunity to share her research work with other students and also be an enriching experience to learn from experts in ocular diseases and vision from all over the world.

For more information on the ARVO Foundation Collaborative Research Fellowship, visit ARVO’s website.

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The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO)


is the largest eye and vision research organization in the world. Members include approximately 10,000 eye and vision researchers from over 75 countries. ARVO advances research worldwide into understanding the visual system and preventing, treating and curing its disorders. Learn more at

Established in 2001, the ARVO Foundation for Eye Research raises funds through partnerships, grants and sponsorships to support ARVO’s world-class education and career development resources for eye and vision researchers of all stages of career and education. Learn more at