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The Glaucoma Foundation Announces New Research Grants and an Expanded Focus and Increased Funding for its Grant-in-Aid Program

  • June 18, 2024
~The Glaucoma Foundation Announces New Research Grants and an Expanded Focus and Increased Funding for its Grant-in-Aid Program~

2024 grants poster

Beginning with the current 2024 funding cycle, one-year TGF grants of up to $75,000 will be made in the areas of Exfoliation Syndrome and Exfoliation Glaucoma, Pressure Independent Mechanisms of Glaucoma, Neuroprotection, and the Genetics of Glaucomas that affect people under the age of 40.

Since its founding, TGF’s Grant-in-Aid Program has awarded millions of dollars in seed money for cutting-edge research projects. Preliminary data from these projects have frequently been used to support proposals for larger grants from such entities as the National Institutes of Health.

“We are pleased that we are able to broaden the scope and increase funding for our Grant-in Aid Program so that our efforts can have a still greater impact on our goal of eliminating blindness from glaucoma,” said Elena Sturman, President and CEO of the Foundation.

TGF has announced the first three researchers to be funded under the new guidelines.

Markus H. Kuehn, PhD, Professor in the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Science at the University of Iowa, will examine the “Role of the Immunoproteasome in Glaucoma Neuroinflammation.” Autoimmune reactions can develop during the disease, resulting in slow but chronic vision loss. Highly specific inhibitors of this complex exist and have been shown to reduce damage in other neurodegenerative diseases The proposal aims at demonstrating that activation of the immunoproteasome worsens glaucoma, providing strongg support for the development of novel medical treatments.

Ursula Schloetzer-Schrehardt, PhD, Professor of Experimental Ophthalmology at the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg, will examine an “Advanced in Vitro Model for Pseudoexfoliation Syndrome and Glaucoma.” Pseudoexfoliation (PEX) syndrome is frequently associated with a severe form of glaucoma, which is believed to result from an accumulation of an abnormal fibrillar matrix product.  Currently there is limited information about the mechanism leading to the production of PEX material. A major limitation to developing specific therapies is the lack of experimental models. This grant will be used to continue investigating the potential of using cells from small iris tissue specimens routinely obtained during glaucoma surgery in PEX patients to develop a cell culture model for the disease.

Yang Sun, MD, PhD, Professor of Ophthalmology, Stanford University, “Targeting Primary Cilia Signaling for Glaucomatous Optic Neuropathy.” In glaucoma, cells in the retina and optic nerve deteriorate over time. Scientists are exploring the role of cilia in promoting the growth of nerve cells and improving how the retina responds to light. In this lab, researchers are studying live mice to understand how changes in eye pressure affect the cilia signaling of nerve cells in the retina to shed light on how cilia could help protect the optic nerve from damage.

Click here for more information on our Grant-In-Aid Program