Current Research

The following is a list of new and AMDF grants and grant extensions.  Some AMDF grants are for multiple years, as outlined in the full award description. 

AMDF Breakthrough Award

To Michael Berry II, PhD, Associate Professor, Molecular Biology and the Princeton Neuroscience Institute Co-Director, Program in Neuroscience, Princeton University (and CEO of Optimal Acuity Corp.), in the amount of $100,000 for research supporting the next phase of clinical testing of Corneal Photovitrification (CPV), a new corneal laser procedure, already in use in Canada, for vision improvement in patients with late-stage, dry or wet age-related macular degeneration and other retinal disorders, including those with Best disease and Stargardt disease. The findings will be used to obtain FDA approval of CPV in the United States.  

$100,000

AMDF Thrive Award

To Bonnielin Swenor, PhD, MPH, Johns Hopkins School of Nursing, in the amount of $243,000 for research that will develop and test a prototype of the Low Vision Connect App, a mobile technology platform to connect patients with visual impairments (including macular degeneration), in peer-to-peer mentoring relationships around the experiences of living with vision loss. In preliminary qualitative studies, low vision patients have indicated that peer-to-peer relationships with other visually impaired individuals is critical to their social, psychological, and functional well-being. This grant will be paid in two installments and is made in collaboration with the International Retina Research Foundation (IRRF), which will be providing an additional $200,000 to the project. 

$121,500

Palmino Gioioso / AMDF Young Researcher Leadership Award 

To Dimitrios Ntentakis, MD, a postdoctoral research fellow at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary (MEEI), and a member of the MEEI Angiogenesis Laboratory, for the development of an oxygen-based nanotechnology to facilitate targeted delivery of therapeutic agents intraocularly in a non-invasive manner.

$1,000

AMDF Breakthrough Award (extension) 

To Johanna Seddon, MD, ScM, Director of Retina, Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Science & Director of the Macular Degeneration Center of Excellence, University of Massachusetts Medical School for studies of genes associated with macular degeneration.

$150,000

AMDF Breakthrough Award (extension) 

To Neena Haider, PhD, Department of Ophthalmology, Harvard Medical School for gene-based interventions that could lead to treatments or cures for retinal disorders, including AMD. 

$100,000

AMDF / ARVO Travel Grants 

To the Association of Researchers in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) for costs associated with the online attendance of young AMD researchers to the ARVO annual meeting. (Due to COVID pandemic cancellation of the 2020 ARVO annual meeting and the live 2021 ARVO annual meeting, 2021 grantees presented their research via video and 2020 travel grants were rolled into 2021 grants.)

$2,140 

Henri Leinonen
University of California Irvine
Abstract title: A disease-modifying therapy for retinal degenerations by drug repurposing

Bright Ashimatey
University of Southern California
Abstract title: Regional Capillary Density and Retinal Vascular Reactivity of the Healthy Human Retina

Guangying Ma
University of Illinois at Chicago
Abstract title: In vivo optoretinography reveals photoreceptor inner segment ellipsoid as the signal source of the second hyperreflective OCT band of outer retina

Elizabeth Dugan
University of Louisville School of Medicine
Abstract title: TNF-α Inhibitors and Risk of Age-related Macular Degeneration in Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rayne Lim
University of Washington
Abstract title: A novel CFH mutation affects FHL-1 expression and metabolism in EOMD patient derived iPSC-RPE.

Margarete Karg
Schepens Eye Research Institute of Massachusetts Eye and Ear
Abstract title: In vivo epigenetic reprogramming reverses the age-induced morphological decline of retinal pigment epithelial cells

Aneesha Ahluwalia
Yale University School of Medicine
Abstract title: Influence of the Topographic Location of Geographic Atrophy on Vision-related Quality of Life in Nonexudative Age-related Macular Degeneration

Edward Xie
Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science Chicago Medical School
Abstract title: Drug-Gene Association Analysis to Identify Novel AMD Therapeutics

Sangeetha Kandoi
University of California San Francisco
Abstract title: Development of a novel iPSC-derived 3D-retinal organoid model system from cone-dominant Tree Shrews

Aindrila Saha
University of Wisconsin System
Abstract title: Cone photoreceptors in human retinal organoids demonstrate robust light-evoked function.

AMDF 2021 Total New Research Support:

$476,640


2020 AMDF Research Grants 

AMDF Breakthrough Award (extension) 

To Johanna Seddon, MD, ScM, Director of Retina, Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Science & Director of the Macular Degeneration Center of Excellence, University of Massachusetts Medical School for studies of genes associated with macular degeneration.

$150,000

AMDF Breakthrough Award (extension) 

To Neena Haider, PhD, Department of Ophthalmology, Harvard Medical School for gene-based interventions that could lead to treatments or cures for retinal disorders, including AMD. 

$100,000

AMDF Breakthrough Award

To Demetrios Vavvas, MD, PhD, Harvard Medical School and Saghar Bagheri, MD, PhD, Harvard Medical School for a three-year study that seeks to reclassify AMD into definable subtypes, which will refine approaches to treatment. 

$100,000

AMDF/RPB Catalyst Award (final installment on $150,000 co-funding commitment)

To Sabine Fuhrmann, PhD, Associate Professor, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee, for a three-year study to examine the potential of retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) cells to regenerate in mature mammalian eyes (RPE cells support the healthy functioning of photoreceptor cells in the retina).

$50,000

AMDF/RPB Catalyst Award (final installment on $150,000 co-funding commitment)

To Aparna Lakkaraju, PhD, Associate Professor, University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine, for a three-year study focused on learning about the genetic mechanisms that initiate RPE decline, and evaluating existing drugs for their potential to preserve the health of the RPE.

$50,000

AMDF/Fight for Sight (FFS) Awards

To Fight For Sight, to co-fund three early researcher grants: Summer Student Fellowship, and two Post-Doctoral Awards. 

AMDF/FFS Post-Doctoral Award ($11,250)
Jason Miller, MD, PhD, University of Michigan
Mentor: Debra Thompson, PhD
Identifying non-toxic autophagy inducers as therapy for dry AMD. 

AMDF/FFS Post-Doctoral Award ($11,250)
Kelly Mulfaul, PhD, University of Iowa
Mentor: Robert Mullins, PhD
Role of CFH protein in protecting choroidal endothelial cells from membrane attack, complex formation and cellular lysis in AMD.

AMDF/FFS Summer Student Fellowship ($1,250)
Matthew Hunt, University of Washington, Seattle
Mentor: Aaron Lee, MD, MSc
Real-world assessment of visual impairment in age-related macular degeneration in the anti-VEGF era using the AAO IRIS Registry. 

$23,750

AMDF / ARVO Travel Grants 

To the Association of Researchers in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) for costs associated with the online attendance of young AMD researchers to the ARVO annual meeting. (Due to COVID pandemic cancellation of the 2020 ARVO annual meeting, 2020 grants were rolled into 2021 grants.)

$ 2,140 


AMDF 2020 Total New Research Support

$475,890