International Retinal Research Foundation

Age-related macular


The Lasker/IRRF Initiative for Innovation in Vision Science                        (SCROLL DOWN )

Since 2008, the Lasker Foundation and the International Retinal Research Foundation (IRRF) have been engaged in a partnership to accelerate discovery of sight-saving treatments and measures to prevent retinal degenerative diseases.  Chaired by John Dowling of Harvard University, the Initiative has produced four reports and one review article that identify knowledge gaps in research and apply innovative solutions to degenerative retinal diseases.

Please join members of this Initiative along with your colleagues at the 2018 annual meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) in Honolulu, Hawaii, where an expected 11,000 international basic and clinical researchers will share the latest breakthroughs in vision research. Two Special Interest Groups (SIGs) have been scheduled to present the findings of the Initiative and to mark the accomplishments of a decade of collaborative effort.

SIG One:  Monday, April 30, 1:30 to 3:00 PM, Ballroom B & C at the Convention Center.

Topics:  “Astrocytes and Glaucomatous Neurodegeneration.”  Panel members:  Claude F. Burgoyne, MD, Senior Scientist and Van Buskirk Chair for Ophthalmic Research, Discoveries in Sight Research Laboratories, Portland, Oregon; David J. Calkins, PhD, The Denis M. O’Day Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, Vice-Chairman and Director for Research, Vanderbilt Eye Institute, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee; Leonard A. Levin, MD, PhD, Professor and Chair of Ophthalmology, McGill University Health Centre, Montréal, Canada.


“Diabetic Retinopathy: Where We Are and A Path to Progress.”  Panel members:  Lloyd Paul Aiello, PhD, MD, Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology, Harvard Medical School and Founding Director of the Beetham Eye Institute, Boston, Massachusetts; Timothy Kern, PhD, Professor of Pharmacology and Director of the Center for Diabetes Research, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio; M. Francesca Cordeiro, MD, PhD, UCL Professor of Glaucoma and Retinal Neurodegeneration Studies, UCL Institute of Ophthalmology, London, England.


SIG Two:  Tuesday, May 1, 1:30 to 3:00 PM, Ballroom B & C at the Convention Center.

Topics:  “Restoring Vision to the Blind.”  Panel members:  Botond Roska, MD, PhD, Senior Group Leader, Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research, Basel, Switzerland; Jane Sowden, PhD, GOSHCC Professor in Developmental Biology and Genetics, Birth Defects Research Centre, UCL, London, England; Prof. Eberhart Zrenner, Distinguished Professor of Ophthalmology, Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen, Institute for Ophthalmic Research, Tübingen, Germany.


“Amblyopia: Challenges and Opportunities.”  Panel members: David G. Hunter, MD, PhD, Ophthalmologist-in-Chief, Boston Children’s Hospital, Professor and Vice Chair of Ophthalmology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts; Lynne Kiorpes, PhD, Collegiate Professor of Neural Science and Psychology, New York University, New York, New York; Elizabeth Quinlan, PhD, Professor of Neuroscience and Cognitive Science, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland.

ARVO meeting date:  April 29 – May 3, 2018

Honolulu Convention Center

1801 Kalakaua Avenue

Honolulu, Hawaii  96815




    The IRRF will accept applications for Postdoctoral Scholar Awards for 2018. Three Awards are available at $35,000 each for one year. Submission Deadline is March 16, 2018.

    Questions or request for information should be forwarded to Sandra Blackwood either by phone or email.




    Bioinformatics, “Quantifying Spatial Relationships from Whole Retinal Images,” Brian E. Ruttenberg, Gabriel Luna, Geoffrey P. Lewis, Steven K. Fisher, and Ambuj K. Singh, Neuroscience

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    The International Retinal Research Foundation, Inc.

    1720 University Boulevard

    Birmingham, Alabama 35233

    Attn: Sandra Blackwood, MPA

    Executive Director

    Phone: 205-325-8103

    Fax: 205-325-8394

    Or by email:

Lasker/IRRF Initiative News

The IRRF will not be accepting applications for regular grants in 2018.  The next submission date is May 1, 2019.

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The International Retinal Research Foundation, Inc. has been approved by the Internal Revenue Service as tax exempt

from federal tax under section 509(A) of the Internal Revenue Code as an organization described in section 501(c)(3).


For additional information or other inquiries, please write to:

The International Retinal Research Foundation, Inc.

1720 University Boulevard

Birmingham, Alabama 35233

Attn: Sandra Blackwood, MPA, Executive Director

Phone: 205-325-8103

Fax: 205-325-8394