CONTACT: BECKY SOGLIN
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 335-6660; fax (319) 335-8034
Release: Sept. 11, 2000
UI ophthalmologist receives Research to Prevent Blindness award
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- A University of Iowa Health Care ophthalmologist has received
a $180,000 Career Development Award from Research to Prevent Blindness (RPB).
The four-year award was effective in July and will support research by Andrew
J. Lotery, M.D., who recently joined the UI Department of Ophthalmology and
Visual Sciences as an assistant professor.
This is the first time the UI has received an RPB Career Development Award.
The award fund was established by the RPB in 1990 to attract young physicians
and scientists to eye research. Lotery was nominated for the award last year
by Thomas A. Weingeist, M.D., Ph.D., UI professor and head of ophthalmology
and visual sciences, with the intent that Lotery would join the UI faculty
and spend 75 percent or more of his time engaged in basic and clinical research.
Lotery's research involves investigating the genetic causes of blinding conditions
of childhood such as Leber's congenital amaurosis, a condition in which children
are born blind. He also studies the genetic causes of age-related macular
degeneration, the most common cause of blindness in the elderly in the Western
world, and works towards methods of delivering gene therapy to the human eye.
Such therapy may eventually also contribute to a cure for Batten disease,
which blinds and ultimately kills those affected by it.
"The Career Development Award will help me develop my career as both
a doctor and a scientist and use my expertise in both fields to help patients,"
Lotery said. "I am very excited about the award and feel privileged to
be able to practice as a clinical scientist at this time. The information
from the human genome project gives us the opportunity to develop new treatments
for many diseases that are currently incurable."
Prior to joining the UI faculty, Lotery completed a two-year fellowship in
molecular ophthalmology and medical retina with Edwin Stone, M.D., Ph.D.,
UI professor in ophthalmology and visual sciences and director of the UI Center
for Macular Degeneration. Lotery completed his medical training and residency
in ophthalmology in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
RPB is the world's leading voluntary organization supporting eye research.
Since its founding in 1960, RPB has channeled more than $177 million to medical
institutions for research into the causes, treatment and prevention of blinding
eye diseases. To date, the UI Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences
has received more than $1.9 million in support from RPB.
University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between
the UI College of Medicine and the UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient
care, medical education and research programs and services they provide.