CONTACT: BECKY SOGLIN
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 335-6660; fax (319) 384-4638
Release: May 28, 2002
Howard Hughes Medical Institute appoints UI's Stone as investigator
University of Iowa physician and researcher has received a major honor and
funding of his research into the genetics of many inherited blinding diseases
through his appointment today as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI)
Edwin Stone, M.D., Ph.D., professor of ophthalmology and visual sciences
at the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine, is one of only
12 scientists nationwide to receive an HHMI appointment this year. He is the
fifth UI investigator ever to receive such an appointment.
The latest HHMI appointees, including Stone, join 324 individuals currently
participating in the HHMI program, which fosters the translation of basic
science discoveries into treatment advances for patients.
"This group of physician-scientists has already made impressive contributions
to understanding some of society's most vexing health problems, including
AIDS, cardiovascular disease and cancer," said Thomas Cech, HHMI president.
"We believe that they have the potential to continue to improve health
care by finding new ways to translate basic science discoveries into useful
therapy for patients."
Stone, who is director of the Roy J. Carver Molecular Ophthalmology Laboratory,
has led or co-led national and international research teams that have located
genes responsible for 14 different eye diseases and identified more than 70
different mutations that cause a range of diseases. Stone also is director
of the UI Center for Macular Degeneration and the UI Kolder Electrophysiology
Laboratory, and is a staff physician at UI Hospitals and Clinics and the Veterans
Affairs Medical Center in Iowa City.
Stone and his colleagues identified a gene that causes primary open angle
glaucoma, which is the second leading cause of blindness in the United States.
He also helped identify genes for an inherited form of macular degeneration,
three forms of corneal dystrophy and enhanced S-cone syndrome, a rare developmental
form of visual impairment.
The HHMI appointment is a great honor in many ways, said Mary Sue Coleman,
Ph.D., UI president. "I am very pleased for Dr. Stone and delighted for
the college and the university as a whole," Coleman said. "The Howard
Hughes Medical Institute appointment recognizes both Dr.
Stone's and the University of Iowa's commitment to research that can profoundly
change our understanding of serious diseases."
Many of Stone's studies have been performed in collaboration with Val Sheffield,
M.D., Ph.D., UI professor of pediatrics and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute
associate investigator who joined HHMI ranks in 1997.
In addition to Stone and Sheffield, current HHMI investigators at the UI
are Kevin Campbell, Ph.D., the Roy J. Carver Chair in Physiology and Biophysics
and professor of neurology; and Michael Welsh, M.D., the Roy J. Carver Chair
in Internal Medicine, and Physiology and Biophysics. Campbell investigates
muscular dystrophy, and Welsh studies cystic fibrosis. Both investigators
received their initial HHMI appointments in 1989 and five-year renewals in
1999. In addition, John Donelson, Ph.D., UI Foundation Distinguished Professor
and Head of Biochemistry, previously served as an HHMI investigator.
The growing number of HHMI investigators at the UI points to its research
strengths and worldwide reputation, said Robert Kelch, M.D., vice president
for statewide health services and dean of the UI Carver College of Medicine.
"University of Iowa investigators are leading the way in many fields,
and Ed Stone exemplifies this excellence for which our faculty are known,"
Kelch said. "The HHMI appointment is a wonderful way to recognize Dr.
Stone's expertise and will help assure continued UI leadership in eye research."
The Howard Hughes Medical Institute, based in Maryland, was founded in 1953
by aviator-industrialist Howard Hughes to promote the basic sciences and the
effective application of findings to benefit humankind. The institute supports
investigators who study cell biology, genetics, immunology, neuroscience and
structural biology at academic medical centers and universities. HHMI provides
salaries, laboratory space and equipment for investigators and their research
Stone earned his bachelor's degree in biology and English from Rice University.
He received a doctorate in cell biology and a medical degree through the medical
scientist training program at Baylor College of Medicine. After an internship
at St. Joseph Hospital in Houston, he completed a residency in ophthalmology
and a fellowship in vitreoretinal diseases and surgery, both at the UI.
The author of more than 130 articles and book chapters, Stone also is editor
of the ophthalmic genetics section of Archives of Ophthalmology.
For more information about Stone's research, visit the UI Molecular Ophthalmology
Laboratory Web site at http://mol.ophth.uiowa.edu/
and the UI Center for Macular Degeneration Web site at
http://www.ophth.uiowa.edu/CMD/Default.html. In addition, the following
UI news releases describe some of Stone's previous findings:
University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the
UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine and UI Hospitals and Clinics
and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services
they provide. Visit UI Health Care online at www.uihealthcare.com.