NEW YORK, March 6, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Lighthouse Guild, the leading not-for-profit vision and healthcare organization, today announced that distinguished scientist and clinician Russell N. Van Gelder, MD, PhD, is the recipient of the 2017 Bressler Prize. Dr. Van Gelder's interests are focused on the pathogenesis of uveitis and non-visual photoreception. He runs an active laboratory investigating uses of polymerase chain reaction diagnostics in uveitis and he has been at the forefront of the field of non-visual photoreception for the past 20 years.
"Dr. Van Gelder is being recognized for his remarkable accomplishments and the significant impact of his research," said Alan R. Morse, JD, PhD, President and CEO of Lighthouse Guild. "His wealth of knowledge has made him a luminary in vision science."
"Lighthouse Guild is committed to improving the lives of people who are blind or visually impaired," Dr. Morse said. "We are pleased to recognize scientists and clinicians who are searching for and finding ways to understand visual mechanisms, restore vision, and help those with vision loss. Dr. Van Gelder's ability to uncover new avenues in research has opened up pathways to help people with vision loss lead full and productive lives."
2017 Bressler Prize Recipient, Dr. Russell N. Van Gelder
Dr. Van Gelder is the Boyd K. Bucey Memorial Chair, Professor and Department Chair, Department of Ophthalmology, at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle, Washington. His research on non-visual photoreception, an unconventional kind of light-sensitivity sometimes described as "sensing light without sight" has been widely heralded and published.
Dr. Van Gelder said, "It is a privilege and an honor to receive this prestigious award from Lighthouse Guild. As a scientist and an ophthalmologist, I am committed to transforming the work of the laboratory into new treatments for children and adults with vision loss. I am truly honored and humbled to join the very distinguished group of vision scientists who have previously won the Bressler Prize. I look forward to continuing to work with others in the field to advance vision science research."
As a physician scientist, Dr. Van Gelder has been in a unique position to translate his research findings directly into patient care. His group used field sleep recording techniques to demonstrate that blind children with loss of optic nerve function display substantial dysregulation of circadian rhythm, whereas blind children with intact optic nerves show substantially less sleep disruption. More recently, his team is using photoswitch chemicals that can be modulated by visible light as an approach to reverse blindness from outer retinal degeneration. This technology is one of the most exciting therapeutic discoveries in recent years.
In addition to receiving numerous scientific awards and honors, Dr. Van Gelder has written for more than 170 publications, including multiple papers in the most competitive journals, such as Science, Neuron, Nature Neuroscience, Nature Genetics, and PNAS.
Since 2003, the Bressler Prize has annually recognized a mid-career vision clinician-scientist whose leadership, research and service have led to important advancements in the understanding of vision loss, treatment of eye disease, or the rehabilitation of people with vision loss. An independent panel of judges from various vision care disciplines chooses the recipient. As the 2017 Bressler Prize winner, Dr. Van Gelder will receive a prize of $50,000 thanks to the generosity of the late Alfred W. Bressler. He will also lead Lighthouse Guild's annual Alfred W. Bressler Vision Science Symposium in New York City in the Fall, where he will be joined by other clinicians and scientists who will present their latest findings in vision research.
About Lighthouse Guild
Lighthouse Guild, headquartered in New York City, is the leading not-for-profit vision and healthcare organization with a long history of addressing the needs of people who are blind or visually impaired, including those with multiple disabilities or chronic medical conditions. With more than 200 years of experience and service, Lighthouse Guild brings a level of understanding to vision care that is unmatched. By integrating vision and healthcare services and expanding access through its programs and education and awareness, we help people lead productive, dignified and fulfilling lives. For more information, visit lighthouseguild.org.
To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/2017-bressler-prize-awarded-to-russell-n-van-gelder-md-phd-for-outstanding-accomplishments-in-vision-science-research-300418566.html
SOURCE Lighthouse Guild