RPB selects UF Department of Ophthalmology to receive prestigious construction grant

RPB logoResearch to Prevent Blindness (RBP), selects the University of Florida Department of Ophthalmology to receive the prestigious Mildred Krahmer Sanders & William Clifford Sanders construction grant. 

Across the globe, 39 million people are blind, and even more face some form of vision loss. Now, with the help of a $600,000 construction grant from the nonprofit group Research to Prevent Blindness, the University of Florida will renovate existing lab space into a laboratory dedicated solely to producing more effective treatments to prevent vision loss and blindness.  The new lab will be permanently named the “RBP Mildred Krahmer Sanders and William Clifford Sanders Laboratory for Vision Research”.

“Having this laboratory space will significantly enhance our ability to conduct essential research into the basic mechanisms of normal vision and disease, and to develop translational projects that will create new therapies for diabetic retinopathy, age-related macular degeneration, retinitis pigmentosa, and other retinal degenerations,” said William T. Driebe, M.D., a professor and chair of ophthalmology in the UF College of Medicine.

The RPB Mildred Krahmer Sanders and William Clifford Sanders Laboratory for Vision Research will be designed specifically for the study of eye diseases. The lab will be equipped with two electrophysiology suites for ultra-sensitive measurements of photoreceptor function in degenerating or rescued retinas, an ocular histology service, confocal and light microscopes, and equipment for testing visual function.

In addition to the upgraded facility, the design and location of it will help increase interaction and collaboration among scientists, Driebe said.  “This new space will create a core facility that will be used by a team of vision researchers,” said John D. Ash PhD, who holds the Francis M. Bullard Eminent Scholar Chair in Ophthalmic Sciences.

“Research to Prevent Blindness is extremely gratified to have collaborated on this forward-thinking gift from the Sanders’ Trust,” said Diane S. Swift, chair of the Board of RPB. “RPB implemented a highly competitive grant application process for this new lab, and we have every confidence that researchers at the University of Florida’s department of ophthalmology will take full advantage of this new resource to possibly produce cures and treatments at a time when more and more people are facing the isolating loss of sight.”

The lab will open in 2015.