Over the past two decades, the Macula Vision Research Foundation (MVRF) has funded 185 grants totaling more than $23 million in research to find new treatments and a cure for macular degeneration and other retinal diseases. The competitive grant cycle awards $300,000 ($100,000/year for 3 years) to top vision researchers around the world. Our grant making process is selective and the application process is by invitation only. The grants are restricted to direct research costs only – no indirect costs are funded. We require that issues concerning animal use and care, human consent and ethics are in accordance with the rules and regulations of the applicant’s institution and consistent with the guidelines of National Institutes Health.
We are proud to be able to say that 100% of every dollar donated goes directly to funding this innovative research. Here are examples of exciting research projects funded by MVRF:
Transcriptome Analysis of iPSC-derived Retinal Cells of Patients with Inherited Retinal Dystrophies, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, the Netherlands
Principal investigator Frans Cremers, PhD, is using cutting-edge technology to identify gene variants in seven retinal degenerative diseases that have no known associated gene variants.
Genetic and Immunological Causes of Central Serous Retinopathy, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Department of Ophthalmology, the Netherlands
Principal investigator Anneke den Hollander, PhD, is conducting research on Central Serous Retinopathy (CSR), which is one of the most common degenerative diseases of the retina. Her team is working to identify the genes that cause CSR and their work could assist in the development of therapeutic treatment options for the disease.
Clinical Trials of Severe Cone Photoreceptor Diseases: A Novel Mobility Performance Outcome, Scheie Eye Institute, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
Principal investigator Samuel G. Jacobson, MD, PhD, Director of the Center for Hereditary Retinal Degenerations and the Retinal Function Department at the University of Pennsylvania, is conducting research to devise and implement a “cone mobility performance task” in order to assess “real-life” efficacy in clinical trials of treatments for cone-specific retinal diseases that begin in childhood and involve the macula profoundly.
Involvement of RNA Editing and RNA Interference in AMD Pathogenesis, The Wistar Institute, Philadelphia, PA
Principal Investigator Kazuko Nishikura, PhD, a pioneer in the field of RNA editing, is focused on gaining a better understanding of the cellular and molecular mechanisms regulating dry AMD. Her team is exploring ADAR1 protein levels which they believe may play a role in the pathogenesis and help predict the progression of dry AMD.
Retinal Repair Using Embryonic Stem Cell Derived Photoreceptors: Defining the Window of Transplantation Competence, UCL Institute of Ophthalmology, London
Principal Investigator Rachael Pearson, PhD, Reader in Developmental Neuroscience and Royal Society University Research Fellow, is investigating photoreceptor replacement strategies. Her research team is seeking to define precisely the beginning and end of the window during which a donor photoreceptor is optimal for transplantation.
Gene-therapy to Prevent Visual Loss in Macular Degenerations by Increasing Expression of Complement Negative-Regulatory Proteins in the RPE, Jules Stein Eye Institute, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA
Principal investigator Roxana Radu, MD, is researching the possibility of slowing retinal dysfunction, which often leads to macular degeneration, by expressing a specific type of protein in the eye.
Multimodal Image Analysis in Age-Related Macular Degeneration, Doheny Eye Institute, David Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA
Principal Investigator Srinivas R. Sadda, MD, CEO and chief scientific officer of the Doheny Eye Institute is working on developing a novel approach to integrate information across multiple imaging modalities in order to provide a more complete image of the retina. A better and clearer picture will help clinicians and researchers gain new insights into the disease process and guide the development of future treatments and a cure.
Single Cell Sequencing of Retinal Cells, Department of Ophthalmology and Human Genetics, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
Principal Investigator Dwight Stambolian, MD, PhD, associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania, is focusing on characterizing the RNA genome of retinal cells in AMD and normal eyes. The goal of the study is to understand how differences between the macula and non-macula regions of the retina affect cell behavior. The results could lead to new cell-specific therapeutic targets and stimulate research linking genes to cellular pathology.
Sphingolipid Ceramide Signaling in Retinal Degeneration: in vivo Targeting, Istituto di Neuroscienze, Italian National Research Council, Pisa, Italy
Principal investigator Enrica Strettoi, PhD, is conducting research on the sphingolipid pathway in the eye to identify how it affects retinal degeneration. This work could lead to more effective methods to stimulate that pathway artificially.
Reprogramming the Human Retinal Pigment Epithelial Stem Cells (RPESCs) into Photoreceptor Cells, Regenerative Research Foundation’s Neural Stem Cell Institute, Rensselaer, NY
Principal investigator Sally Temple, PhD, Institute scientific director and co-founder, is attempting to use human stem cells to generate fully functional human photoreceptors.
Ocular blood flow changes in exudative macular degeneration, Tufts Medical Center, Boston, MA
Principal Investigator Nadia Waheed, MD, MPH, and her group have developed an ultra- high speed swept source optical coherence tomography machine that allows for a precise measurement of total central retinal artery blood flow and imaging of the retinal and inner choroidal blood vessels. They are using this advanced machine to study changes in this blood flow over time and how that impacts wet AMD.
FOR RESEARCHERS WHO ARE SEEKING FUNDING
The Macula Vision Research Foundation (MVRF) supports basic and applied research directed toward understanding the pathogenesis of juvenile and age-related forms of macular degeneration and related retinal degenerative diseases and developing preventative measures, treatments and cures for these blinding diseases. Our grant making process is selective and the application process is by invitation only. Our priority is to fund new projects that are not already funded through other grants.
Each application submitted through our competitive grant making cycle is reviewed and scored by our International Scientific Advisory Board (ISAB) which is comprised of leading retina researchers from around the world. The top scores are selected for funding and the number of grants funded varies from year to year based on available resources. All MVRF-funded grantees are required to submit a midterm and final grant report including financials, as well as, any and all publications in industry journals related to the grant.