NEWS | February 8, 1996


(DAVIS, Calif.)

Two researchers at the UC Davis School of Medicine and Medical Center have been awarded grants from the Research to Prevent Blindness (RPB), a voluntary organization that supports studies of the causes, treatment and prevention of eye diseases leading to blindness.

Mark J. Mannis, professor in the Department of Ophthalmology has received the Lew R. Wasserman Merit Award. Established in 1995, the award provides $50,000 unrestricted support to physicians and research scientists actively engaged in eye research. Mannis is one of only nine scientists honored with the inaugural award.

Mannis was given funds to continue his research on peptides that have great potential in ophthalmology as antimicrobial agents as well as ophthalmic preservatives.

"Infection remains a significant cause of eye problems, including corneal ulcers, endophthalmitis, post-surgical infections and contact lens related infections," said Mannis. "With the increased resistance of organisms to standard antimicrobials, we need to develop new agents to prevent infection on and in the eye. The lytic peptides are potent antimicrobials that may fill this need."

Leonard M. Hjelmeland, professor in the Department of Ophthalmology, has been granted a $55,000 Senior Scientific Investigator Award by RPB. This investigator award supports nationally recognized senior scientists. Hjelmeland is one of 75 scientists at 40 institutions honored since the award was established in 1987.

Hjelmeland studies scar tissue formation on the surface of the retina. This process is a key step in major eye diseases leading to blindness, including proliferative diabetic retinopathy and age-related diabetic retinopathy.

RPB is a leading voluntary organization supporting eye research. Since it was founded in 1960, RPB has awarded more than $127 million to medical institutions nationwide.


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