From the Field
Print edition page number(s) 57-60
Participants needed for age-related macular degeneration study
Lead investigator Michael Gorin of the Jules Stein Eye Institute at University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA) is seeking clinical research volunteers for a nationwide study to identify the genetics and risk factors for developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The goal of the Study on the Genetics of Age-Related Maculopathy (GARM II) is to determine how the combination of genetic, dietary, health, and exposure factors such as sunlight or smoking contributes to a person's risk of developing this condition. Dr. Gorin seeks participants who are individuals aged 49 to 65 years old who have AMD or at least one parent with the condition, parents who have AMD, or parents who have siblings with the disease. The study, which is funded by the National Institutes of Health, is designed to allow individuals to participate through a confidential and secure web site: <https://jseiclinres.jsei.ucla.edu/garm/>. Since it is not a treatment study, it does not require travel to UCLA. Participants will complete a series of web-based questionnaires, as well as provide a saliva sample and photographs of their eyes that can be captured by a specialist near their home. There are no costs or payments for participants. For more information, contact: GARM II Study Center, Jules Stein Eye Institute, UCLA, 200 Stein Plaza 3-310 B, Los Angeles, CA 90095; phone: 800-286-8581; e-mail: <firstname.lastname@example.org>; web site: <www.jsei.ucla.edu>.
Research team receives grant for gene therapy
An international research team recently embarked on a $1.4-million project that will run through 2015 to develop a new gene therapy to prevent blindness due to retinal diseases such as retinitis pigmentosa, glaucoma, retinal ischemia, and AMD. Although the causes of these diseases differ, in all cases the retinal cells die, leading to blindness. Primary investigator, Catherine Tsilfidis, who is an University of Ottawa, Canada, medical professor, has shown that a gene called XIAP can prevent retinal cell death. The gene can be delivered to the eye using a virus called Adeno-associated virus. The goal of the project is to begin testing the therapy in patients within the next five years. The project is being funded by the Foundation Fighting Blindness and Canadian Institutes of Health Research. Dr. Tsilfidis is joined by the following investigators: Stuart Coupland, University of Ottawa Eye Institute; William Hauswirth, University of Florida; Robert Korneluk, University of Ottawa; Brian Leonard, University of Ottawa Eye Institute; and David Zacks, Kellogg Eye Center, University of Michigan. For more information, contact: Catherine Tsilfidis, University of Ottawa Eye Institute, Ottawa Hospital, General Campus, 501 Smyth Road, Ontario, K1H 8L6, Canada; e-mail: <email@example.com>.
The 2011 winners of the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) Migel Medals, the highest honor in the field of blindness, are Lylas Mogk and William Wiener. The awards were established in 1937 by the late M. C. Migel, the first chairperson of AFB, to honor professionals and volunteers whose dedication and achievements have improved the lives of people who are blind or visually impaired. Dr. Mogk is a nationally recognized ophthalmologist and author whose mission is to empower those with vision loss to maximize their independence in daily activities, to preserve their dignity and quality of life, and to retain their joy in living. She was inspired by her patients and her father, who had AMD, to begin a vision rehabilitation service in her ophthalmology department. She is the founding director of the Henry Ford Health System Center for Vision Rehabilitation and Research in Grosse Pointe and Livonia, Michigan, and was instrumental in gaining Medicare coverage for vision rehabilitation for seniors in that state. She is the former chair of the American Academy of Ophthalmology Vision Rehabilitation Committee and the SmartSight Initiative in Vision Rehabilitation and a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of the Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness (JVIB). Dr. Mogk earned her medical degree from Wayne State University Medical School and completed her ophthalmology residency at the Kresge Eye Institute of Wayne State University, which named her its Distinguished Alumnus in 2007 for her work in vision rehabilitation. She is coauthor with her daughter, Marja Mogk, of the award-winning book, Macular Degeneration: The Complete Guide to Saving and Maximizing your Sight. Dr. Wiener is a renowned leader in orientation and mobility (O&M) and has played an integral role in the continuous development of the O&M profession. Early in his career, he chaired a committee to develop a code of ethics for O&M specialists that has since been incorporated into the process of certification for O&M professionals. In addition, he is an editor of Foundations of Orientation and Mobility, the essential reference and teaching text on O&M. Dr. Wiener is currently the dean in residence at the Council of Graduate Schools in Washington, D.C. Prior to that, he served as vice provost for research and dean of the Graduate School at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He is a former president of the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER), former chair of the Editorial Advisory Board of JVIB, and a member of the Board of Directors of AFB. He earned a doctorate degree in counselor education and supervision, a master's degree in rehabilitation of persons who are blind, and another master's degree in speech pathology and audiology. Dr. Wiener served 12 years as a faculty member and, later, as a program director of blind rehabilitation at Cleveland State University. He also served 14 years as chairperson of the Department of Blindness and Low Vision Studies at Western Michigan University. He is certified as an O&M specialist and as a rehabilitation counselor. Dr. Wiener's contributions to the blindness field have been recognized with AER's Ambrose Shotwell Award; the Lawrence E. Blaha Award; and Newcomer-Hill Award, which is presented by AER's Division on O&M. For more information, contact: Communications, AFB, 2 Penn Plaza, Suite 1102, New York, NY 10121; phone: 212-502-7615; web site: <www.afb.org>.
Paul S. Miller, an internationally renowned expert in disability and employment discrimination law, died in late October 2010. Upon graduation from Harvard Law School in 1986, Mr. Miller, who had dwarfism, received rejection letters from 40 law firms before he was eventually hired. By 1990, he was director of litigation for the disability rights law center at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, which led to a position as liaison to disability organizations for two U.S. presidents, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. The Henry M. Jackson Professor of Law for the University of Washington in Seattle, Mr. Miller was also, until 2009, director of the university's disabilities studies program. In addition, for 10 years before joining that school's faculty in 2004, he was a commissioner of the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. For more information, contact: University of Washington School of Law, William H. Gates Hall, Box 353020, Seattle, WA 98195; web site: <www.law.washington.edu/directory/Profile.aspx?ID=148>.
Geraldine T. Scholl, a former board member and trustee emeritus of AFB, also died in late October 2010. In 1985, Dr. Scholl was awarded the Migel Medal for her outstanding professional contributions to the field of visual impairment. She was a prolific author of books and articles, including the seminal publication Foundations of Education for Blind and Visually Handicapped Children and Youth: Theory and Practice, first published by AFB in 1986 and updated several times since then. Dr. Scholl earned a bachelor's degree from Marygrove College in 1941. While there, she joined the Braille Guild, which led to her life-long commitment to the education of blind children and a year at Perkins School for the Blind in Boston, where she learned to teach deaf-blind children. She earned a master's degree in education from Wayne University in Detroit in 1948, and also worked at the Michigan School for the Blind in Lansing--first as a teacher, then as the principal of its elementary school. After earning a doctorate from the University of Michigan in 1960, she was appointed assistant professor of education in 1962. She was promoted to professor for its Special Education Program in 1969. She also traveled extensively for the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare while studying the education of children and youths with visual impairments.
JVIB invites readers to submit information for possible publication in a future edition of From the Field to Rebecca Burrichter, senior editor, JVIB, AFB Press, American Foundation for the Blind, 2 Penn Plaza, Suite 1102, New York, NY 10121; fax: 917-210-3979; e-mail: <firstname.lastname@example.org>. For additional details on how to submit information for this From the Field column, as well as News, Calendar, Comments, Letters to the Editor, in addition to articles for peer review, visit <www.afb.org/jvib_guidelines.asp>.
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