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Right Eminent Department Commander James W. Gollady, Jr. (right) presents Hotaling with a check from the Knights Templar Eye Foundation. “I believe this award will help pave the way for me to pursue a career in medical research,” Hotaling said. (NEI’s Joe Balintfy)
The Knights Templar Eye Foundation has awarded a $65,000 grant to NEI research fellow Nathan Hotaling, PhD, to create a stem cell-based method to study Best disease, a genetic condition that can cause progressive vision loss. Researchers would be able to use the device to create tests to track the cellular changes that contribute to Best disease, which usually begins in childhood.
“With this grant, Dr. Hotaling will be able to use stem cells to better understand the fundamental basis for Best disease,” said Sheldon Miller, Ph.D., NEI Scientific Director. “This grant is an excellent example of how collaboration and collaborations are advancing medical research for the benefit of the American people.”
The retina, or light-sensitive tissue that forms the back of the eye, is affected by Best disease, also known as vitelliform macular dystrophy. Best disease causes cell disruption in the macula, a small region near the middle of the eye. The macula is in charge of sharp central vision, which is essential for tasks like reading, driving, and recognizing faces.
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The Wilmer Eye Institute and the Knights Templar Eye Foundation have been working together since 1985, when Alfred Edward Maumenee Jr., MD formed the Scientific Advisory Committee. From 1955 to 1979, Maumenee, a Knight, was the director of the Wilmer Eye Institute. KTEF’s Scientific Advisory Committee, which composed of five distinguished ophthalmologists from across the United States in its early years, screened all grant applications for pediatric ophthalmology research. Wilmer faculty members have earned KTEF grants for various pediatric ophthalmology endeavors for nearly 30 years.
The Knights Templar increased their support for Wilmer in 2016 by endowing the Knights Templar Eye Foundation Professorship in Ophthalmology, which will allow a carefully chosen Wilmer clinician and clinician-researcher to investigate and develop new therapies for eye diseases and dysfunction.
THOMAS M. “MAC” BOSLEY, MD, earned his BA and MD degrees from Yale University and Stanford University, respectively. He earned his board certification in neurology (ABPN) in 1983 after completing a neurology residency at the University of Pennsylvania. He also completed fellowships in neuro-ophthalmology and neurochemistry at Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia and the Institute of Neurology in Queens Square, London.
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“To provide assistance to those who face loss of sight due to the need for surgical care without regard to race, colour, creed, age, sex, or national origin provided they are unable to pay or obtain sufficient assistance from current government agencies or similar sources, and to provide funds for research in curing diseases of the eye,” according to the Foundation’s original mandate.
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The Knights Templar Eye Foundation, Inc. changed its emphasis and adopted a new mission statement on December 31, 2010, at the direction of the board: “to enhance vision through science, education, and promoting access to treatment.” The Foundation also only provides direct patient care through the Seniors Eye Care Program, which is run in collaboration with EyeCare America and the American Academy of Ophthalmology Foundation. Via grants that fund science and education, the Foundation will help countless millions of people for years to come.
164+ Million Dollars Have Been Spent
The Foundation has spent over $164 million on science, patient care, and education since its founding.
Researchers working in the fields of pediatric ophthalmology and ophthalmic genetics have been awarded research grants worth more than $30 million.
5EndowmentsAll endowed professorships and research endowments are paid $2 million, with the university matching it dollar for dollar.
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