Rajendra S. Apte, MD, PhD, the Paul A. Cibis Distinguished Professor of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences, is one of three recipients of the 2014 Pfizer Ophthalmics Carl Camras Translational Research Award. The award, given by the ARVO Foundation for Eye Research, recognize researchers ages 45 or younger who have exhibited excellence in research that has led to, or has promise of leading to, clinical applications.
Apte received the $10,000 award for research on inflammation in the eye and its relationship to the formation of unwanted blood vessels there. He was the first to demonstrate that a substance called macrophage migration inhibitory factor can be found in the eye’s aqueous humor and that it has the ability to suppress natural killer cell activity in the eye, protecting the retina from injury caused by those cells.
The findings have spawned a series of translational studies, leading to work developing drugs to treat age-related macular degeneration and biomarkers for macular degeneration and dry eye disease.
Other 2014 Camras Award recipients are Farhad Hafezi, MD, PhD, of Geneva University Hospitals and the University of Southern California, and Hendrik P.N. Scholl, MD, of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. The ARVO Foundation for Eye Research was established in 2001 to ensure support for vision research, particularly translational research that fosters collaborations between clinicians and basic scientists. ARVO (the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology) is the largest eye and vision research organization in the world.