Aug 30, 2012    #104
Contact: John Austin

UMKC Department of Ophthalmology Awarded Blindness Prevention Grant

Research will examine causes, treatment and prevention of blinding diseases

Researchers in the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine have received a four-year challenge grant of $220,000 from Research to Prevent Blindness, the leading voluntary health organization supporting eye research directed at the prevention, treatment or eradication of all diseases that threaten vision. The research will be directed by Nelson Sabates, M.D., Chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology and Director of the Vision Research Center at UMKC.

The research being conducted by Dr. Sabates and his colleagues is focused on two goals: 1) understanding the vision process at a cellular level and what happens when components at that level do not work correctly (such as in a disease process); and 2) making strides in treatments at the clinical level to save or improve patients' vision.

UMKC's vision researchers are well known for their studies on basic retinal cell biology and pharmacology, ophthalmic drug delivery and drug development for retinal diseases.

"Our researchers are not only investigating new promising medicines, but also new diagnostic and surgical techniques," Dr. Sabates said. "With support like this grant from RPB, we hope to expand on our goals and develop a link that translates our basic and translational research to new clinical breakthroughs."

Since it was founded in 1960, RPB has channeled hundreds of millions of dollars to medical institutions throughout the United States for research into all blinding eye diseases. For information on RPB, RPB-funded research, eye disorders and the RPB Grants Program, go to

About the Vision Research Center

Founded and led by Nelson R. Sabates, MD, Professor and Chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology at the UMKC School of Medicine, the mission of the Vision Research Center is to develop prevention strategies and cures for debilitating diseases. With its interdisciplinary structure, the VRC represents the type of collaboration needed to develop prevention strategies and cutting-edge treatments for some of the most pressing eye diseases in order to make a difference in the lives of millions of people worldwide. The center's nationally-recognized excellence in research, patient care, and medical education contribute to Kansas City's strengths in the life sciences. For more information, visit

About the UMKC School of Medicine

The UMKC School of Medicine was founded in 1971 as an innovative combined degree program. From its baccalaureate/MD curriculum to a docent system that emphasizes small group learning, the school has remained a trendsetter in medical education and research. For more information about the UMKC School of Medicine, visit You can also find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

About the University of Missouri-Kansas City

The University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC), one of four University of Missouri campuses, is a public university serving more than 15,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students. UMKC engages with the community and economy based on a four-part mission: life and health sciences; visual and performing arts; urban issues and education; and a vibrant learning and campus life experience. For more information about UMKC, visit You can also find us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and watch us on YouTube.

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This information is available to people with speech or hearing impairments by calling Relay Missouri at (800) 735-2966 (TT) or (800) 735-2466 (voice).


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