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Mass. Eye and Ear Announces Curing Kids Fund Grant Recipients

Boston (June 14, 2011) — Mass. Eye and Ear and the Curing Kids Fund are proud to announce the awarding of four research grants to Mass. Eye and Ear investigators.

Last October Mass. Eye and Ear held the inaugural Sense-ation! Gala, which netted well over $800,000 for the new Mass. Eye and Ear Curing Kids Fund. This fund was created to help us bring life-changing treatments to children and to accelerate cures and innovations through research.

The grants awarded this week are each for two years and for just over $50,000.  The four projects, selected from an impressive pool of 15, each focus on helping children who are affected by vision and hearing loss. The projects and lead investigators are:

• Gene Therapy Approach to Correct Genetic Deafness – PI: Zheng-Yi Chen, D. Phil.
•  Ex-vivo Expansion of Corneal and Oral Stem Cells for Autologous Cornea Transplantion: from Bench to Bedside. – PI: Ula Jurkunas, M.D.,
• New Approaches to Auditory Rehabilitation in Children with Hearing Impairments. –   P.I: Daniel Polley,  Ph.D., and
• “Development of an Advanced ‘Smart Glasses’ Prototype to Provide Navigation Assistance for Blind Children.” –  PI: Joseph Rizzo, M.D.

“On behalf of the internal review committee, I would like to extend our appreciation to all who submitted proposals. All were impressed by the thought and care our scientists put into developing research projects to help children,” said Mass. Eye and Ear President and CEO John Fernandez.

The four grants awarded are just one aspect of the Curing Kids Fund. Monies from the fund will also provide services for needy children such as eyeglasses and hearing aids, support core research, and to seed a Curing Kids endowment for research to help children.

Mass. Eye and Ear hopes to add significantly to the Curing Kids Fund in the years to come. The next Sense-ation! Gala will take place on Oct. 18 at the Renaissance Waterfront Hotel in Boston.

Founded in 1824, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary is an independent specialty hospital providing patient care for disorders of the eye, ear, nose, throat, head and neck. Mass. Eye and Ear is an international leader in Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology research and a teaching partner of Harvard Medical School. For more information, call 617-523-7900 or visit http://www.masseyeandear.org/.