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Ula V. Jurkunas, M.D., is Awarded the Alcon Research Institute Young Investigator Grant

Contact: Mary Leach
617-573-4170

Boston (April 8, 2013) – Ula V. Jurkunas, M.D., Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School, specialist in corneal and refractive surgery at Massachusetts Eye and Ear and Assistant Scientist at Schepens Eye Research Institute, has recently been awarded with the Alcon Research Institute Young Investigator Grant for 2013.  Dr. Jurkunas is a resident of Winchester, Mass.

The Alcon Research Institute Young Investigator Grant is a highly competitive award intended to encourage and promote the early career development of clinicians and scientists entering research in vision science and ophthalmology. Awardees receive grants from Alcon Research Institute (ARI) to further research in their specific areas of expertise within ophthalmic or optometric research. This is a worldwide application and eight recipients are chosen each year for the grant.

The $50,000 grant will be applied to support research in corneal and external disease at Massachusetts Eye and Ear and Schepens Eye Research Institute. Dr. Jurkunas will be studying the pathogenesis of Fuchs dystrophy which is an age-related corneal endothelial disorder that causes a gradual decline in vision. Currently, there are no medical therapies for Fuchs dystrophy and corneal transplantation is the only treatment modality to restore vision. The studies in Dr. Jurkunas’ laboratory will be investigating how lifelong damage to the cellular DNA and specifically mitochondrial DNA leads to the development of Fuchs dystrophy.
The award will be presented to Dr. Jurkunas at the annual Award Symposium to be held at Alcon headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas.


About Massachusetts Eye and Ear
Mass. Eye and Ear clinicians and scientists are driven by a mission to find cures for blindness, deafness and diseases of the head and neck. After uniting with Schepens Eye Research Institute in 2011, Mass. Eye and Ear in Boston became the world's largest vision and hearing research center, offering hope and healing to patients everywhere through discovery and innovation. Mass. Eye and Ear is a Harvard Medical School teaching hospital and trains future medical leaders in ophthalmology and otolaryngology, through residency as well as clinical and research fellowships. Internationally acclaimed since its founding in 1824, Mass. Eye and Ear employs full-time, board-certified physicians who offer high-quality and affordable specialty care that ranges from the routine to the very complex. U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Hospitals Survey” has consistently ranked the Mass. Eye and Ear Departments of Otolaryngology and Ophthalmology as top five in the nation. For more information about life-changing care and research, or to learn how you can help, please visit MassEyeAndEar.org.