Massachusetts Eye and Ear/HMS Department of Ophthalmology Awarded Grants from Research to Prevent Blindness

July 01, 2013

Boston (July 2013) – Research to Prevent Blindness (RPB) has awarded grants to the Massachusetts Eye and Ear and Department of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School (HMS) to support research into the causes, treatment and prevention of blinding diseases. Mass. Eye and Ear/HMS researchers Demetrios Vavvas, M.D., Ph.D., Kip M. Connor, Ph.D., and Chunyan Qiao, M.D., Ph.D., have also been awarded grants from the organization.

An RPB grant of $110,000 has been awarded to Mass. Eye and Ear/HMS Department of Ophthalmology. The grant will support research directed by Joan W. Miller, M.D., Chief of Ophthalmology at Massachusetts Eye and Ear and Chair of the Department of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School.

An RPB International Research Scholar Award in the amount of $3,000 was awarded to Chunyan Qiao, M.D., Ph.D. RPB’s International Research Scholars Awards enable foreign scientists to collaborate with their American counterparts in eye research. Upon returning home, investigators are expected to apply their new knowledge to the prevention and treatment of eye diseases. Dr. Qiao is conducting research in the lab of Dr. Janey Wiggs.

Massachusetts Eye and Ear/Schepens Eye Institute researcher Kip M. Connor, Ph.D., was awarded the Research to Prevent Blindness Sybil B. Harrington Special Scholar Award for Macular Degeneration in the amount of $55, 000. The award, part of RPBs Special Scholar Program, is designed to support outstanding young scientists who are conducting research of unusual significance and promise. Dr. Connor is an ophthalmology researcher in the Howe Laboratory of Ophthalmology at Mass. Eye and Ear.

Massachusetts Eye and Ear researcher Demetrios Vavvas, M.D., Ph.D., was awarded a $100,000 RPB Physician-Scientist Award. The award allows physicians at medical institutions in the United States to devote more time to clinical eye research activities, providing greater opportunities for specialized study with direct application to the human condition.

“We are grateful for the continued support from Research to Prevent Blindness. Their funding is essential to our research programs to find cures for diseases that cause blindness and visual impairment worldwide,” said Dr. Miller.

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. Now united with Schepens Eye Research Institute, Mass. Eye and Ear is the world's largest vision and hearing research center, developing new treatments and cures 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

About Research to Prevent Blindness
RPB is the world’s leading voluntary organization supporting eye research. Since it was founded in 1960, RPB has channeled hundreds of millions of dollars to medical institutions throughout the United States for research into blinding eye diseases. For information on RPB, RPB-funded research, eye disorders and the RPB Grants Program, go to