Knights Templar

Christopher Bennett, Ph.D., Awarded Research Grant from Knights Templar Eye Foundation

June 21, 2018

Boston, Mass. — Christopher Bennett, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow in the Laboratory for Visual Neuroplasticity at Massachusetts Eye and Ear, has received a grant in the amount of $57,500 from the Officers and Trustees of the Knights Templar Eye Foundation, Inc. This award will support Dr. Bennett’s research efforts to develop and test virtual reality simulations designed to assess and train visual special processing skills in individuals with ocular and cerebral visual impairment. He will work under the mentorship of Lotfi Merabet, O.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Bennett has been studying in Dr. Merabet’s lab for the past year and a half. The Laboratory for Visual Neuroplasticity focuses on the development of assistive technology for the visually impaired and uses a combination of behavioral and neuroimaging techniques to study changes that occur in the brain as a result of ocular and cerebral causes of blindness.

“This award is crucial in helping solidify Dr. Bennett’s fellowship as he focuses on developing his own line of independent research,” said Dr. Merabet. “We are grateful for the support provided by the Knights Templar and their commitment to helping establish the careers of young investigators.”

“Receiving funding support for this project helps us shine a light on the differences between ocular and cerebral based forms of visual impairment,” said Dr. Bennett. “I am grateful that this award fosters my early career development. At a personal level, I am pleased to be given the opportunity to advocate for children with visual impairments."

About Knights Templar Eye Foundation, Inc.

Since the Knights Templar Eye Foundation, Inc., was founded in 1956, it has channeled over $148 million to research, patient care, and education. It has provided over $24 million in grants in support of research and education in the field of ophthalmology and ophthalmic genetics. For more information on the Knights Templar Eye Foundation, Inc., and its research grants, please visit

About Massachusetts Eye and Ear 
Massachusetts Eye and Ear, founded in 1824, is an international center for treatment and research and a teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School. Specializing in ophthalmology (eye care) and otolaryngology-head and neck surgery (ear, nose and throat care), Mass. Eye and Ear clinicians provide care ranging from the routine to the very complex. Also home to the world's largest community of hearing and vision researchers, Mass. Eye and Ear has pioneered new treatments for blindness, deafness and diseases of the head and neck. Our scientists are driven by a mission to discover the basic biology underlying these conditions and to develop new treatments and cures. In the 2017-2018 "Best Hospitals Survey," U.S. News & World Report ranked Mass. Eye and Ear #1 in New England for eye (#4 in nation) and ear, nose and throat care (#2 in nation). For more information about life-changing care and research at Mass. Eye and Ear, please visit our blog, Focus, and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

About Harvard Medical School Department of Ophthalmology
The Harvard Medical School Department of Ophthalmology ( is one of the leading and largest academic departments of ophthalmology in the nation. More than 400 full-time faculty and trainees work at nine Harvard Ophthalmology affiliate institutions, including Massachusetts Eye and Ear, Schepens Eye Research Institute of Massachusetts Eye and Ear, Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston Children’s Hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Joslin Diabetes Center/Beetham Eye Institute, Veterans Affairs Boston Healthcare System, VA Maine Healthcare System, and Cambridge Health Alliance. Formally established in 1871, the department has been built upon a strong and rich foundation in medical education, research, and clinical care. Through the years, faculty and alumni have profoundly influenced ophthalmic science, medicine, and literature—helping to transform the field of ophthalmology from a branch of surgery into an independent medical specialty at the forefront of science.