Public Release: 

AFER announces 2011 Vistakon Fellowship recipients

Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology

Rockville, Md. - ARVO Foundation for Eye Research (AFER) congratulates the first AFER/Vistakon Dry Eye Fellowship recipients -- Andrea Petznick, PhD, and Juan Ding, PhD. Each received $40,000 to support their dry eye research and will be honored at the 2012 ARVO Annual Meeting on Sunday, May 6, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

"AFER is honored to provide funding for dry eye research, through the support of Vistakon, for the first time in the foundation's history." said AFER Chair Nicolas G. Bazan, MD, PhD, FARVO. "Our objective is to help both recipients complete their ambitious research to improve the treatment of and eventually lead to a cure for one of the most common eye disorders."

Petznick, a postdoctoral research fellow, Singapore Eye Research Institute, will conduct clinical research that leads to better management and therapy for Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD) and/or standardized international practices for MGD care that reduce patient pain and discomfort. Specifically, her study involves novel heat treatments and their impact on the tear film, meibum composition and glandular structures.

Ding, a postdoctoral fellow at the Schepens Eye Research Institute at Harvard Medical School, will examine basic research on mechanisms that cause MGD terminal duct obstruction and/or altered MGD secretory composition, including the influence of isotretinoin on MGD.

Dry eye syndrome is a chronic issue from which over 10 million Americans suffer. It occurs when the eye does not produce tears properly or when they evaporate too quickly. The most common cause of dry eye syndrome is normal aging; however, lifestyles and climates can contribute to this disease. If left untreated, this disease can lead to pain, ulcers or scars on the cornea.

The Vistakon Dry Eye fellowships are presented to investigators who are under the age of 45 at the application deadline. Fellowships are for a period of one year and will commence within six months of the award notification.


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The ARVO Foundation for Eye Research (AFER), now in its 10th year, complements ARVO's mission to cure and prevent blindness and eye disease by providing funding to promote scientific interactions and exchange; foster translational research and move forward scientific breakthroughs from the laboratory to clinical practice; and recruit and retain scientists in all fields of vision research. Learn more at

The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) is the largest eye and vision research organization in the world. Members include more than 12,500 eye and vision researchers from over 80 countries. ARVO encourages and assists research, training, publication and knowledge-sharing in vision and ophthalmology.

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