The funds will be used to support research fellowships and purchase state-of-the-art technology that advances research on diseases such as age-related macular degeneration and retinitis pigmentosa. The grant includes $1 million for instruments to perform promising procedures such as stem cell transplantation to repair damaged retinal cells and $2 million to establish fellowships for young researchers in the field of stem cell studies and other emerging areas of eye-related research.
An earlier $2 million grant from the foundation supported construction of a 70,000-square-foot facility for the Herbert Eye Institute on the UCI campus. Scheduled to open for patients in September, the facility includes design features recommended by the Braille Institute that make navigation of the building easier for low-vision patients.
"We are grateful to the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation for demonstrating confidence in the quality of scientific discovery taking place at the Gavin Herbert Eye Institute," said Roger Steinert, professor and chair of ophthalmology and director of the institute. "Researchers here share the late Dr. Beckman's commitment to excellence and will use this grant to strategically support our bold goal of eradicating blindness by 2020."