To be established within the Pitt School of Medicine Department of Ophthalmology, the program will conduct research aimed at helping scientists better understand the biological mechanisms of how the eye and brain work together and will use that knowledge to develop new ways to restore vision using technologies such as brain/computer interfaces and optogenetics. The grant also will support efforts to recruit new faculty and establish laboratories in pursuit of those goals.
In March, UPMC broke ground on UPMC Vision and Rehabilitation at UPMC Mercy, which when completed will provide innovative programs for the visually impaired as well as advanced specialty clinical care in the treatment of complex ocular diseases.
"As the world's population continues to grow and age, the number of individuals with visual impairments is expected to triple by the year 2050, and Pittsburgh, with its aging population, will be highly affected by this epidemic of vision loss," said José-Alain Sahel, director of the UPMC Eye Center and Eye and Ear Foundation chair of ophthalmology at the Pitt School of Medicine. "We have established world class vision research and clinical care in Pittsburgh, and the cortical vision program will bring together the brightest minds to develop therapies that will directly benefit the people in our communities and around the world."
(Photo credit: Gettyimages/batke)