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Moran Eye Center researcher Alessandra Angelucci appointed to endowed professorship

by paolo (comments: 0)

Published: July 20, 2018
Released by Moran Eye Center / University of Utah

University of Utah President Ruth Watkins has appointed two John A. Moran Eye Center researchers to endowed professorships.

Alessandra Angelucci, MD, PhD, now holds the Mary H. Boesche Endowed Professorship in Ophthalmology, while David Krizaj, PhD, is the John Frederick Carter Endowed Professor of Ophthalmology.

U of U graduates Rodney H. and Carolyn (Mitzi) Brady established the Boesche professorship in honor of Maureen K. Lundergan, MD, and Mano Swartz, MD. The late Rod Brady was the former president of Weber State University and served as CEO of the Deseret Management Corp. His wife is a retired teacher and niece of the late Mary H. Boesche.

Angelucci's research focuses on visual cortex circuitry and function—key knowledge in understanding exactly how vision occurs in the brain and how it might be reproduced using a prosthesis.

A National Institutes of Health BRAIN Initiative grantee, Angelucci is developing a new device that will support unprecedented investigations of neural function. The Utah Optrode Array will use optogenetics to selectively activate neurons using light rather than electricity. This new array will allow brain researchers to activate neurons more precisely.

The late George William and Beatrice Brain Carter established the Carter professorship in memory of their late son, who passed away at age 9. George Carter, a U of U graduate, taught mechanical engineering at the school for 13 years and was a member of the Health Sciences Council. He retired from Aerospace Co.

Krizaj’s research is uncovering how cells in the eye sense and interpret mechanical signals such as pressure. Normal pressure in the healthy eye maintains its shape and supports visual function; high pressure associated with debilitating diseases such as glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy can cause blindness.

Krizaj recently developed a new therapy that lowers eye pressure while protecting retinal neurons from mechanical stress. Ready for clinical trials, this therapy offers a new approach to treat glaucoma.

“Dr. Angelucci and Dr. Krizaj are truly remarkable researchers, and their work is essential to develop new treatments for blinding diseases,” said Moran CEO Randall J Olson, MD. “We are deeply appreciative of both the Brady and Carter families for their generosity and foresight in establishing these professorships.”


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