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Home » NEI Audacious Goals Initiative » National Advisory Eye Council (NAEC) AG Working Group

National Advisory Eye Council (NAEC) AG Working Group

Meeting Date: January 22, 2014

The NEI expanded its strategic planning activities by challenging the vision research community to identify a long-term Audacious Goal in vision research. After gathering ideas, planning and discussions, the NEI's goal was established: Regenerate Neurons and Neural Connections in the Eye and Visual System.

This AG working group was charged with identifying a more specific cell/tissue target under the rather broad goal. We decided that the two most compelling targets are photoreceptor cells and retinal ganglion cells, but there was no consensus, at this time, that one should be considered over the other.

The loss of either cell type by disease or injury leads to severe visual disorders and blindness. It was considered feasible that, within 10-15 years, replacing damaged cells with normal functioning cells could be achieved. The overarching purpose is to replace or regenerate cells in patients in order to restore useful vision, i.e., pattern vision not simply visual reflexes, after degeneration of photoreceptor cells or after severe damage to the retinal ganglion cells.

Richard Masland, Ph.D., Co-Chair
Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary
Harvard University
Boston, MA

Marco A. Zarbin, M.D., Ph.D., Co-Chair
Professor and Chairman
Department of Ophthalmology
UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School
Newark, NJ

Ben Barres, Ph.D.
Departments of Neurobiology, Developmental Biology, Neurology and Neurological Sciences
Stanford University
Stanford, CA

Carlos Belmonte, Ph.D.
Neuroscience Institute
Miguel Hernandez University
Alicante, Spain

Larry Benowitz, Ph.D.
Department of Surgery and Ophthalmology, Harvard Medical School
Laboratory for Neuroscience Research in Neurosurgery, F.M. Kirby Neurobiology Center, Children's Hospital
Boston, MA

David R. Copenhagen, Ph.D.
Departments of Ophthalmology and Physiology
University of California School of Medicine
San Francisco, CA

Laura J. Frishman, Ph.D.
College of Optometry
University of Houston
Houston, TX

David Gamm, M.D., Ph.D.
McPherson Eye Research Institute
University of Wisconsin
Madison, WI

Jeremy Nathans, M.D., Ph.D.
Molecular Biology and Genetics, Neuroscience, & Ophthalmology
Johns Hopkins University
Baltimore, MD

Rafael Yuste, M.D., Ph.D.
Department of Biological Sciences
Columbia University
New York, NY

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Last Updated: February 2014

Department of Health and Human Services NIH, the National Institutes of Health