NEI’s Dr. Rachel R. Caspi Receives Friedenwald Award

News Brief
The 2010 Friedenwald Award is presented to Dr. Rachel R. Caspi by Dr. Justine Smith.

On May 4, Rachel Caspi, Ph.D., chief of the NEI’s Immunoregulation Section in the Laboratory of Immunology, received the 2010 Friedenwald Award. The Friedenwald Award is presented each year for outstanding contributions to basic or clinical research in ophthalmology by the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO).

The award was presented for her “fundamental and widely influential contributions to ocular and systemic immunology, including the understanding of uveitis as an autoimmune disease, the development and thorough characterization of animal models of autoimmune uveitis, and the nature of autoimmunity.”

Dr. Caspi’s research interests include cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in T cell-mediated, tissue-specific autoimmunity. She is focused on understanding the development and maintenance of self-tolerance to immunologically privileged retinal antigens, and on defining the processes that lead to their pathological breakdown. Her goal is to use this knowledge for designing new and effective strategies for immunotherapy. Dr. Caspi’s approaches and conclusions can be generalized to other tissue-specific autoimmune diseases.

ARVO was founded in 1928 in Washington, D.C., by 73 ophthalmologists. Today, the Association’s membership is comprised of more than 12,500 individuals.