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Award-winning scientist to receive fifth annual Pepose Award from Brandeis

Richard Masland will accept the the fifth annual Jay Pepose ’75 Award in Vision Sciences from Brandeis on March 12.

By David E. Nathan

Award-winning scientist Richard Masland, whose retinal research has yielded important insights into cell organization and the functioning of higher visual centers, will receive the fifth annual Jay Pepose ’75 Award in Vision Sciences from Brandeis University.

The Pepose Award is funded by a $1 million endowment established in 2009 through a gift from Brandeis alumni Jay Pepose ’75, MA ’75, P ’08 and Susan K. Feigenbaum ’74, P ’08, his wife, through the Lifelong Vision Foundation. The endowment also supports graduate research fellowships in vision science.

Masland will receive the award and deliver a public lecture, “The Neuronal Organization of the Retina: Answers and Problems” at 4 p.m. on March 12 in Gerstenzang 121. He will be introduced by John Lisman, the Zalman Abraham Kekst Chair in Neuroscience and professor of biology at Brandeis.

Masland, the David Glendenning Cogan Professor of Ophthalmology and a professor of neurobiology at Harvard Medical School, received the Alcon Foundation’s Research Award in 2012 and the Proctor Medal from the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) in 2010. He serves as associate chief for ophthalmology research and director of the Howe Laboratory, and is a senior scientist at the Schepens Eye Research Institute.

“Dr. Masland’s pioneering studies define the complex organization of the retina that underlies the visual percept,” Pepose said. “His work on ganglion cells may translate into a better understanding and treatment of glaucoma and inherited retinal disorders.”

Masland’s lab was the first to reveal the retina as a multiple parallel system made up of more than 60 cell types, which are organized into more than a dozen parallel informational channels. The lab is working to characterize the array of retinal ganglion cells in hopes of gaining a better understanding of how the higher visual centers work.

Past winners of the Pepose Award include Gordon Fain, University of California, Los Angeles; Michael Stryker, University of California, San Francisco; Peter Schiller, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and Jay and Maureen Neitz, University of Washington.

Pepose is the founder and medical director of the Pepose Vision Institute in St. Louis and a professor of clinical ophthalmology at Washington University. He founded and serves as board president of the Lifelong Vision Foundation, whose mission is to preserve lifelong vision for people in the St. Louis community, nationally and internationally through research, community programs and education programs. He was part of the inaugural class of ARVO fellows inducted in 2009. While a student at Brandeis, he worked closely with Lisman. 

Categories: Campus News, Giving
Date: February 24, 2014