Eye On the Cure Research News

May 20, 2019

Dr. Don Zack Honored for Research Contributions by ARVO and the Foundation Fighting Blindness

Dr. Zack is a member of the Foundation’s Scientific Advisory Board and chairs its Cellular Molecular Mechanisms of Disease study section.

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On May 16, 2019, the Baltimore Chapter of the Foundation Fighting Blindness honored Donald Zack, MD, PhD, a world-renowned retinal researcher from Johns Hopkins University, Wilmer Eye Institute, at its Wine & Dine for Sight fundraiser. 

Photo of Donald Zack, MD, PhD

Donald Zack, MD, PhD

Dr. Zack, the Guerrieri Professor of Genetic Engineering and Molecular Ophthalmology and co-director of the Center for Stem Cells and Ocular Regenerative Medicine (STORM), began receiving Foundation funding in 1994 to identify sight-saving treatments for people with retinal diseases. He is also a member of the Foundation’s Scientific Advisory Board and chairs its Cellular Molecular Mechanisms of Disease study section.

On April 29, he received the 2019 Freidenwald Award for identifying compounds known as kinase inhibitors that demonstrate strong potential for inhibiting the cellular signals that lead to death of retinal ganglion cells and photoreceptors, the cells that make vision possible. The Foundation funded Dr. Zack for some of this research, which may benefit people with glaucoma and inherited retinal diseases like retinitis pigmentosa.

Presented by the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO), the Friedenwald Award was established in 1957 as a memorial to Dr. Jonas S. Friedenwald, a distinguished researcher whose contributions encompassed the entire field of ophthalmic investigations and laid the groundwork for future generations of investigators.

He is an extraordinary critical thinker who brings extensive knowledge and insight to his and his colleague’s research efforts.

Brian Mansfield PhD

“We are delighted to recognize Don for his impactful research contributions, outstanding service to the Foundation and its constituents, and receiving the prestigious Freidenwald Award,” says Brian Mansfield, PhD, executive vice president and interim chief scientific officer at the Foundation. “He is an extraordinary critical thinker who brings extensive knowledge and insight to his and his colleague’s research efforts. In addition to his innovative studies, he provides very helpful feedback and perspectives during our grants evaluation process.”

Dr. Zack received his medical degree and doctorate in molecular immunology from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. He completed his residency in ophthalmology at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary at Harvard University. He completed fellowship training in glaucoma and molecular biology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and joined the faculty in 1991. Dr. Zack has published more than 160 peer-reviewed journal articles.