Mar 17, 2016

Two New Videos Highlight the Foundation’s Vital Role in Retinal Research

Science Education

Dr. Shannon Boye and her Foundation-funded research is the subject of not just one but two new Foundation videos.

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Photo of Dr. Shannon Boye and colleagues in the laboratory.

Dr. Shannon Boye, far right, shares her lab’s work with visitors Brendon Cavainolo and his mother, Lisa.

As everyone knows, there is never just one side to a story. That’s certainly true in the case of Dr. Shannon Boye, whose Foundation-funded research is the subject of not just one but two new Foundation videos.

In “Harnessing Nature to Save Vision,” Dr. Boye, an assistant professor in the University of Florida’s ophthalmology department, does a bang-up job of describing one project in particular. Noting that her lab’s research team is focused on developing vision-saving gene therapies, she compares a new delivery system it’s working on to “newer, stronger taxi cabs” delivering cargo designed to simplify treatments and combat multiple diseases.

And this work, she makes clear, has been facilitated by funding and support from the Foundation Fighting Blindness.

"Driving Research, Saving Vision" takes her story a step further, by intertwining it with the challenges faced by Brendon Cavainolo, a Florida teenager who's lost a good deal of his eyesight to a disease known as X-linked retinoschisis. In the video, Brendan and his mother, Lisa, visit Dr. Boye's lab, where they learn about the promising work she's doing—and how, one day, it may very well benefit Brendon directly.

In tandem, these videos demonstrate the Foundation’s commitment to two groups of people—those affected by vision-robbing retinal diseases, of which there are tens of millions worldwide, and the hundreds of investigators it has funded for 45 years to help bring an end to blindness caused by these diseases.

Dr. Boye, in particular, is a recent recipient of the Foundation’s Board of Directors Award. She’s also a member of a new generation of retinal researchers whose work coincides with a pivotal moment, when a wave of clinical trials are underway, some of which are rendering sight-saving results.

But the researchers’ work is far from over, which is why the Foundation will be using these new videos to promote and raise funds for its work over the next year. As Brendon’s mom, Lisa, makes clear, “There’s so much research out there that’s actually meaningful.”

We couldn’t agree more.