Challenge Grant helps focus Dr. Moroi’s emerging eye research program

As professor and chair of The Ohio State University College of Medicine’s Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, Sayoko E. Moroi, MD, PhD, has set her sights on building a department of faculty, students and researchers who thrive on mentorship, camaraderie, teamwork and research. She believes together, as a team, they can accomplish state-of-the-art patient care, education and research to restore, preserve and enhance vision to improve lives for all. Dr. Moroi has made it her life’s work to prevent glaucoma-related blindness and eye diseases that threaten vision.Sayoko Moroi

The department just received a New Chair Challenge Grant from Research to Prevent Blindness (RPB) which supports growth for emerging eye research programs and recently appointed department chairs.

Dr. Moroi returned to Ohio State from the University of Michigan in 2020 to give back in service as department chair in appreciation of her MD and PhD training, which she received at Ohio State. She was a recipient of a Research Career Development from Research to Prevent Blindness at the University of Michigan in 2000. While at Michigan for 25 years, she was conducting research and caring for patients with complex cataracts and glaucoma. Dr. Moroi says the support from RPB can be used for pilot studies, beginning new lines of research and even the purchase of high-tech equipment.

“These funds provide great flexibility and are one of the few available sources of unrestricted funding from a private foundation,” Dr. Moroi says. “Being able to develop our vision research program in gene-based therapies of blinding eye diseases and building our infrastructure for machine learning and artificial intelligence will improve quality of life and improve treatment outcomes of blinding eye diseases.”

Carol R. Bradford, MD, MS, FACS, dean of the Ohio State College of Medicine says the award is a testament to the strength of the vision research that is being performed at Ohio State.

“Research is an integral part of what makes us such a force in the global medical community, says Dr. Bradford.

Since it was founded in 1960 as a nonprofit organization supporting vision research, RPB has channeled more than $403 million into eye research and as a result, RPB-supported researchers (external link) have been associated with nearly every major breakthrough in the understanding and treatment of vision loss over the past 62 years.

“We are extremely grateful for recognition by scientific advisory panel of Research to Prevent Blindness as an emerging eye research program,” Dr. Moroi says. This RPB Challenge Grant will allow us to invest resources for high-impact vision research.”