Eye on the prize: UH optometry students set record with fellowships


Five grad students rewarded, encouraged to pursue vision science careers

HOUSTON, Aug. 5, 2005 With research efforts recognized for everything from the basic focusing of the eye to contact lens design for patients with diseased corneas, the University of Houston now holds the record for receiving the most fellowships ever awarded to a single North American college of optometry.

Students in the UH College of Optometry were awarded five of eight William C. Ezell Fellowships from the American Optometric Foundation (AOF). The Ezell Fellowships are awarded to encourage the most talented graduate students in physiological optics and vision science programs to pursue full-time careers in optometric research and education in schools and colleges of optometry. The fellows are selected on the basis of excellence in scholarship, research and teaching.

"As Ezell Fellows, these five UH students are in the company of the top researchers in the field," said Laura Frishman, associate dean of the UH College of Optometry. "Their selection for this honor really showcases the diversity of research and leadership of our students in this college."

The UH recipients are Joy Martin, Jason Marsack, Lisa Ostrin, Ling Chi Huang and Danielle M. Robertson. Huang and Ostrin, who are in a joint O.D./Ph.D. program, will receive their O.D. degrees from UH in August. Martin and Robertson already have received O.D. degrees from UH, and Jason Marsack holds an M.S. degree in biomedical engineering. All five are currently working toward completing their Ph.D. degrees from UH.

Martin was named as the Advanced Medical Optics Ezell Fellow to conduct her research in adaptive optics imaging of retinal blood flow. Marsack was given the Bausch & Lomb Ezell Fellow award for his research on wavefront guided design of contact lenses for patients with corneas distorted by disease.

Ostrin was awarded the Essilor of American Ezell Fellowship for her research in the focus mechanisms in the lens of the eye. Huang and Robertson were both given the VISTAKON Ezell Fellowships Huang for his immunological studies of the cornea and Robertson for her research in molecular mechanisms of corneal epithelial cell death and survival.

Established in 1949, the AOF is dedicated to the advancement of optometric education and research, awarding more than 200 fellowships since then. Included among former Ezell Fellows are 21 optometric deans and presidents, 91 optometric faculty members and 95 Fellows of the American Academy of Optometry, including three of its presidents. The 2005-2006 recipients will be honored at the AOF's Annual Research Luncheon Dec. 11 during the American Academy of Optometry's Annual Meeting in San Diego.

Source: Eurekalert & others

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