The Carver Family Center for Macular Degeneration (CMD) at the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine is being named in recognition of the overall gift commitment by the Carver family: Lucille A. Carver of Muscatine, Iowa, who is the widow of Roy J. Carver Sr., who died in 1981; John and Marcia Carver of Rapids City, Ill.; Martin G. and Ruth A. Carver of Muscatine, Iowa; and Roy J. Carver Jr. of Bettendorf, Iowa.
The renaming of the Center for Macular Degeneration for the Carver family is pending approval by the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, at its next meeting March 20-21 in Ottumwa.
The $5 million portion of the Carver family gift that created and named the John and Marcia Carver Nonprofit Genetic Testing Laboratory (NGTL), and $1.2 million for the Carver NGTL from the Foundation Fighting Blindness, were previously announced by the UI on Feb. 3.
"The Carver family has long understood this university's strengths, capabilities and needs in many areas, but nowhere more so than in the health sciences," said UI President David Skorton. "This creative act of generosity on the part of the Carver family will enable one of the UI's premier centers of excellence to continue pursuing innovative research that holds great promise for all who have, or some day may be affected by, blinding eye diseases. This gift from the Carvers -- along with those from Gary and Cammy Seamans, Leo Hauser and the Foundation Fighting Blindness -- constitute a landmark for UI biomedical research."
The three endowed chairs and the faculty recipients are:
"This gift from the Carver family will be very important to the work of the UI Center for Macular Degeneration in many ways," Stone said. "First, it will help us build upon our already strong group of interdisciplinary vision scientists and allow these scientists to accelerate their work toward a cure for a number of blinding eye diseases. Second, it will help us expand our model for nonprofit genetic testing laboratory to an international level. The combination of these things will bring hope -- and some very real help -- to countless patients affected by heritable blinding eye diseases."
Stone also expressed appreciation to Gary and Camille Seamans and Leo Hauser for their generosity in creating a third endowed chair for the Carver Family CMD. "These three people have played such an important role in the Center from its inception that it is a particularly wonderful honor for me to be chosen for the chair that bears their names," he said.
"Understanding a disease as devastating as macular degeneration truly requires the efforts of world-class physicians and scientists from many disciplines. Indeed, our work with colleagues in the UI College of Engineering and other colleges and units on campus has led to important discoveries in this area," said Jean Robillard, M.D., dean of the UI Carver College of Medicine. "With these generous gifts, the Carver Family Center for Macular Degeneration will continue to lead the way in developing interdisciplinary approaches to study and treat degenerative diseases of the eye."
The Carver NGTL plans to develop a clinically useful test -- to be offered nationally on a not-for-profit basis -- for every gene known to cause an inherited eye disease. The work done at the laboratory will strengthen the UI's interdisciplinary research efforts in the area of degenerative eye diseases.
The Carver NGTL will serve as an international resource for large-scale genetic testing for more than 100 forms of inherited eye diseases. It will continue and expand on the research done at the UI Carver Laboratory for Molecular Diagnosis, created in 1997 with an endowment from the Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust.
The UI Center for Macular Degeneration was established in 1997 by the Board of Regents, State of Iowa. It mission is threefold: to identify the primary causes of age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma and other heritable eye diseases; to apply improved understanding of disease mechanisms to the prevention of vision loss in the majority of people at risk, as well as to the development of effective treatments for those already affected; and to deliver the most advanced medical, surgical, rehabilitative and educational services available in a timely, caring and cost-effective manner.
The Carver Family CMD has grown to include more than 100 individuals in eight departments and in four colleges of the university. With expertise in a wide range of areas -- including internal medicine, genetics, molecular biology, computer engineering, biomedical engineering and statistics -- the center's faculty and staff focus on genetic research and testing, which requires multidisciplinary and large-scale teamwork.
STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Health Science Relations, 5139 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1178
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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