Defense-Related Research Funding

Department of Defense Vision Research Program

Established in Fiscal Year 2009 Appropriations, the Department of Defense's Vision Reseach Program (VRP) is the primary source of  funding that supports research into the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of vision loss and dysfunction resulting from combat trauma. 

FY2021 VRP Justification

Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Funding of $30 Million for the Department of Defense’s Peer-reviewed Vision Research Program (VRP)

Abstracts for previously funded VRP projects are listed below.

FY2018 Vision Research Program Abstracts

Dr. Sanjoy Bhattacharya, Regenerative Lipids in Traumatic Glaucomatous Neuropathies

Dr. Yiqin Du, Early Intervention Stem Cell-Based Therapy (EISCBT) for Corneal Burns and Trauma

Dr. Leonard Levin, Novel Diagnostic, Prognostic, and Therapeutic Tools for Battlefield Optic Nerve Trauma

Dr. Wei Li, Targeted Treatment of Traumatic Optic Neuropathy Inspired by Neuroprotective Adaptations of Hibernation

Dr. Daniel Palankar, High-Resolution Retinal Prosthesis for Restoring Sight to Patients Blinded by Retinal Injury or Degeneration

Dr. Kevin Park, Novel Combinatorial Approaches to Repair Visual System After Optic Nerve Damage

Dr. Konstantin Petrukhin, Fluorenone Drug for Treatment of Combat-Related Traumatic Optic Neuropathy

Dr. Magali Saint-Geniez, Targeting Metabolic Reprogramming for the Prevention and Treatment of Proliferative Vitreoretinopathy

Dr. Ellen Townes-Anderson, Protecting Neural Circuitry After Injury

Dr. Steven Wilson, Corneal Basement Membranes and Injury-Related Scarring

Dr. Charles Yu, Intraocular Microdisplay Projection for Vision Restoration After Corneal Blindness

FY2017 Vision Research Program Abstracts

Dr. Colleen Cebula, Macrophage Migration Inhibitor (MIF) Therapeutics for Neuroprotection and Prevention of Scar in Traumatic Retinal Detachment

Dr. Joseph Ciolino, Steroid-Eluting Therapeutic Contact Lens to Treat and Prevent Inflammation and Scarring Following Ocular Trauma

Dr. Reza Dana, Novel Adhesive Biomaterials for Quick and Long-Lasting Sutureless Repair of Corneal Injuries

Dr. Ali Djalilian, Phase I/II Multicenter Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial of Mesenchymal Stem Cell Therapy for Severe Ocular Surface Chemical Injuries

Dr. Shelley Fried, A Microcoil-Based Cortical Visual Prosthesis

Dr. Paul Michael Iuvone, HIOC Derivatives for the Treatment of Trauma-Induced Vision Loss

Dr. Matthew Maltese, Development of a Suitcase-Sized Portable Digital Stereoscopic Ophthalmic Microscope with Surgical Telepresence/Telemedicine Capability

Dr. Nathan Ravi, Preclinical Development of Reverse-Engineered Vitreous Substitutes

FY2016 Vision Research Program Abstracts

Dr. Vinay Aakalu, Histatin Peptides as a Treatment for Ocular Surface Injury and Prevention of Corneal Neovascularization

Dr. Joseph Arboleda-Velasquez, Testing the Preclinical Efficacy of Therapies for Proliferative Vitreoretinopathy

Dr. Gregory Bramblett, Development and Validation of a Smart-Memory Intravitreal Tamponade Stent for Retinal Detachment in Combat Ocular Trauma

Dr. Warren Grayson, Complex Orbital Reconstruction

FY2015 Vision Research Program Abstracts

Dr. Gere DiZerega, Clinical Safety Evaluation of USB005 for Treatment of Traumatic Corneal Lacerations

Dr. Rajashekhar Gangaraju, Adipose-Derived Stem Cells Alleviate Visual Deficits in Blast Injury

Dr. Wilson Heriot, Retinal Detachment Repair Without Tamponade by Thermofusion of the Retina and RPE for Rapid Vision Restoration and Safe Air Transport

Dr. Joseph Izatt, OCT Technology Development to Assess Ocular Integrity and Characterize Intraocular Scatterers

Dr. Rajendra Kumar-Singh, Rapid Delivery of Protein Therapeutics into Retinal and Corneal Cells Following Intravitreal Injection

Dr. Noorjahan Panjwani, Development of a Small Molecule Drug Targeting Galectin-3 to Prevent Neovascularization and Fibrosis of Ocular Tissues

Dr. Monte Radeke, Treatment Strategies for Blinding Combat Retinal Injury Employing Combinatorial Therapeutics

FY2014 Vision Research Program Abstracts

Dr. Sanjoy Bhattacharya, Lipid Neuroprotectants and Traumatic Glaucomatous Neurodegeneration

Dr. Ricardo Carvalho, Episcleral Cox-2 and Steroid Agents as Comprehensive Therapeutic Interventions for IED-Related Traumatic Ocular Injuries

Dr. Edward Chaum, Nutlin Analogues for the Prevention and Treatment of Proliferative Vitreoretinopathy in Ocular Trauma

Dr. Joseph Ciolino, Sustained Corticosteroid Release From a Novel Therapeutic Contact Lens Drug Delivery System for the Treatment of Ocular Inflammation and Corneal Neovascularization

Dr. Daniel Palanker, Photovoltaic Retinal Prosthesis for Restoring Sight to Patients Blinded by Retinal Injury or Degeneration

Dr. Matthew Reilly, Torsion-Induced Traumatic Optic Neuropathy (TITON): Animal Model for Diagnostics, Drug Delivery, and Therapeutics for Injuries to the Central Nervous System

Dr. Lawrence Rizzolo, Maturation and Implantation of Engineered Retinal Tissue Grafts

Dr. Michael Steketee, Applying Extracellular Matrix Technology to Neuroprotect and to Repair Injured Retina and Optic Nerve

Dr. Gere di Zerega, NorLeu3-A(1-7) Stimulates Corneal Repair After Injury

Dr. Sunil Chauhan, Modulation of Ocular Inflammation by Mesenchymal Stem Cells

Dr. Stephen Macknik, An Unconventional Approach to Reducing Retinal Degeneration After Traumatic Ocular Injury

Dr. David Kaplan, Antimicrobial Silk Ocular Drug Delivery Implant for Chronic Posterior Segment Diseases

FY2013 Vision Research Program Abstracts

Dr. James Akula, Visual and Retinal Correlates of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI): Biology and Behavior

Dr. Lu Chen, Novel Strategy to Combat Corneal Injury at Early and Late Stages and to Promote Transplant Survival

Dr. Douglas Dean, Vision Restoration with Granulocyte Colony-Stimulating Factor Following Traumatic Injury

Dr. Ali Djalilian, Clinical Translation of Mesenchymal Stem Cell Therapy for Corneal and Ocular Surface Injuries

Dr. Jon Froehlich, HandSight: Supporting Everyday Activities through Touch-Vision

Dr. Samuel Fulcher, Inflammation Modulatory Protein TSG-6 for Chemical Injuries to the Cornea

Dr. James Funderburgh, Early Intervention Stem Cell-Based Therapy (EISCBT) for Corneal Burns and Trauma

Dr. Vijay Gorantla, Novel Strategies for Optic Neuroregeneration and Retinal Projection Reintegration After Ocular Trauma

Dr. Katherine Hajjar, Annexin A2 in Proliferative Vitreoretinopathy

Dr. Jeffrey Mumm, Discovery of FDA-Approved Drugs that Promote Retinal Cell Survival or Regeneration

Dr. Andrew Pieper, Prevention and Treatment of TBI-Mediated Visual and Brain Damage Using a Novel Protective Compound

Dr. Morgana Trexler, EMERGE: Engineered Materials that Create Environments for Regeneration via Electric Field

Dr. Derek Welsbie, Targeting Dual Leucine Zipper Kinase as a Therapeutic Strategy for Traumatic Optic Neuropathy and Brain Injury

Dr. Joseph Brzezinski, Programming Retinal Stem Cells into Cone Photoreceptors

Dr. Shaochen Chen, Layer-by-Layer Bioprinting of Stem Cells for Retinal Tissue Regeneration

Dr. James Demar, Elucidation of Inflammation Processes Exacerbating Neuronal Cell Damage to the Retina and Brain Visual Centers as Quest for Therapeutic Drug Targets in Rat Model of Blast Overpressure Wave Exposure

Dr. William Jia, Smart, Injury-Triggered Therapy for Ocular Trauma

Dr. Lora Likova, Mechanisms of Photophobia in Mild Traumatic Brain Injury in Human Subjects: Therapeutic Implications

Dr. Alfredo Martinez, Hypothermia in the Treatment of Retinal Injury

Dr. Cheryl Olman, Frontoparietal Priority Maps as Biomarkers for mTBI

Dr. Kia Washington, Improving Viability and Functional Outcome After Whole Eye Transplantation

Dr. Stephen Wong, Mobile, Multimodal, Label-Free Imaging Probe Analysis of Choroidal Oximetry and Retinal Hypoxia

FY2011-2012 Vision Research Program Abstracts

Dr. Kenneth Ciuffreda, Treatment of TBI Induced Oculomotor Dysfunction

Dr. Brittany Coats, Temporary Progression of Closed Globe Injury from Blast Exposure

Dr. James DeMar, Ameliorate Effects of Blast Pressure on the Eye and Brain

Dr. Cintia De Paiva, Programmable Micro Wafer Drug Delivery for Ocular Trauma

Dr. Eldon Geisert, Genetic Networks Activated by Blast Injury to the Eye

Dr. Jeffrey Goldberg, Enhancing Optic Nerve Regeneration after Trauma

Dr. Walter Gray, Sub Lethal Ocular Trauma

Dr. Andrew Hartwick, Retinal Ganglion Cell Photoreceptors in TBI Patients with Photophobia

Dr. Mark Humayun, Thermo Responsive Patch for Ocular Trauma

Dr. Pavel Iserovich, Pharmalogical Treatment for Combat Traumatic Optic Neuropathy

Dr. Michael Iuvone, TrkB Activators for the Treatment of Traumatic Vision Loss

Dr. Joseph Izatt, Field Deployable OCT for Triage of Ocular Trauma

Dr. David Krizaj, Characterization of Molecular Mechanism of Ocular Blast Trauma

Dr. Rajendra Kumar-Singh, Platform for Rapid Delivery of Biologics and Drugs to Ocular Cells and Tissues following Trauma

Dr. Andrew MacKay, Treatment of Cornea Using Transcytotic Delivery in the Tear Film

Dr. Sheila Nirenberg, Retinal Prosthetic with Capacity to Produce Normal Vision

Dr. Daniel Palanker, Restoration of the Retinal Structure and Function after Injury

Dr. Kevin Park, Approaches to Repair Visual System after Optic Nerve Damage

Dr. Jena Steinle, Novel Drug Prevents Retinal Inflammatory Mediators and Apoptosis

Dr. Philip Troyk, Implantation of an Intracortical Visual Prosthesis

Dr. Shaomei Wang, Non Invasive Cell Based Therapy for Traumatic Optic Neuropathy

FY2009-2010 Vision Research Program Abstracts

Dr. Nicholas Brecha, A Novel Approach to Alleviating Aberrant Calcium Signaling Causing Retinal Cell Loss in Traumatic Optic Neuropathy

Dr. Stacey Choi, Ultrahigh Resolution Retinal Imaging with Adaptive Optics for Early Diagnosis of Traumatic Brain Injury

Dr. Kenneth Ciuffreda, Treatment of TBI-Induced Oculomotor Dysfunctions and Associated Reading Problems

Dr. Colin Doherty, Evaluation of an Acute RNAi-Mediated Therapeutic for Visual Dysfunction Associated with Traumatic Brain Injury

Dr. Randy Kardon, Objective Methods to Test Visual Dysfunction in the Presence of Cognitive Impairment

Dr. Thao (Vicky) Nguyen, Computational Model of the Eye for Primary and Secondary Blast Trauma

Dr. Yury Petrov, Oculomotor Reflexes as a Test of Visual Dysfunctions in Cognitively Impaired Observers

Dr. Uri Polat, A Behavioral Treatment for Traumatic Brain Injury Associated Visual Dysfunction Based on Adult Cortical Plasticity

Dr. Richard Regueiro, Simulation of Blast Loading on an Ultrastructurally-Based Computation Model of the Ocular Lens

Dr. Tonia Rex, Treatment of Traumatic Vision Loss in a New Mouse Model of Blast Injury

Dr. Gregory Schultz, Reduction of Corneal Scarring Following Blast and Burn Injuries to Cornea Using siRNAs Targeting TGFb and CTGF

Dr. James Weiland, Wearable Visual Aid as Treatment for TBI Associated Visual Dysfunction