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. 

FY2023 VRP Justification

Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 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.

FY2020 Vision Research Program Abstracts

Dr. Nasim Annabi, Eye-Targeted Sustained Delivery of Anti-Inflammatory and Antibiotic Drugs to Injured Eyes

Dr. Mahdi Bayat, AI-Assisted 3D Ultrasound for Rapid Diagnosis of Ocular Trauma Injuries

Dr. Kevin Chan, Delivering Sensory and Semantic Visual Information via Auditory Feedback on Mobile Technology

Dr. Sunil Chauhan, Topical Hepatocyte Growth Factor for Corneal Regeneration and Reversal of Scarring

Dr. Peii Chen, A Virtual Reality Oculomotor Exercise for Restoring Functional Vision After Head Trauma

Dr. Joseph Ciolino, A Dual Antibiotic-Steroid Drug-Eluting Contact Lens for Treatment of Eye Injuries That Can Be Used in an Austere Environment or Prolonged Field Care Setting

Dr. Reza Dana, Alpha-Melanocyte Stimulating Hormone (alpha945-MSH) Therapeutic Intervention for Prevention and Reversal of Corneal Edema Following Ocular Injury

Dr. Nick Di Girolamo, Sight-Restoring Therapy for Corneal Injuries Sustained on the Battlefield From Chemical Warfare

Dr. Nathan Evanson, Role of Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress and Systemic Inflammation in Blunt TBI-Induced Optic Nerve Injury

Dr. Katherine Hajjar, The Annexin A2 Pathway in Proliferative Vitreoretinopathy: A New Therapeutic Target

Dr. Wilson Heriot, Clinical Translation of Retinal Thermofusion for Rapid Retinal Detachment Repair Without Tamponade

Dr. Robert Hunt, Repair of the Traumatically Injured Central Visual System by Interneuron Transplantation

Dr. Stanley Louie, NorLeu3Angiotensin (1-7) Promotes Nonfibrotic Healing in Ocular Globe Injury Models

Dr. Orest Olejnik, Topical Novel Nonopioid Pain Relief for Eye Injury

Dr. Tawna Roberts, Abnormal Dynamic Visual Function and Associated Symptomatology in Mild Traumatic Brain Injury

Dr. Valery Shestopalov, Targeting Mechanical Stress Signaling and Inflammasome in Traumatic Ocular Injury

Dr. Molly Shoichet, Injectable and Biodegradable Vitreous Substitute to Restore Vision Function Following Retinal Detachment

FY2019 Vision Research Program Abstracts

Dr. Audrey Bowden, Battlefield-Ready Fully Handheld Anterior-Segment Optical Coherence Tomography

Dr. Maria Valeria Canto-Soler, 3D Retinal Transplants Derived from Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells to Treat Combat Laser-Induced Blindness

Dr. Sunil Chauhan, A Novel Target for Faster Wound Closure in Ocular Trauma

Dr. Gere DiZerega, Phase 2 Enabling Evaluations of USB005 for Treatment of Corneal Injuries

Dr. Laura Ensign, Development of Drug-Eluting, Absorbable Sutures for Ocular Trauma Surgery

Dr. Anat Galor, Automated Assessment of Visual Photosensitivity in Traumatic Brain Injury

Dr. David Gamm, Outer Retina Reconstruction for Combat Afflictions (ORRCA)

Dr. Gautam Ghatnekar, Evaluation of the Clinical Safety of a Novel Peptide-Based Topical Therapeutic to Promote Corneal Regeneration

Dr. Andy Hartwick, Effects of Mild Traumatic Brain Injury on Retinal Ganglion Cell Light Adaptation

Dr. Joseph Izatt, Automated OCT Technology Translation to Diagnose Traumatic Eye Injury

Dr. Cindy Linn, Neurogenesis and Recovery of Visual Function After Blast Exposure

Dr. Nawajes Mandal, Therapeutic Potential of n-3 PUFAs TBI Mediated Visual Dysfunction

Dr. Shigemi Matsuyama, Prevention of Blindness by Novel Cytoprotective Small Compounds

Dr. Benoit Mouzon, Amnion Cell Secretome Mediated Therapy for the Restoration of Traumatic Optic Neuropathy After Brain Trauma

Dr. Missag Parseghian, Rapid Delivery of Hsp72 for Ocular Cytoprotection After a Traumatic Brain Injury

Dr. Eleftherios Paschalis Ilios, A Minimally Invasive Artificial Cornea for Vision Restoration in Severely Injured Eyes

Dr. Jose Rios, Development and Validation of a Novel Specialized Proresolving Mediators (SPM) Therapy to Counter Blast-Related Eye Injuries

Dr. Baerbel Rohrer, Strategies to Reduce Visual Pathway Damage Secondary to Brain Trauma

Dr. Walter Schneider, High-Definition Axonal and Connective Tissue Imaging (HD-ACTI) in Porcine and Human Models of Traumatic Optic Nerve Injury

Dr. Amanda Staudt, Epidemiology of Combat Ocular Injury to Guide Prolonged Field Care

Dr. Hongli Wu, Retina-Targeted Estrogen Prodrug: A New Concept for Retinal Protection

Dr. Jia Yin, Supersaturated Oxygen Emulsion as a Novel Topical Treatment for Ocular Chemical Injury

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