2016 Dr. Roger Vogel Award for Pharmaceutical Research recipient
The Dr. Roger Vogel Award for Pharmaceutical Research annually recognizes an ARVO member whose research furthers the development of pharmaceutical treatments for ophthalmic diseases. The ARVO Foundation congratulates the third Vogel Award recipient, P. Vasantha Rao, PhD.
Rao joined the Department of Ophthalmology, Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, N.C., as faculty in 1998, and he is now a tenured professor in Ophthalmology with a secondary appointment in the Department of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology at Duke. His research is broadly focused on the signaling pathways regulating cytoskeletal organization and cell adhesive interactions in the ocular lens and trabecular meshwork. His basic science research on the trabecular meshwork, aqueous humor outflow and intraocular pressure has led to identification and characterization of several novel molecular targets to lower intraocular pressure including Rho kinase, Autotaxin and isoprenylation. Importantly, his laboratory research has translated into the development of targeted novel drugs to treat glaucoma in human patients.
Rao’s research has produced patents and several peer reviewed publications. Currently, he is a Principal Investigator on two National Eye Institute (NEI) funded R01 grants and serves as a regular member on the NIH/CSR “Biology of Visual Science” (BVS) study section. He has been an ARVO member for the last 25 years. He previously received a Cataract Research Award from the National Foundation for Eye Research and a Master Clinician/Teacher award from the Duke University School of Medicine. He also serves as a scientific consultant to pharmaceutical companies and has ongoing collaborative research projects with industries to develop novel drugs for glaucoma.
After earning his PhD in biochemistry from Osmania University, Hyderabad, India, Rao completed his postdoctoral training at the National Eye Institute, NIH. The focus of his research during graduate school studies and postdoctoral training centered on ocular lens biochemistry in the context of cataractogenesis.