ARVO Foundation Announces Winners of
Roche Collaborative Research Fellowship
International recipients are awards $10,000 towards their research


Rockville, Md.—The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) today announced the 2021 recipients of the Roche Collaborative Research Fellowships: Wanjiku Mathenge MBChB, MMed, MSc, PhD, Sudhir H Ranganath, PhD, and Pablo Federico Barcelona, PhD. The fellowships are generously funded by F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd., through the ARVO Foundation.

The Roche Collaborative Research Fellowship pairs early career researchers from developing countries with collaborating scientists in well-established research laboratories with the aim of strengthening ophthalmic research capacities worldwide. The $10,000 award supports a one-year project, which can include additional training in specialty equipment or research methodologies.

For her project, Mathenge, head of ophthalmology department at the Kigali Health Institute (University of Rwanda), professor of ophthalmology and co-founder and director of training and research at the Rwanda International Institute of Ophthalmology (RIIO), will use the award to continue one of the first randomized trials using artificial intelligence (AI) in ophthalmology in Africa out of the Rwanda International Institute of Ophthalmology in Gasabo, Rwanda — Rwanda’s first ophthalmology research lab. Using retinal imaging to screen patients with diabetes for diabetic retinopathy, images will be graded using AI, providing patients with immediate feedback. Additionally, Mathenge and her team plan to assess the performance of Cybersight AI in this patient population.

Ranganath, assistant professor and founder of Bio-INvENT Lab in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Siddaganga Institute of Technology (SIT), Tumkur, India, will use the award to further his research on developing a nanoparticle-based strategy for delivering microtubule stabilizing drugs sustainably to donor CE during storage and after transplantation, which will enhance the success of corneal transplantation in patients with corneal disorders. “I consider the Roche Collaborative Research Fellowship a true facilitator of cutting-edge eye research in developing countries like India,” says Ranganath, “The award truly brings together an established eye researcher and a young scientist hoping to contribute to the field. I am particularly excited at the prospects of enhancing my eye research capabilities in the field of advanced ocular fluorometry.”

The third recipient of the award, Barcelona, will investigate the role of neurotrophic receptor p75NTR during vascular and neuronal alternations in a model of choroidal neovascularization (CNV), a condition that involves the growth of new blood vessels originating in the choroid, a vessel-containing layer under the retina, and is a major cause of irreversible vision loss such as in age-related macular degeneration. By identifying the cell populations that overexpress in p75NTR and determining the modulation of the receptor, Barcelona and his team out of the National University of Córdoba in Córdoba, Argentina, hope that they will be able to validate whether p75NTR should be a target when developing treatments for neovascular AMD. In addition to supporting his work, Barcelona notes that the Roche Collaborative Research Fellowship will allow him to, “incorporate new students to begin PhD program training under my supervision. 

“We remain grateful to Roche for their support of these important fellowships,” said ARVO Foundation Board of Governors Chair, Paul Sternberg, Jr., MD, FARVO. “This program honors three deserving scientists with resources and support for their meaningful work. We look forward to watching them grow as members of the vision research community.”

For more information on the Roche Collaborative Research Fellowship, visit ARVO’s website.

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The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) is the largest eye and vision research organization in the world. Members include approximately 10,000 eye and vision researchers from over 75 countries. ARVO advances research worldwide into understanding the visual system and preventing, treating and curing its disorders. Learn more at

Established in 2001, the ARVO Foundation for Eye Research raises funds through partnerships, grants and sponsorships to support ARVO’s world-class education and career development resources for eye and vision researchers of all stages of career and education. Learn more at

Roche is the world’s largest biotech company, with truly differentiated medicines in oncology, immunology, infectious diseases, ophthalmology and diseases of the central nervous system. Roche is also a world leader in in vitro diagnostics and tissue-based cancer diagnostics, and a frontrunner in diabetes management. Founded in 1896, Roche continues to search for better ways to prevent, diagnose and treat diseases and make a sustainable contribution to society. For more information, please visit

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Erin Hering