As eye and vision researchers across the world are making spectacular findings and developing life-changing therapies, scientists belonging to historically disadvantaged groups have faced challenges in earning equal opportunities to conduct such work.
While this reality will not be remedied through one initiative, this award will support early-career underrepresented minority (URM) researchers by providing both funding and mentoring in their exploration of novel and innovative research project ideas. Thanks to Genentech's support, the ARVO Foundation will offer one two-year grant totaling $100,000 to a researcher who has received their initial faculty appointment and is working to establish an independent vision research program.
Applications open July 1 – Sept. 1
2022 Genentech Career Development Award for URM Emerging Vision Scientists recipient
Cammi Valdez, PhD
Northeastern State University
Dr. Valdez will receive the support of an ARVO-appointed mentor during the two year grant period to provide career development support and supplementary scientific guidance:
- Machelle Pardue, PhD (Atlanta VA Medical Center/Georgia Tech)
About Dr. Valdez
A vascular biologist, Dr. Valdez is currently an assistant professor of Chemistry at Northeastern State University (NSU), Tahlequah, Okla.
"As a woman of color and a scientist, being recognized by ARVO with this award is one of the top highlights of my career," says Valdez. "I am both honored and humbled...I have been dedicated to mentoring diverse undergraduate students throughout my career, and the central focus of my lab is the training of undergraduates for their success and growth as developing scientists. I want to provide a robust and rigorous research agenda to the diverse students at NSU. To accomplish this, I know I must move towards independence and receiving this award is a necessary step in this path."
About Dr. Valdez's research
Dr. Valdez's lab aims to develop two new tools for the field of diabetic retinopathy (DR): 1) an adaptable automated image analysis program, and 2) a new method to incorporate systematic and accurate cell labeling of the microvasculature. These tools will provide a quick and reliable manner of identifying and quantifying endothelial cells and pericytes in the retinal capillaries of mice and other species that will advance the field of DR.
"Having the funding from the Genentech Career Development Award for Underrepresented Minority Emerging Vision Scientists is a game changer," says Valdez. "This grant will offer the Valdez Lab the necessary funding to help develop NSU’s first mouse colony, providing an important opportunity to regional college undergraduate students to engage in animal studies of biomedical importance."
Elizabeth Zuniga-Sanchez, PhD (Baylor College of Medicine)
Maureen McCall, PhD, FARVO (University of Louisville)
Rachel Wong, PhD (University of Washington)