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Message from the Foundation Chair

by Paul Sternberg, Jr., MD, FARVO

One of the things that is most wonderful about ARVO is our collective sense of community. Not only is Paul SternbergARVO a place to come together to share our research and work together on the most puzzling scientific challenges, but it is also a place to come to remember or honor our colleagues whose work – regardless of academic affiliation or company – has impacted us across our discipline.

Throughout my first year as chair, I have been so humbled to see ARVO members turn to the ARVO Foundation to remember or honor friends and colleagues. Whether these are your regular annual contributions you choose to dedicate in someone’s honor or a special memorial gift to a fund named for one of our members who has recently passed, each of these gifts is special.

From a very personal perspective, we will congratulate in Vancouver the first recipient of a new award named for a friend and mentor of mine who passed after an illness in 2017: the Bert M. Glaser, MD Award for Innovative Research in Retina. This is an award I was honored to help Bert’s family establish in his memory. In addition, I am thrilled to share that the ARVO Foundation will oversee the Ramesh and Brenda Tripathi Vision Research Fund, honoring two vision scientists whom I also have had the privilege of calling friends and mentors.

At the upcoming ARVO 2019 Annual Meeting, four new memorial travel grants are supporting five young people to attend and present their work at the Meeting:


The Robert B. Barlow, Jr. Travel Grant supports a trainee whose abstract is related to the functional analysis of the visual system. The award is supported in his memory by his friends and colleagues at the Center for Vision Research at Upstate Medical University, which he co-founded.


The Gerhard Zinser Memorial Travel Grant supports one researcher under age 40 whose work is related to imaging techniques. Funded by Heidelberg Engineering, this award remembers Gerhard Zinser, a co-founder of the company who was also a well-respected scientist and inventor whose ingenuity led to many of Heidelberg Engineering's products and technologies.

The Sarla P. Kothary Memorial Travel Grant supports a female researcher whose work is related to retina. Sarla Kothary was a clinical researcher in the field of anesthesiology and epilepsy. She often traveled to ARVO meetings with her husband, Piyush Kothary, and made many lifelong friends in the ARVO community until her death in 2015. The award is supported by her family.


The David R. Pepperberg Travel Grants will support two researchers whose work pertains to the molecular and cellular mechanisms of light and dark adaptation in retinal photoreceptors. This award was established after David's passing in September by many of his ARVO friends and colleagues.

I thank everyone who supported the ARVO Foundation in 2018, a year in which we had the largest attendance at both our Gala and the WEAVR Luncheon and where we passed the century mark in members joining the Dowling Society.

I look forward to seeing you at ARVO 2019 in Vancouver, where we will see first-hand the impact of your support. All you have to do is look for the myriad young people with the travel grant and award ribbons on their name badges to see who you have helped to influence with your generosity. And, when you are in Vancouver, I encourage you to participate in our matching gift campaign, which will help to fund even more young researchers for the 2020 Annual Meeting.

- Paul