For Outstanding Accomplishments in Vision Science Research

Lighthouse Guild, the leading not-for-profit vision and healthcare organization, announced that the Botond Roska, MD, PhD, is the recipient of the 2018 Bressler Prize, and Joshua D. Stein, MD, MS, is the recipient of the 2018 Pisart Award.

Dr. Roska’s research interests are focused on understanding the structure and function of visual circuits. His work seeks to restore photosensitivity to retinas in retinal degeneration using cell type specific targeting of optogenetic tools. The overall objective is to find ways to repair visual dysfunction for patients with retinitis pigmentosa and other diseases of the retina.

Dr. Stein’s research focuses on trends in the use of eye care services, patients’ access to eye care services, patient outcomes after ocular surgery, the cost-effectiveness of different ocular interventions, and the quality of life of patients with ocular diseases. He uses large databases with the goal of improving patients’ access to care and improving the quality and value of the eye care patients receive; his work also aims to reduce racial and other disparities in eye care among different population groups.

2018 Bressler Prize Recipient Botond Roska, MD, PhD

“Dr. Roska is being recognized for his innovative and outstanding research accomplishments,” said Alan R. Morse, JD, PhD, President and CEO of Lighthouse Guild. “He is combining different disciplines to expand knowledge of the retina and different stages of visual processing. His scientific achievements are powerful, precedent-setting and establish new standards for retinal research.”

Dr. Roska is Director at the Institute of Molecular and Clinical Ophthalmology Basel (IOB), Senior Group Leader at the Friedrich Miescher Institute (FMI) for Biomedical Research, and Professor at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland. He earned his MD at the Semmelweis University of Medicine in Budapest, and his PhD from the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of California, Berkeley. After being a Junior Fellow at Harvard University, he started his research group at the Friedrich Miescher Institute (FMI) for Biomedical Research in 2005. He became Director at IOB in 2018.

Dr. Roska said, “It is an honor to receive this prestigious award from Lighthouse Guild. As a scientist, I am committed to creating a link between basic science and medicine by converting our research on retinal processing into effective treatments for patients with retinal diseases. I look forward to continuing to work with other scientists in the field to advance vision science research and help restore vision to those impacted by retinal diseases.”

Since 2003, the Bressler Prize has annually recognized a mid-career vision clinician-scientist whose leadership, research and service have led to important advancements in the understanding of vision loss, treatment of eye disease, or the rehabilitation of people with vision loss.

Dr. Roska will receive a prize of $54,000 and lead Lighthouse Guild’s annual Alfred W. Bressler Vision Science Symposium in New York City in the fall of 2018 where he will be joined by other clinicians and scientists who will present their latest findings in vision research.

2018 Pisart Award Recipient Joshua D. Stein, MD, MS

“Dr. Stein is being recognized for his outstanding contributions to understanding vision loss, treatment of eye disease and rehabilitation of people with vision loss,” said Alan R. Morse, JD, PhD, President and CEO of Lighthouse Guild. “He is a pioneering vision researcher, whose findings have practical implications for clinical care and decision-making on how to best allocate limited eye care resources and improve access to eye care services.”

Dr. Stein is an Associate Professor in the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at the W.K. Kellogg Eye Center, University of Michigan. He received his MD from Jefferson Medical College, an MS in Evaluative Clinical Sciences from Dartmouth Medical School and an MS in Health and Healthcare Research from University of Michigan. He joined the faculty of the University of Michigan in 2007.

Dr. Stein said, “It is a great privilege to receive this prestigious award from Lighthouse Guild, given the organization’s unparalleled commitment to preventing vision-threatening eye diseases and improving the lives of patients with compromised sight. We are joined in our commitment to help people with vision loss gain access to high quality health care services that enable them to lead full and productive lives. I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues to advance this important mission.”

Through his research in health services and as an early pioneer in “big data” analyses in the field of ophthalmology, Dr. Stein and his team have published innovative analyses of large databases, particularly those involving healthcare claims data. Dr. Stein’s research tackles important health care structural and financing questions critical to providing high-quality cost-effective eye care services. His work has provided significant insight and improvement in a number of areas.

The Pisart Award recognizes an early career vision clinician or scientist whose noteworthy, innovative and scholarly contributions in vision science have the potential for substantial influence in the understanding of vision loss, treatment of eye disease or the rehabilitation of people with vision loss.

As the 2018 Pisart Award recipient, Dr. Stein will receive a $32,000 prize at Lighthouse Guild’s annual Alfred W. Bressler Vision Science Symposium in the Fall.