Robert Nickells, PhD, Receives Grant Award from BrightFocus Foundation


BrightFocus Foundation Honors Six Vision Researchers
Awards New Grants to Study Macular Degeneration and Glaucoma

BrightFocus Foundation today recognized six scientists studying macular degeneration and glaucoma, awarding research grants named in honor of leaders in vision science. Robert Nickells, PhD, a professor and glaucoma researcher with the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences was awarded the Thomas R. Lee Award for Glaucoma Research. Dr. Nickells’ application, “The pathological contribution of cell adhesion disruption in retinal ganglion cell death,” was one of the top scoring proposals this year.

“These outstanding women and men are pursuing the untried, unexpected, and most promising paths to saving sight.  Their relentless drive for cures powerfully reflects the legacies these awards honor,” said Stacy Pagos Haller, President and CEO of BrightFocus Foundation, a premier source of private research funding to end diseases of mind and sight.

The award recipients are among a larger group of scientists who will lead 30 new vision research grants from BrightFocus, a $4.2 million investment toward defeating the leading causes of age-related vision loss.  The awards were presented at a ceremony held in conjunction with the annual meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology.

The full list of 2018 BrightFocus Foundation awards are as follows:

  • Xi-Qin Ding, PhD, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Elizabeth Anderson Award for Macular Degeneration Research
  • Yingbin Fu, PhD, Baylor College of Medicine, Helen Juanita Reed Award for Macular Degeneration Research
  • Robert W. Nickells, PhD, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Thomas R. Lee Award for Glaucoma Research
  • Karl Wahlin, PhD, University of California, San Diego, Carolyn K. McGillvray Award for Macular Degeneration Research
  • Benjamin Sivyer, PhD, Oregon Health and Sciences University and Xiangrun Huang, PhD, Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami, Dr. Douglas R. Johnson Award for Glaucoma Research

For more information on research funded by BrightFocus, visit