Postdoctoral Trainee Receives Knight Templar Eye Foundation Career Starter Award

McDowell Lab // News // Research News // Apr 09 2020

Philip Mzyk, PhD, a postdoctoral trainee in the Colleen McDowell Laboratory, has been awarded the Knights Templar Eye Foundation Career Starter Grant.

The $70,000 award will support Dr. Mzyk’s research in the role of fibronectin extra domain A (FN-EDA) in glaucomatous trabecular meshwork damage.

Juvenile-onset open angle glaucoma is an eye disease that affects individuals between the ages of three and 40 years of age. Although the disease is rare, it is serious and untreated it is a major cause of juvenile blindness. Juvenile glaucoma is usually caused by increased pressure inside the eye, which is due to resistance to the flow of the normal circulation of the fluid within the eye. The buildup of pressure in the eye can damage the visual sensing structures in the back of the eye, leading to blindness. These experiments will help identify pathways of pressure buildup that will serve as new targets for the development of effective glaucoma treatments. These experiments also may lead to the discovery of more sensitive ways to diagnose glaucoma and follow glaucoma progression.
“I applied for this grant with great encouragement from my mentor, Dr. McDowell. Being selected to receive the Knights Templar Career-Starter Research Grant is a tremendous honor. These funds will allow me to investigate a specific pathway in the eye that will hopefully begin to uncover how we can better prevent blinding diseases in children, all while working towards becoming an independent investigator.”           – Dr. Philip Mzyk

Philip Mzyk, PhD

The Knights Templar Eye Foundation, Inc. is a charity sponsored by the Grand Encampment of Knights Templar (USA) with the mission “to improve vision through research education, and supporting access to care.”