CEF Research Grant Awarded! – Children's Eye Foundation of AAPOS

CEF Research Grant Awarded!


The Children’s Eye Foundation (CEF) is pleased to announce it has awarded a $5,000 research grant!

This grant was awarded in conjunction with the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology & Strabismus (AAPOS). This year’s deserving recipient is Dolly Ann Padovani-Claudio, MD, PhD, from Vanderbilt Eye Institute.


“This grant will fund a cutting-edge project on signals between retinal cells that could one day lead to a new treatment for retinopathy of prematurity, a leading cause of blindness in children”.— Gil Binenbaum MD MSCE, Chair of AAPOS Research Committee, Pediatric Ophthalmologist, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) is a leading cause of blindness in children worldwide. It involves abnormal blood vessel growth, which damages the retina (the “film” with which we see). Researchers know that many hormonal signals are involved inside the eye, but it is not clear which specific cells produce which signals. Understanding which cells send which signals, and when, may help to lead to new treatments to help prevent blindness from ROP. With CEF support, Dr. Padovani-Claudio is going to use a special technology called “single-cell RNA sequencing” to identify which cells are sending which signals. RNA is part of the system in all of our cells that converts instructions written from our DNA (our genetic code) into proteins, which carry out those instructions. Dr. Padovani-Claudio will compare these signals from eyes without retinopathy to eyes with retinopathy. With the knowledge learned from this project, she can then further investigate how these proteins change during the development of ROP. Ultimately, this work may lead to new treatments for this devastating eye disease.

A practicing pediatric ophthalmologist, Dr. Padovani-Claudio is a rising star in academic ophthalmology. She received her MD and PhD degrees at Case Western Reserve University and completed fellowships in research and pediatric ophthalmology at the University of Michigan. The support provided by the CEF research grant will help Dr. Padovani-Claudio to advance her work early in her career, as she builds her own independent research team. She has also received funding from the Knights Templar Eye Foundation and the National Eye Institute.


The Children’s Eye Foundation awards annual grants through a competitive application and review process. The 2018 grant cycle will re-open in May. The first CEF Research grant was awarded in 1975, and since then CEF has funded over $355,000 of research related to children’s eyesight. Research adds to the scientific groundwork that makes it possible to detect, correct, and give treatment that can eliminate preventable vision loss from serious childhood eye conditions.

A very heartfelt THANK YOU to our generous donors who make this all possible. It is through the generosity of our donors that we can support such meaningful research.