August 1, 2019

Eversight awards grant to Wayne State ophthalmology researcher

Wayne State University School of Medicine researcher Susmit Suvas, Ph.D., was awarded a $20,000 seed grant through the Eversight Center for Vision and Eye Banking Research to advance his promising ophthalmic research. 

The School of Medicine’s Vice Dean of Research Linda Hazlett, Ph.D., Eversight's Ebony Johnson, Associate Professor of Ophthalmology, Visual and Anatomical Sciences Susmit Suvas, Ph.D., and department chair Mark Juzych, M.D., accept the award presented on the medical campus.

Dr. Suvas, an associate professor of Ophthalmology, Visual and Anatomical Sciences, is investigating novel therapeutic approaches to alleviate the severity of necrotizing herpes stromal keratitis, or HSK, the leading cause of infection-induced blindness in the United States. His findings may create a promising therapy to effectively reduce stromal inflammation for patients and improve healing of corneal epithelium in those developing HSK.

“I would like to thank Eversight for supporting our research on HSK. This funding will help us in testing new approaches to manage the necrotizing condition of HSK.” he said.

His lab will test novel therapeutic approaches, including the use of anti-inflammatory protein Thymosin beta-4 (TB-4) and mesenchymal stem cell protein TSG-6 to treat HSK.

The data generated will be used to apply for a new R01 grant to the National Institutes of Health, he added.

The study will be conducted in collaboration with Associate Professor of Ophthalmology, Visual and Anatomical Sciences Gabriel Sosne, M.D., a cornea specialist at Kresge Eye Institute. Dr. Sosne will provide TB-4 protein to test its efficacy in treating necrotizing HSK.

Dr. Suvas is one of six grant recipients selected by an independent review panel. Proposals selected for funding align with Eversight’s mission to restore sight and prevent blindness through the healing power of donation, transplantation and research.

“Our distinguished panel of reviewers was impressed by the scientific caliber and remarkable curiosity of the 2019 applicant pool,” said Onkar Sawant, Ph.D., Eversight’s director of Research. “We are confident that proposals supported by the Eversight Eye & Vision Research Grant Program have the potential to make impactful discoveries that could expand our scientific knowledge, improve ophthalmic surgical procedures and transform eye banking to improve patient outcomes.”

Eversight, a nonprofit organization, has awarded more than $4 million in grants to fuel scientific exploration in ophthalmology, often stimulating larger-scale studies later financed by the National Institutes of Health. The Eversight network is responsible for recovering, evaluating and providing human eye tissue for transplantation; supporting research into the causes and cures of blinding eye conditions; promoting donation awareness through public and professional education; and providing humanitarian aid to people around the world in need of corneal transplantation.

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