The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) selected Wolfgang B. Baehr, PhD, to receive the Proctor Medal—an international award recognizing contributions to vision research in the basic or clinical sciences as applied to ophthalmology. The Proctor Medal honors Baehr for a lifetime of achievement concerning the biochemistry of phototransduction and the retinoid cycle, generation of mouse models simulating human retina disease with attenuation of disease by gene therapy, and the role of photoreceptor membrane protein transport in disease etiology.
The award was presented to Baehr on May 5th during ARVO’s 2014 Annual Meeting in Orlando, Florida upon presentation of his lecture entitled, “Membrane Protein Transport in Photoreceptors.”
Baehr pioneered the use of biochemical methods to isolate signaling proteins of the phototransduction cascade, including transducin, cGMP phosphodiesterase and guanylate cyclase-activating proteins. In addition, Baehr introduced methods of molecular biology to identify novel genes involved in retina disease. Based on the first rhodopsin mutation linked to dominant retinitis pigmentosa, Baehr in 1992 developed the first transgenic mouse model of human adRP. This work has influenced vision research by elucidating the underpinnings of photoreceptor signaling and molecular/genetic mechanisms of photoreceptor disease.
“This award is the top recognition of visual research in the country. It is fitting that Dr. Baehr will be honored for his contributions toward improving our understanding of retinal disease,” said Randall J Olson, MD, CEO, of the University of Utah’s John A. Moran Eye Center. “His work has far-reaching impacts for bettering the visual health of people around the world.”
Dr. Baehr joined the Moran Eye Center in 1995 as Professor of Ophthalmology and director, the Michael M. Wynn Center for Inherited Retinal Diseases. He is the Ralph and Mary Tuck Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences with adjunct appointments in Neurobiology and Anatomy and Biology. In 2012, Dr. Baehr received the prestigious ALCON Award.
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