Moran Eye Center Researchers Alessandra Angelucci, David Krizaj Appointed to Endowed Professorships

Jul 20, 2018 12:00 PM


University of Utah President Ruth Watkins has appointed two John A. Moran Eye Center researchers to endowed professorships.

angelucci.jpgAlessandra Angelucci, MD, PhD, now holds the Mary H. Boesche Endowed Professorship in Ophthalmology, while David Krizaj, PhD, is the John Frederick Carter Endowed Professor of Ophthalmology.

Boesche established the professorship in honor of Maureen K. Lundergan, MD, and Mano Swartz, MD, and to support eye disease research. 

Angelucci's research focuses on visual cortex circuitry and function—key knowledge in understanding exactly how vision occurs in the brain and how it might be reproduced using a prosthesis.

A National Institutes of Health BRAIN Initiative grantee, Angelucci is developing a new device that will support unprecedented investigations of neural function. The Utah Optrode Array will use optogenetics to selectively activate neurons using light rather than electricity. This new array will allow brain researchers to activate neurons more precisely.

The late George William and Beatrice Brain Carter established the Carter professorship in memory of their late son, who passed away at age 9. George Carter, a U of U graduate, taught mechanical engineering at the school for 13 years and was a member of the Health Sciences Council.

krizaj.jpgKrizaj’s research is uncovering how cells in the eye sense and interpret mechanical signals such as pressure. Normal pressure in the healthy eye maintains its shape and supports visual function; high pressure associated with debilitating diseases such as glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy can cause blindness.

Krizaj recently developed a new therapy that lowers eye pressure while protecting retinal neurons from mechanical stress. Ready for clinical trials, this therapy offers a new approach to treat glaucoma.

“Dr. Angelucci and Dr. Krizaj are truly remarkable researchers, and their work is essential to develop new treatments for blinding diseases,” said Moran CEO Randall J Olson, MD. “We are deeply appreciative of both the Brady and Carter families for their generosity and foresight in establishing these professorships.”

endowed professorship ophthalmology vision research Alessandra Angelucci Daivd Krizaj