ARCS Foundation Utah Awards Research Scholarships to Incoming Moran Eye Center Residents

Sep 30, 2019 2:00 PM


(From left to right) ARCS Foundation Utah Vice President Anne Erickson; 2019 ARCS Foundation Utah Scholar Allie Simpson, MD; Moran CEO Randall J Olson, MD; 2019 ARCS Foundation Scholar Sean Collon, MD; ARCS Foundation Utah President Sue Dintelman; and Moran Vice Chair for Education Jeff Pettey, MD.
(From left to right) ARCS Foundation Utah Vice President Anne Erickson; 2019 ARCS Foundation Utah Scholar Allie Simpson, MD; Moran CEO Randall J Olson, MD; 2019 ARCS Foundation Scholar Sean Collon, MD; ARCS Foundation Utah President Sue Dintelman; and Moran Vice Chair for Education Jeff Pettey, MD.

Each September, the Utah chapter of the Achievement Rewards for College Scientists (ARCS) Foundation awards $15,000 to an incoming first-year John A. Moran Eye Center resident to support research.

This generous gift allows promising young researchers to continue moving forward with their work during residency. Moran then matches the award for the following two years of residency, providing a total of $45,000 to support research for each scholar.

September 2019 marks a new milestone for the partnership: the Foundation generously extended its support to not one but two Moran residents. Each scholar brings a robust history of research and service to the role.

seancollon.jpgSean Collon, MD, completed his Bachelor of Science at the University of Michigan in 2012 and earned his medical degree at Vanderbilt University in 2019. In the intervening years, while working as a mountain guide in Washington and Alaska, he developed relationships with individuals who would become mentors in ophthalmology and global health. With these mentors, he worked in several low-or no-cost clinics both at home and abroad, and realized a passion for addressing healthcare inequities.

In medical school, he held a staff position at the student-run free clinic, where he helped to implement a teleophthalmology diabetic retinopathy screening program. He also returned to Nepal and worked to investigate and implement a mobile phone-based teleophthalmology protocol to improve detection of retinal and optic nerve pathology in rural screening camps.

During his ophthalmology residency at the University of Utah, Collon hopes to continue to address healthcare inequities through continually working to improve the effectiveness and sustainability of outreach efforts, as well as through minimizing the environmental impact and cost of high-quality eye care.

alliesimpson.jpgAllie Marie Simpson, MD, received her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology with a minor in Chemistry from the University of Northern Iowa in 2014. She graduated Summa Cum Laude and was awarded the Purple and Old Gold Award for demonstrating outstanding academic success. Her undergraduate research focused on plant genetics, and her work helped elucidate homeobox gene regulation of leaf morphology in a member of the grape family.

Simpson earned her medical degree from the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine in 2019. She was an active member of the Glaucoma Genetics Lab at the university’s Institute for Vision Research and graduated with research distinction. Her work aided in the discovery of a new disease-causing mutation in a patient with LADD syndrome and open-angle glaucoma. She also independently screened over 200 glaucoma patients from the Faroe Islands for known glaucoma-causing mutations. She was elected to the Alpha Omega Honor Medical Society in recognition of her leadership, scholarship, and service and received the Thomas A. Weingeist Award for her research in ophthalmology.

Simpson is looking forward to engaging in further glaucoma and anterior segment research at the Moran Eye Center.

Collon and Simpson will begin their residencies in July 2020.

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