The Achievement Rewards for College Scientists (ARCS) Foundation of Utah has selected two incoming John A. Moran Eye Center residents to receive its 2023-2024 research scholarships.
This year, ARCS will award $15,000 to the two incoming Moran residents to pursue research during residency with the hope they will choose careers that continue their scientific investigations. Moran matches the award for the following two years of residency, providing a total of $45,000.
George Sánchez, MD, will receive the Might Family Foundation Award in memory of Bertrand T. Might; and Erica N. Woertz, MD, PhD, will receive the Mark and Kathie Miller Award in honor of Moran CEO Randall J Olson, MD.
Sánchez earned his medical degree at Dartmouth Medical School. His honors included receiving the Arthur Naitove Surgical Scholar Award, given to one graduating medical student with the greatest potential for making a significant contribution to the field of surgery.
At Dartmouth, Sánchez conducted research in a variety of subspecialties, including the role of anti-vascular endothelial growth factor therapy injections to treat age-related macular degeneration.
Sánchez, who grew up in Hialeah, Florida, as the son of Cuban immigrants, is passionate about providing care to underserved and Spanish-speaking communities. At Moran, he looks forward to continuing his research and providing high-quality, cutting-edge patient care.
Woertz earned her medical degree and doctorate through the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW). Her dissertation on the visual system in human albinism —completed under Joseph Carroll, PhD, through the Dennis P. Han, MD Advanced Ocular Imaging Program—earned a top MCW prize. She has co-authored numerous peer-reviewed journal articles and contributed to work presented at prestigious vision and neuroscience conferences.
Her extensive training included a visiting student research rotation at Moran under the mentorship of Paul S. Bernstein, MD, PhD. During this rotation, she continued to study human albinism, using fluorescence lifetime imaging ophthalmoscopy (FLIO), an advanced imaging technique designed to characterize pigments in the retina.
During her residency training, she plans to further her research into the connection between retinal pigment, retinal cellular structure, visual acuity, and genetic variability in human albinism.