The RPB David F. Weeks Award for Outstanding AMD Research (the “Weeks Award”) has been established through the generosity of Research to Prevent Blindness (RPB), an anonymous donor, and the Association of University Professors of Ophthalmology (AUPO), to annually recognize and celebrate an excellent researcher focused on age-related macular degeneration. The award carries the name of David F. Weeks, former President and Chairman of Research to Prevent Blindness, in honor of his contributions to the field of vision research. The award will be presented at the AUPO Annual Meeting and will carry an unrestricted award of $40,000, payable to the recipient directly and to be used at his or her discretion.
The nomination period for 2019 is open through June 1.
2019 RPB David F. Weeks Award for Outstanding AMD Research
Jayakrishna Ambati, MD is a vitreoretinal surgeon whose laboratory studies age-related macular degeneration (AMD). His laboratory has reported numerous seminal advances in ocular vascular biology and immunology in journals such as Nature, Science, Cell, Nature Medicine, New England Journal of Medicine, Journal of Clinical Investigation, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and eLife. His group pioneered the concept that AMD is an inflammatory disease that is driven by perturbations in innate immunity. Their foundational contributions have led to fundamental conceptual advances that are on the cusp of improving the diagnosis and treatment of this disease.
He has been elected to the National Academy of Inventors, and was the first ophthalmologist to win the NIH Director’s Pioneer Award, Doris Duke Distinguished Clinical Scientist Award, Burroughs Wellcome Fund Clinical Scientist Award in Translational Research, Ellison Foundation Senior Scholar in Aging Award, and Harrington Discovery Institute Scholar-Innovator Award. He was elected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, The American Society for Clinical Investigation and was the first ophthalmologist to be elected to The Association of American Physicians. He also won the ARVO Cogan Award and Carl Camras Translational Research Award, Roger Johnson Memorial Award for Macular Degeneration Research, Prix Soubrane, Junius Kuhnt Medal, Chanchlani Global Vision Research Award, and ASRS Presidents’ Young Investigator Award. RPB awarded him its Senior Scientific Investigator Award, Wasserman Merit Award, and Physician-Scientist Award. He serves on the Editorial Boards of IOVS and Ophthalmic Research, and is an Associate Editor of Translational Vision Science & Technology.
Nominees for the Weeks Award must fulfill the following criteria:
- Must be US citizens or permanent residents of the US and doing research in the US
- Well-established, senior level investigator with documented history of conducting eye and vision research in AMD
- MDs, PhDs, or MD/PhDs are eligible
- Must be PI (Principal Investigator) on an active NIH grant
- Embodies the following qualities:
- Has demonstrated excellence in AMD research that is basic, clinical, or translational in nature
- Has brought about outstanding innovation in and/or advancement in the understanding of AMD from research relevant to its prevention, treatment, or cure
- Has exemplified the highest principles of scientific research and leadership
- Has made contributions in research within the last five years; that is, the Weeks Award is not an honorific for research contributions made for many years previously
- Nominees are NOT required to be Members or Associate Members of AUPO nor their institutions members of AUPO
- Nominees can be from academic or non-academic institutions
- Nominees can be from departments other than ophthalmology, but for academic institutions, the nomination must be made by the Ophthalmology Department Chair and for non-academic institutions, the nomination must be made by the Research Director or ranking scientist
Special consideration in the selection process will be given to:
- Recognition of current research activities, not simply the length of service or contributions made many years previously
- Innovative and outstanding work that has significantly advanced the field
Candidates must be nominated by the Ophthalmology Department Chair in academic institutions or by the Research Director or ranking scientist in non-academic institutions
The Application Packet must include the following items (10 pt. font or greater):
- One (1) letter maximum (not to exceed three pages) from the Ophthalmology Chair in academic institutions or Research Director or ranking scientist in non-academic institutions, summarizing the Nominee’s special qualifications for the Award and verifying that, if awarded:
- the award will be granted directly to the Awardee and not counted against normal compensation or deposited in department accounts
- the Awardee will attend the Annual Meeting of the AUPO to receive the Award and provide a lecture at the AUPO Annual Meeting the year after receiving the award
- Two (2) supporting letters maximum (each not to exceed two pages) from established scientists, mentors, and or leaders in the nominee’s field of interest
- A copy of the Nominee’s current Curriculum Vitae
- A copy (pdf) of the three papers in the past 5 years which exemplify the advance being considered for the award
- A signed letter from the Nominee (not to exceed two pages) summarizing the Nominee’s recent accomplishment(s) in AMD research and plans for future research. The Nominee must also agree in the letter to address the Annual Meeting of the AUPO the year after the Weeks Award is given.
- The application packet must be compiled by the Ophthalmology Department Chair for academic institutions or the Research Director or ranking scientist from non-academic institutions and submitted electronically by June 1.
- All completed applications will be reviewed by a Selection Committee, consisting of Chairs and Directors of Research from Departments of Ophthalmology, and a recommendation forwarded to the AUPO Board of Trustees for approval.
- The Awardee will be notified in August.