The RPB David F. Weeks Award for Outstanding Vision 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 outstanding ophthalmic vision scientist whose research has made meaningful contributions to the understanding and/or treatment of potentially blinding eye disease. 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 $50,000, payable to the recipient directly and to be used at his or her discretion.
The nomination period is closed until February 2024.
2023 RPB David F. Weeks Award for Outstanding Vision Research
Dr. D’Amore earned her PhD in Biology from Boston University, was a postdoctoral fellow in Biological Chemistry and Ophthalmology at Johns Hopkins Medical School, then moved to Boston Children’s Hospital as Assistant Professor. She earned an MBA in Finance from Northeastern University in Boston. In 1998, she became Charles L. Schepens Professor of Ophthalmology and Professor of Pathology at Harvard Medical School and a Senior Scientist at Mass. Eye and Ear. She is the Associate Chief of Basic and Translational Research for Ophthalmology at Mass. Eye and Ear and the Vice Chair of Basic and Translational Research for the Department of Ophthalmology.
Dr. D’Amore is an international expert in vascular growth and development and has been at the forefront of angiogenesis research for over three decades. In collaboration with a group from Harvard Medical School (HMS) and Mass. Eye and Ear (MEE), she contributed to the scientific foundation for anti-VEGF therapies for which she and her colleagues received the 2015 António Champalimaud Award. Her laboratory also developed a mouse model of oxygen-induced retinopathy, which is widely used for investigations of vascular development and preclinical studies of vascular-targeting agents. She has revealed important physiological roles of VEGF, yielding insight into the safe use of anti-angiogenic therapies. Her current interests are two-fold: (i) the
endothelial glycocalyx in the regulation of endothelial-leukocyte interactions and angiogenesis and (ii) lipid handling by the retinal pigment epithelium in the pathogenesis of age-related macular degeneration.
Dr. D’Amore has published more than 170 peer-reviewed papers, 75 reviews, and edited or co-edited four books. She is the recipient of the Alcon Research Award, Cogan Award from the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, the Rous-Whipple Award from the Society of Investigative Pathology, the Endre A. Balazs Award from the International Society for Eye Research, the Proctor Medal from the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, the Roger Johnson Award in Macular Degeneration Research from the University of Washington, Seattle, the Benditt Award from the North American Vascular Biology Organization, and The Gabor Kaley Lectureship Award from the American Physiological Society. She was elected to the
American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2018.
Dr. D’Amore is heavily involved in the scientific community and is the past President of the American Society for Investigative Pathology and the current President of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO). She has won numerous awards for her role as a mentor and teacher, having trained over 70 undergraduate, graduate, and medical students and postdoctoral fellows, including the A. Clifford Barger Excellence in Mentoring Award from HMS, Everett Mendelsohn Excellence in Mentoring Award from Harvard University, and the 2016 William Silen Lifetime Achievement in Mentoring Award from HMS.
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
- 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 vision research that is basic, clinical, or translational in nature
- Has brought about outstanding innovation in and/or advancement in vision research as manifest by outstanding publications
- 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 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
- For Department Chairs in academic institutions and Ranking Scientist in non-academic institutions to be eligible for the Weeks Award, they must be nominated by a person of equal or higher rank from another institution.
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 vision 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.