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UCSB neuroscientist to receive award

(Santa Barbara, Calif.) Steven K. Fisher, professor and founding director of the Neuroscience Research Institute (NRI) at the University of California, Santa Barbara, has been chosen to receive the Ludwig von Sallmann Prize for 2002. The prestigious award is for his outstanding contributions to vision research and ophthalmology.

The award committee, which was unanimous in its support of Fisher, made special note of his research contributions over many years to a better understanding of retinal detachment. The award ceremony will be held in Geneva, Switzerland later in the year.

"My career has been built around a desire to contribute to our understanding of the organization and function of vertebrate retina," said Fisher. "Although this has taken me along various satisfying paths, my most current and perhaps most satisfying emphasis is on the biology of induced retinal detachment."

He explained why he was attracted to this particular problem: "We want to understand specifically how this condition causes visual loss or abnormalities in human patients. Detachment is one of the few degenerative retinal conditions in which patients can experience significant visual recovery upon surgical treatment. Thus we felt that we had an opportunity to develop an experimental system in which we could study both 'degenerative' and 'regenerative' changes." Fisher said that information derived from such a study may also yield information about other central nervous system injuries.

"Optimizing recovery after retinal reattachment is certainly a goal of our study," said Fisher. "However, the broader goal is to understand the mechanisms that underlie visual deficits that occur as a result of detachment, with the hope that this knowledge will be of use in developing therapies for other visual disorders such as age-related macular degeneration."

Fisher also did a study, published in the American Journal of Ophthalmology, that supported the use of ox
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Contact: Gail Gallessich
gail.g@ia.ucsb.edu
805-893-7220
University of California - Santa Barbara
17-Sep-2002


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