Awards totaling $6.2 million to create major genetic testing lab at University of Iowa

The University of Iowa's Center for Macular Degeneration (CMD), a world leader in the discovery of the genetic basis of blinding eye disease, will be able to significantly advance its mission with the creation of a large-scale nonprofit genetic testing laboratory, made possible by two gifts totaling $6.2 million.

The new laboratory and the multimillion-dollar gifts endowing its operations were announced Feb. 3 at the national meeting of the Foundation Fighting Blindness in Los Angeles.

The lab will be named the John and Marcia Carver Nonprofit Genetic Testing Laboratory in recognition of a $5 million gift from John Carver's mother, Lucille A. Carver of Muscatine, Iowa. Lucille Carver is the widow of Roy J. Carver Sr., who died in 1981. The Carver family -- including John and Marcia of Rapids City, Ill.; Martin G. Carver of Muscatine, Iowa; and Roy J. Carver Jr. of Bettendorf, Iowa -- and the Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust of Muscatine are among the UI's most generous benefactors.

The Foundation Fighting Blindness (FFB), a longtime major supporter of eye research at the UI, pledged an additional $1.2 million to support the work of the new laboratory, which like the FFB, will help patients, physicians and researchers nationally and internationally.

Both gifts were made through the University of Iowa Foundation.

Over the next five years, the Carver Nonprofit Genetic Testing Laboratory (Carver NGTL) intends to develop a clinically useful test -- to be offered nationally on a not-for-profit basis -- for every gene known to cause an inherited eye disease, said CMD director Edwin M. Stone, M.D., Ph.D., UI professor of ophthalmology and visual sciences and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator.

The testing conducted at the Carver NGTL will significantly strengthen the position of the UI's interdisciplinary CMD as a major international center for research and treatment of macular degeneration, glaucoma, retinitis pi

Contact: Forrest Meyer
University of Iowa

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