New York (July 24, 2018) – The New York Academy of Medicine has awarded its prestigious 2018 Lewis Rudin Glaucoma Prize to Val C. Sheffield, MD, PhD, of the University of Iowa for his groundbreaking research on glaucoma treatment. The prize recognizes the most significant scholarly article on glaucoma published in a peer-reviewed journal in the prior calendar year. Dr. Sheffield’s winning study, “CRISPR-Cas9–based treatment of myocilin-associated glaucoma,” was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) in 2017.
“The New York Academy of Medicine is honored to award the 2018 Rudin Glaucoma Prize to Dr. Val C. Sheffield for his important work in demonstrating the feasibility of human genome editing in the eye to treat primary open-angle glaucoma, a leading cause of irreversible vision loss worldwide. We look forward to the further development of his groundbreaking work,” said Academy President Judith A. Salerno, MD, MS.
“This is the first demonstration that stem-like cells can be reintroduced into eyes with glaucoma and address and correct the underlying cause of the disease rather than just manage the complications of the disease. There has never been a glaucoma treatment that corrected/repaired the cause and the potential for the future is exciting,” said selection committee chair David H. Abramson, MD, FACS, Professor of Ophthalmology at Weill-Cornell Medical School and Chief of the Ophthalmic Oncology Service at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.
Recipients of the Rudin Glaucoma Prize are nominated by their peers, and a winner is chosen by The New York Academy of Medicine’s Lewis Rudin Prize Selection Committee and approved by the Academy Board of Trustees. Since the prize’s inception in 1995, the committee has recognized the outstanding contributions of physicians and scientists working on the challenges of glaucoma, and the prize has become a highly respected and acknowledged award. Recent recipients include Mary Kelly, PhD, of Oregon Health & Sciences University; Krishnakumar Kizhatil, PhD, of The Jackson Laboratory and Howard Hughes Medical Institute; Larry I. Benowitz, PhD, of Harvard Medical School; Gareth R. Howell, PhD, of The Jackson Laboratory; and W. Daniel Stamer, PhD, of Duke Eye Center.
Dr. Sheffield is an internationally recognized leader in the field of human molecular genetics and genomics, particularly as related to inherited blinding disorders including glaucoma. He has spent his entire career at the University of Iowa, where he is currently Director of the Division of Medical Genetics in the Department of Pediatrics, Professor of Pediatrics and Ophthalmology, the Roy J. Carver Chair in Molecular Genetics, and an Investigator of the University of Iowa Institute for Vision Research. He is a graduate of the Growth, Development and Disabilities Training (MD, PhD) Program of the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, where he received his PhD in Developmental Biology and his MD with Honors in 1983 and 1985, respectively. He received Pediatric residency training and Medical Genetics Fellowship training at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Sheffield took a position in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine as an Assistant Professor in 1990. He was an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute from 1998 to 2015. Dr. Sheffield is board certified by the American Board of Medical Genetics and Genomics in both Clinical Genetics and Clinical Medical Genetics. He has received many honors including the E. Mead-Johnson Award for Pediatric Research, and is a member of the National Academy of Medicine.
Dr. Sheffield has made numerous contributions to science including playing a key role in constructing high density human genetic maps, which aided many laboratories across the world in the identification of disease-causing genes. He also developed novel efficient disease gene discovery methods and identified numerous important disease-causing genes including the first gene discovered that is involved in primary open angle glaucoma. His work has shed light on disease mechanisms involving primary cilia and intracellular trafficking, and his laboratory is currently involved in developing novel treatments for genetic disorders.
About the Lewis Rudin Glaucoma Prize
The Lewis Rudin Glaucoma Prize of The New York Academy of Medicine was established in 1995 in honor of Lewis Rudin, the late New York City real estate developer and founder of the Association for a Better New York. The prize is funded by the May and Samuel Rudin Family Foundation, Inc., with additional support from Jack Rudin, Chairman of the Rudin Management Company. The Rudin Family has a long tradition of service and philanthropy in New York City.
About The New York Academy of Medicine
Established in 1847, The New York Academy of Medicine is dedicated to ensuring everyone has the opportunity to live a healthy life. Through our original research, policy and program initiatives we provide the evidence base to address the structural and cultural barriers to good health and drive progress toward health equity. This work and our one-of-a-kind public programming is supported by our world class historical medical library and our Fellows program, a unique network of more than 2,000 experts elected by their peers from across the professions affecting health.