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UF colleges receive funding for research on eye disease, brain injuries

By on December 5th, 2012

Two University of Florida colleges, the College of Medicine and College of Nursing, recently received donations to help further research.

A UF College of Nursing graduate gave a $3 million gift to the college for the continuation of research for patients dealing with traumatic brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Research to Prevent Blindness (RPB) is a voluntary health organization supporting eye research. The organization awarded $110,000 to UF’s College of Medicine’s Department of Ophthalmology.

Matthew Levine, director of communications and marketing for RPB, said his organization promotes research for all types of blindness disease.

“UF is doing a lot of groundbreaking research not only within the confines of UF but in collaboration with other major departments of ophthalmology,” he said.

Department of Ophthalmology Chair William Driebe said the annual grants from RPB over the last three decades have lead to accomplishments in eye research.

“This is an unfunded grant we get on an annual basis that allows us to fund junior researchers and also researchers that might be between funding,” he said. “We can also fund projects that are hard to get funding for. So this money supports all of our vision research in the broad sense.”

Tracy Wright, director of public relations and alumni affairs for the college of nursing said she is thankful for the donation to her college because of it is crucial to focus on brain injury and PTSD.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, PTSD affects about 12,463,676 people in the United States, which could fill UF’s Ben Hill Griffin stadium about 140 times.

“We felt that this area of patient care is something that continues to grow,” Wright said. “We know that traumatic brain injuries contribute to a substantial number of deaths and permanent disabilities.”

She said PTSD can cause long-term damage if not treated, and it is often not identified correctly. Many patients might not know to seek treatment or know they are suffering from the disorder.

This donation will allow funding to go to doctoral students, medicine and nursing students who are doing clinical projects and will support faculty in research.

Kelsey Meany wrote this story online.


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