Gustavo Aguirre of Penn Vet Awarded Proctor Medal for Blindness Research

By Patrick Ammerman

The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology has awarded the University of Pennsylvania’s Gustavo D. Aguirre the 2017 Proctor Medal for his research in ophthalmology. Aguirre is a professor of medical genetics and ophthalmology in Penn’s School of Veterinary Medicine’s Department of Clinical Studies. He is the first veterinarian to be granted the Medal in its 67-year history.

The Proctor Medal honors excellence in the basic or clinical sciences as applied to ophthalmology. Aguirre was selected for this award at the 2016 ARVO annual meeting, and the award will be presented at the 2017 ARVO meeting where he also will deliver the Proctor Lecture.

Aguirre's research area is the molecular basis of inherited blindness. His team uses dog models to study the genetic mechanisms behind vision impairment. His research spans several vision disorders, including Leber’s congenital amaurosis, Best disease and retinitis pigmentosa.

Aguirre’s approach to developing genetic therapies for dogs with Leber’s congenital amaurosis has paved the way to clinical trials in humans, currently underway. 

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