Boston, Mass. — Lotfi B. Merabet, Ph.D., O.D., an optometrist and vision researcher at Massachusetts Eye and Ear and an Associate Professor of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School, is the 2016 recipient of the Low Vision Research Award from Research to Prevent Blindness (RPB) and the Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF). Dr. Merabet (pictured left) will receive $300,000 over three years for his project studying neuroplasticity and cortical/cerebral visual impairment (CVI) – the primary cause of congenital visual impairment in developed countries, including the United States. An expert in neuroplasticity associated with visual impairment, Dr. Merabet is the only vision researcher this year to receive the award, which provides seed funding to researchers working on novel investigations of the way the brain responds to damage to the visual system in low vision patients, with an ultimate goal of developing solutions.
With this support from RPB/LCIF, Dr. Merabet will apply state-of-the-art neuroimaging techniques in children and adolescents to discover how the brain reorganizes itself in cortical/cerebral visual impairment (CVI). To date, very little clinical research has focused on CVI, and Dr. Merabet’s research will play a critical role in developing more effective clinical rehabilitation and education programs for individuals with this condition.
“Dr. Merabet is a pioneer in the development of assistive technology for the blind and the use of advanced neuroimaging methodologies,” said Joan W. Miller, M.D., FARVO, the Henry Willard Williams Professor and Chair of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School and Chief of Ophthalmology at Massachusetts Eye and Ear and Massachusetts General Hospital. “Remarkably, little clinical research has been focused on CVI, and advances in this area of research are clearly needed. Dr. Merabet is uniquely qualified to carry out this innovative and well-developed research project.”
Mass. Eye and Ear