The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and Schepens Eye Research Institute are combining forces to create the world's largest basic and clinical ophthalmology research enterprise, with full spectrum bench-to-bedside research that will translate more quickly into better treatment for blinding diseases and, ultimately, cures.
Effective June 30, Schepens Eye Research Institute, the largest independent ophthalmology research institute in the U.S., will become part of Mass. Eye and Ear, under the direction of the Mass. Eye and Ear Board of Directors. Mass. Eye and Ear is an academic medical center providing clinical care, conducting eye research and educating eye specialists. Schepens will remain a nonprofit and retain its name.
"It is a bad day for blindness," said Wycliffe "Wyc" Grousbeck, Chairman of Mass. Eye and Ear's Board of Directors. "This creates a powerhouse in vision research that we are confident will accelerate the eradication of blinding diseases."
Mass. Eye and Ear and Schepens have complementary areas of expertise and technology. "Together we will cover the spectrum of scientific disciplines and eye diseases," said Joan W. Miller, M.D., Chair of Ophthalmology at Mass. Eye and Ear and Harvard Medical School. "Mass. Eye and Ear has strong research programs in retina, glaucoma and genomics. Schepens Eye Research Institute is a world leader in ocular surface disease, immunology, stem cell therapies, regeneration, and mobility rehabilitation. Working together we will provide an even stronger basic and translational science engine with a powerful clinical team to produce an environment that is primed to solve the problems of and find cures for blinding eye diseases."
Both Schepens Eye Research Institute and Mass. Eye and Ear are Harvard Medical School teaching affiliates and train clinical and research specialists. They will be located on one campus in the heart of downtown Boston.
"This scientifically rich and diverse alliance will have a powerful impact on our ability to attract the best and the brightest young scientists as well as encourage other seasoned world-class eye researchers to join us in our fight to eradicate these devastating diseases. And it will increase our joint capacity to obtain funding from federal and industry sources," said Kenneth Fischer, President and COO of Schepens Eye Research Institute.
Schepens Eye Research Institute was founded in 1950 by Dr. Charles Schepens, the father of modern retinal surgery. It has a scientific staff of 200. Publishing nearly 100 scientific papers each year, Schepens has been a major recipient of NIH funding for eye research.