Center for Vision Research


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In 1998, Chancellor William R. Rice established the Center for Vision Research (CVR), a multidisciplinary research program in vision science, which represents a consortium of vision scientists from both basic science and clinical departments within the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) and from other local institutions as well as clinicians in private practice. As the first vision research group of its kind in Tennessee, the CVR has been strengthened by the interdepartmental nature of the program and the multidisciplinary approach to research in vision science. This broad, diverse group provides a rich environment in which research efforts are flourishing. The purpose of the CVR is to recognize, support, and expand the efforts of individual vision researchers and provide a structure to facilitate collaborations among basic and clinical investigators. The CVR's goal is to integrate research efforts and bring together both basic and clinical aspects of vision science.

The CVR comprises 45 members from 11 institutions: UTHSC College of Medicine (28), Southern College of Optometry (2), St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital (4), Charles Retina Institute (1), Vitreoretinal Foundation (1), Independent Ophthalmic Consultant (2), Memphis Eye and Cataract Associates (1), Methodist Healthcare (1), UT Medical Group Department of Pediatrics (1), Pharmaceutical Sciences (1), and various doctors in the community (3). The 45 members are established scientists and clinicians in the field of vision science.

Of the 28 members in the College of Medicine, 8 are in one of five basic science departments (Anatomy and Neurobiology, Biostatistics and Epidemiology, Molecular Sciences, Physiology, and Pharmaceutical Sciences) and 20 are in one of five clinical departments (Medicine, Neurology, Neurosurgery, Ophthalmology, and Pathology).

Some benefits of the CVR structure include exposure to undergraduate students from several nearby undergraduate institutions, exchange of research ideas with scientists from other disciplines, and integration of ideas from both basic and clinical perspectives.

Since 1997, participating faculty members have received substantial federal funding (e.g., National Institutes of Health, National Eye Institute) and private foundation funding (e.g., Plough Foundation Professorship, Research to Prevent Blindness, Mid-South and Downtown Lions Clubs and the International Lions Foundation, Richard Siegal Professorship and Grant Support, Federal Express, CIBA Vision, and private donations) to support their research and training.