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Vision Science

Center of Economic Excellence



Award Amount

$4.5 million

Extramural Research Funding

$10.1 million

University Partner

Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC)
University of South Carolina

Private Sector Partner

Multiple Industry Partners

The Vision Science SmartState Center focuses on new gene and pharmaceutical bases for the treatment of macular degeneration, glaucoma, retinitis pigmentosa, and other eye diseases. The Center's chairs will have expertise in gene and pharmaceutical-based treatments for retinal degenerative diseases as well as bioengineering and material science techniques to develop novel products for improving surgical outcomes and drug delivery.

The Center’s most significant scientific accomplishments to date are in the pathogenesis of macular degeneration and whether or not vitamin A derivatives can be used to treat the disease. The Center also seeks to determine whether changing protein acetylation status can prevent or slow vision loss due to glaucoma.

Partners include Alcon Labs, Alimera Scientific, Inotek Pharmaceutics, QLT Inc., Taligen Inc., and Pfizer. In 2009, the Storm Eye Institute, in which the Vision Science Center resides, purchased a Spectralis HRT+OCT—the only one in South Carolina—allowing researchers to efficiently translate basic findings into new therapies.

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