As a board member of Fight For Sight I can't help but have pride in what we do.....we fund research grants to scientists who are making great strides in many areas. Many of them will say that their career started with a Fight for Sight grant. We all ask that you be generous; go to our website and learn more about the wonderful things that we have done; and the many other things on the horizon. Nothing is more precious than one's sight. Join us in our effort to make the world a bit brighter for those who suffer from blinding eye diseases.
I volunteered as a high school student when Fight for Sight sought Volunteers. No w 45 years later here I am writing a review about why I am committed to their cause. The beauty of Fight for Sight is that its mission is clear and simple. It provides grants to those researching blinding eye diseases..their causes, hopefully their cures. It isn't sexy or large, but it's uniqueness is what has kept me involved all of these years and hopefully many more ahead.
Fight for Sight funded a grant-in-aid in 2009, which has led to my successful application for NIH/NEI funding. Without their support, I would not have been able to perform as many experiments required to produce the preliminary data required for my NEI grant. Thanks - a wonderful organization!
My first research support was a grant-in-aid during my eye residency. This was much needed support that led to a career in eye research. I have served on FFS review panels and have been impressed at their quality and objectivity. FFS provides support to young investigators at a time when other support avenues are not open to them. It expands the pool of young investigators in the eye field.
FFS has a unique role in providing support to future leaders in eye and vision reasearch. For over sixty years, FFS has been funding promising scientists early in there career. Many of today's leaders in the area of vision research received their early funding from the FFS. They have a dedicated network of alumni and donors who continue supporting the original founders mission. It is a great organization with a self-less team focused on fulfilling this mission.
This organization is extremely efficient. I have worked with other nonprofits (like Teach for American and the Michael Jordan Foundation). FFS, like TFA, relies heavily on the internet to conduct business but are also very personable. When you have a question about something, you get a response right away and the program directors know their students well.
Fight for Sight fills an important need in developing the careers of young people. It does so by funding research grants to undergraduate and graduate students working in the laboratory of a mentor (who are leading scientists), giving the exposure to an actual research project and experience in preparing a proposal. In addition, FFS funds grants to postdoctoral fellows to provide them with further training in research and proposal writing, again in laboratories of leading vision scientists. Finally, FFS also provides startup grants to new young faculty members to enable them to initiate their research programs. This latter function is particularly important as there are few avenues for new faculty to obtain outside funding. Grants from the NIH usually require significant amounts of preliminary data and FFS grants are one of the few ways new faculty members can gain the funding to obtain such data. Funding from FFS is important in helping to feed the pipeline of researchers and give future research stars a chance to succeed. The first research grant I received as a new faculty member (24 years ago) was from FFS and it was critical in helping me start my new laboratory. Since then I have become internationally recognized for the work that my laboratory has done and I have trained several doctoral students, residents, masters students, and visiting scientists. Because I feel FFS is so critical in helping to develop future vision scientists I have been volunteering to review grants for several years now and three years ago agreed to chair one of the review committees. Even though this requires a significant time committment it is important. FFS is unique in that there are few, if any, organizations that fill this particular niche.
FFS has a long and distinguished history of providing grant support to students and early career investigators (including post doctoral fellows) in the area of eye research. Their support in the field crosses many boundaries to include novel clinical paradigms, molecular biology, translational research and neuroscience, to name just a few. Over the past 50 years, FFS has supported many scientists who have become the leading researchers and clinicians of thier generation, and continues to do so. FFS grants fill a unique niche in the eye research space. It supports students in summer projects to provide unique opportunities to work with outstanding scientists to attract them into eye research careers. In addition it fills a great need with grant support for fellows and early career scientists for whom it is becoming increasingly difficult, if not impossible to compete at the NIH level. These gratn provide an important bridge and time for these scientists to mature personally and in their research programs to become competetive.
I would like to offer a brief description of my experience with the Fight For Sight (FFS) organization. I am a current recipient of the FFS Post-doctoral Fellowship award. I am humbled by this prestigious honor and to be associated with such distinguished alumni. The Fight For Sight organization fulfills a unique niche, providing an unparalleled opportunity since 1946 for scientists with limited funding like myself. As a nascent scientist, this award has allowed me to investigate a novel photoreceptor-specific protein that when mutated, causes a severe and early onset form of retinitis pigmentosa. In addition, the funding from FFS has allowed me to attend and present my work at several scientific meetings. Being new to the field of vision research, I have taken full advantage of the FFS generous award. It has allowed me to form new relationships with scientists from around the globe, become acquainted with the latest methodologies, as well as further my knowledge in the field. Currently, I am preparing a manuscript for publication based on data generated through the financial support of this grant. At this critical juncture in my career, this award will be the catalyst that I am sure will help propel me in all my future endeavors. It is my hope that this organization will continue to stay viable and strong, providing support and encouragement to young scientists who are interested in pursuing academic careers. Sincerely, Gregory H Grossman, PhD
It has been a privilege for me to review proposals submitted by students and post-docs for FFS during the past three years. The mission of FFS to support eye and vision research by funding talented young researchers is highly commendable. FFS is a noble organization that deserves to be applauded for its efforts to fight against blindness and enhance our knowledge of vision by supporting promising scientists early in their careers.
For 5 years, I have served on the grant review committee for Fight For Sight (FFS), and in recent year I have taken part in hosting the FFS information booth at annual vision meetings. Critically, FFS mentors and supports young basic scientists and physician scientists in cutting-edge ocular research studies. Furthermore, FFS encourages and supports networking and communication of investigators between the various disciplines in vision science. The many scientists and physicians that serve FFS, and the many success stories of FFS-funded and -supported students who develop into leading and funded researchers in vision science, speak loudly to the long history of success for this outstanding organization. I am privileged to be a part of Fight For Sight.
I served on FFB's grant review panel for a few years, helping to review grant applications primarily from first-time, young investigators trying to enter the vision research field. I was truly impressed by the high quality of the applicants and their proposals. More importantly, however, the impact that this funding had on the career development of these young investigaotrs was critical to their future in the field. FFB is a first-rate not-for-profit organization, and a credit to the profession.
FFS has a long history of work in the field of ophthalmology. Through their many programs, hundreds of ophthalmic researchers have been trained. Through my involvement, there will be a new element of support for public health interventions in blindness prevention. FFS is uniquely qualified to make this program a success.
I received a Fight for Sight grant-in-aid several years ago for my research in ocular stem cells. The grant was instrumental in helping me obtain preliminary results that led to a grant from the National Institutes of Health to combat retinoblastoma, a blinding and potentially fatal eye disease of childhood. The project continues to this day. I could not have made the progress that I did, if not for the financial support of Fight for Sight. A few years ago, I became a volunteer reviewer for Fight for Sight. The research grants that we review provide seed money to students, postdoctoral fellows, as well as established researchers (grants-in-aid). These grants support important vision-saving research. We review grants online and then gather from around the country to discuss the grants in person at the annual Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology meeting in Fort Lauderdale. I am always impressed by the professionalism and dedication of the staff. It feels good to be able to give back to an organization that was so helpful to me at a time when I needed those funds for my professional survival.
FFS plays an important role in the vision research community by supporting young scientists. At a personal level both my summer student and postdoc fellowships were key events in my young professional life. My FFS summer graduate student fellowship encouraged me to continue thinking independently and creatively. As I started my postdoc, I wanted to approach basic questions about vision using a multidisciplinary approach. However, traditional postdoc positions don't encourage much collaboration across labs due to funding limitations. Fortunately, the FFS postdoc fellowship supported my developing a research program that benefits from the expertise of two different labs. Thank you FFS for believing in me and my ideas.
Fight for Sight (FFS) is one of the country's oldest eye and vision research charities whose singular mission is to identify, support and nurture individuals at the beginning of their medical and/or scientific careers by providing seed funding for research. Many current and former leaders in academic ophthalmology and eye and vision research credit FFS with providing the initial support that enabled them to successfully apply for larger federal or foundation research awards. 65 years after its founding, its mission is still intact and FFS continues to serve and important and unique niche within the medical research charity world. Having had students who received FFS funding, I know how important this relatively small amount of money is to a young clinician-scientist, both as a measure of accomplishment and confidence from their colleagues and mentors and as a tool with which to develop preliminary research results in preparation for applying to the National Eye Institute for Federal grant funds. Mildred Weisenfeld, our founder, would be very proud to see just how her efforts have led to so many successes in treatment and cures for visual disability and blindness.
Funding for research is difficult to obtain in the current economic climate. Fight for Sight provides so many Ophthalmology department with funds that can be used for new projects, to buy a desparately needed piece of equipment, and the like. Additionally they provide fellowships for medical students, and this is very important as it increases the potential that they will pursue a career in both medicine and research.
As a college student, I sought to do medical research but found it difficult to obtain the necessary funding as a student. I was lucky enough to be awarded with the Fight For Sight Student Fellowship Grant. I was able to complete my summer research project with that funding. Now, three years later I am in my final year of medical school, applying for an ophthalmology residency. I hope to continue studying eye diseases at a large research institution.
My mom who recently passed away was an avid supporter of FFS. She held the position of Treasurer in her local chapter for many years. I fondly remember her helping organize and plan fundraising efforts in an over 55 community in Florida.In fact, we actually have some of the FFS coin collection containers she had used standing in front of local stores. I feel it is important to carry on this tradition of supporting FFS as the work they do to help people with vision issues is extremely important. At this time I can only help with monetary support, but in the future I hope to be able to volunteer and help in different ways.
Since 1946 Fight for Sight has invested in the future of vision research by funding promising young scientists early in their careers. This has led to many innovative therapies that assist patients to have better eyesight, thereby improving their quality of life. Many of the individuals that Fight for Sight has supported have gone on to beocme chairmen of major departments in academic medical centers and serve on the National Insitutes of Health administration. I believe this is a most deserving organization in its unique ability to recruit such outstanding individuals that have such an excellent track record. As for myself, serving on this Board has been a valuable education in research at work. In the past, I was an administrator of a large academic department of ophthalmology and often applied with the scientists for grants. Once I left this position I was recruited to the Board of Directors of Fight for Sight - so I am in the unique position of having watched scientists receive the benefits of a Fight for Sight award as well as now seeing and participating,first hand how the process works. Fight for Sight has done an outstanding job for 65 years in supporting vision research with remarkable results.