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Erin Lavik Team Awarded $90k "Ideation" Prize

Team Won Nat'l Eye Institute 3-D Retina Organoid Challenge

September 28, 2017 1:16 PM
Congratulations to Erin Lavik, ScD, and Adam Day, PhD student, whose team has been awarded $90,000 in prize money from the National Eye Institute!
Dr. Lavik's team won the 3-D Retina Organoid Challenge (3-D ROC) “ideation” phase, which asked participants for ideas to generate human retinas from stem cells. Concepts were evaluated based on their innovativeness and feasibility. A review panel assessed how each proposal addressed scientific challenges such as how to assemble distinct and anatomically correct layers of retinal tissue, assess retinal cell function, and use the prototypes to understand diseases or test therapies. Five teams were also recognized with honorable mention.

A follow-on “reduction to practice,” or implementation, challenge will ask participants to submit publication-quality data showing they can build functional human retina tissue. 

Winning Team
  • Erin Lavik, ScD, University of Maryland, Baltimore County
  • Steven Bernstein, MD, PhD, University of Maryland Medical School
  • Adam Day, University of Maryland, Baltimore County
  • Bryan Ibarra, University of Miami

The team’s idea is to build a retina by screen printing adult neural progenitor-derived retinal neurons in layers that mimic the structure of the human retina. The system is scalable and efficient which should enable the high reproducibility and increased throughput necessary for drug testing.

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