West Virginia University (WVU) received an $11 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to establish a new visual sciences Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE). This is particularly impactful for the state because they have the second-highest rate of visual disability in the United States. WVU hopes to use this money to prevent, treat and slow vision problems that are currently incurable. Sadie Bergeron, Michael Robichaux and Joel Palko are the three researchers recruited to lead this center. In addition to focusing on visual sciences, the team may also consider extending their research to assess comorbidities that may be contributing to the state’s disparity in visual disability.
What this means for Usher syndrome: Although not specific to Usher syndrome, this grant will drive research efforts around incurable vision problems. Individuals with Usher syndrome may benefit from this research, which aims to prevent, treat and slow vision problems.