Good news came yesterday with the announcement that I was awarded an RPB Career Development Award from Research to Prevent Blindness. This award is designed to either recruit young junior ophthalmology faculty or to support promising junior ophthalmology faculty. Given that I already have a faculty position, I am in the latter category and was honestly a little surprised upon hearing from a friend of mine, Steven Fliesler the day before telling me “You Da Man! Congratulations on your RPB Career Development Award”. Of course having heard nothing at that point I told him that if he was shining me on, I’d have to drive to St. Louis and pay him a visit in a dark alley, but a day later received the official notification that I was indeed a recipient of the award.
I am a bit surprised by this award as although my work has been critical to understanding how the retina behaves in retinal degenerative diseases, it really has been descriptive science. Granted, there is a place for descriptive science that is often necessary for scientific progress, but there are many other junior and senior scientists out there that are doing some work I find really impressive, so I am humbled to be invited to continue to play with the wider community. Previous RPB Career Development Award winners include my friends Rajendra Kumar Singh and Eduardo Solessio, both scientists whose work I greatly respect and I hope to be able to honor this award and its intent with some exciting new work over the next few years that will help to mitigate blinding diseases and possibly better inform vision rescue strategies. Thank you RPB.
The funny thing about all this is that I am now going to have to get my photograph taken for the RPB folks and their annual publication in a labcoat! For those of you out there that may not know, most scientists do not spend their days walking around in lab coats. Our work typically works out that a weeks worth of work in the lab is followed up with three to four weeks behind a computer screen. I have a couple of dingy labcoats, but for this, I will have to purchase a new, nice and white labcoat and try and talk my friend Ann into taking some professional photographs.