Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

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Bakondi Awarded Grant for Eye Research

Benjamin Bakondi, PhD, fifth from left, receives a grant from the Knights Templar Eye Foundation Inc. Others, from left: research scientist Shaomei Wang, MD, PhD, and director Clive Svendsen, PhD, of the Cedars-Sinai Board of Governors Regenerative Medicine Institute; Knights Templar members Michael Sekera and Roger Ross; U.S. Knights Templar Grand Captain David Kussman; and Thomas Thomas, Knights Templar grand commander for California.

Benjamin Bakondi, PhD, postdoctoral scientist in the Cedars-Sinai Board of Governors Regenerative Medicine Institute, has received a Career-Starter Research Grant in pediatric ophthalmology from the Knights Templar Eye Foundation Inc.

The $65,000 award will support his research on retinitis pigmentosa, an inherited disease of the retina in which the progressive loss of light-sensing cells leads to vision deficits and blindness. The study will evaluate the safety and efficacy of a CRISPR/Cas9-based gene editing strategy to rescue vision in animals with the disease. It builds on earlier collaborative work at the institute published by the laboratory of research scientist Shaomei Wang, MD, PhD, in the journal Molecular Therapy.

"We’re proud to see this award to go to one our postdocs," said Clive Svendsen, director of the Board of Governors Regenerative Medicine Institute. "This research is a great example of the new approaches in regenerative medicine we’re taking at our institute to tackle diseases that have been considered untreatable."

The mission of the Knights Templar Eye Foundation Inc., a charity sponsored by the Grand Encampment of Knights Templar, is "to improve vision through research, education and supporting access to care."

The IACUC number for animal subjects in research referenced in this article is 3801.