Building upon the strengths of the Department of Ophthalmology, we have already made great strides to ensure a very bright future.
Clinically, we have recruited outstanding physicians in Retina, Glaucoma, and Cornea. All our teams are working diligently on the implementation of many changes in clinical practice, aimed at bringing more innovative, diagnostic, and therapeutic advances to our patients and increasing our focus on patient-centered clinical pathways. I hope to provide many successful examples of these advances next year.
On the research side, we have already recruited three talented scientists to join the Department: Ethan Rossi, PhD, joined us from the University of Rochester in the fall, Leah Byrne, PhD from the University of California at Berkeley, and Yuanyuan Chen, PhD from Case Western will join us in 2017. We also have several additional recruitments underway in optic nerve regeneration, machine vision, immunology and retinal cell biology. Highlighting the quality of their research, these recruits have already been quite successful in obtaining grant support; Ethan Rossi and I received an award from the Thome Foundation for AMD research, and Yuanyuan Chen received a highly competitive NIH Pathway to Independence Award. I expect great things from these scientists, as well as all the faculty and staff within the Department of Ophthalmology.
In 2016, we also forged ahead in establishing new collaborative teams for our optic nerve regeneration research, the whole eye transplant project, and sensory neuroscience, by joining with existing teams at the Institut de al Vision in Paris and with colleagues at Stanford, Harvard and other national and international universities. 2017 will see more alliances, as we expand our research programs and their impact, not only by recruiting the most promising scientists and clinicians, but also by establishing greater connections with our partners in Pittsburgh School of Medicine and Carnegie Mellon University.
Over the past few months, we have assessed our current organization and obtained strong commitment from Pitt and UPMC leaders to develop an even stronger Department. We are very hopeful that construction will soon begin on a new building, where all our clinicians and scientists will work on addressing patients’ needs in an integrated translational environment, learning from the experience gained at Institut de la Vision in Paris, and organizing collaborative approaches aimed at protecting and restoring vision.
In such a delicate and promising phase, the help from the Eye & Ear Foundation and their donors are of outmost importance. We are extremely grateful for your unwavering support of our programs and growth.
José-Alain Sahel, MD
Professor and Chairman, Department of Ophthalmology
The Eye & Ear Foundation Endowed Chair
University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Pitt School of Medicine Signs Collaborative Agreement with World-Renowned French Research Institutions
PITTSBURGH, July 13, 2017 – The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine has entered into an agreement with three world-renowned French research institutions, the University Pierre et Marie Curie of the Sorbonne Universités in Paris, the Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (Inserm); and the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), to focus on collaborative research and education in the fields of medicine and biomedical sciences.
The agreement will enable researchers of all four institutions to cooperate on fundamental research, development of novel therapeutics, and clinical trials, with an initial focus on ophthalmology, vision and neuroscience. Along with joint research, the agreement also emphasizes exchange of academic personnel, joint academic conferences, and exchange of scientific, educational and scholarly materials.
The agreement, signed on July 12 at the French Embassy in Washington, D.C., highlights an important partnership between Pitt and the French institutions that was spurred by the recent recruitment of José-Alain Sahel, M.D., one of the world’s top experts in retinal diseases, as the chair of the Department of Ophthalmology at Pitt’s School of Medicine, director of the UPMC Eye Center, and the Eye & Ear Foundation Chair of Ophthalmology. Sahel retained his connections to Paris as the founder and director of the Institut de la Vision in Paris and as a professor at the Université Pierre-et-Marie-Curie of the Sorbonne Universités (which co-incidentally also is referred to by the acronym UPMC), a top ranked medical school and the largest scientific and medical complex in France.
Inserm, the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research, is the only public research institution solely focused on human health and medical research in France and a leading medical research agency worldwide; and CNRS, the French National Center for Scientific Research is the largest governmental research organization in France and the largest fundamental science agency in Europe.
“This agreement will further strengthen the robust scientific and educational partnerships between Pittsburgh and Paris, bringing to bear our outstanding intellectual capacities to address some of the most significant diseases that lead to blindness and vision impairment through basic and translational research,” said Sahel.
“Taking on an immense challenge like the quest to cure blindness requires that we not only have bold ideas, but also the brightest minds to work on them. The University of Pittsburgh is proud to be a part of this international partnership that will bring together the world-class scientific community at Pitt with researchers from France under the able leadership of Dr. Sahel,” said Arthur S. Levine, M.D., Pitt’s senior vice chancellor for the health sciences and John and Gertrude Petersen Dean of Medicine.
About the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
As one of the nation’s leading academic centers for biomedical research, the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine integrates advanced technology with basic science across a broad range of disciplines in a continuous quest to harness the power of new knowledge and improve the human condition. Driven mainly by the School of Medicine and its affiliates, Pitt has ranked among the top 10 recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health since 1998. In rankings recently released by the National Science Foundation, Pitt ranked fifth among all American universities in total federal science and engineering research and development support.
Signatories of the agreement between Pitt and the French research institutions pose for the cameras at the conclusion of the signing ceremony. (L to R) Dr. Sidney Wiener, Scientific Officer, International Affairs, CNRS; Dr. José-Alain Sahel, Professor and Chair of Ophthalmology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine; Gérard Araud, ambassador of France to the United States; Dr. Jean Chambaz, President, University Pierre et Marie Curie of the Sorbonne Universités; Dr. Yves Levy, President and CEO of Inserm; Dr. Arthur Levine, Pitt’s Senior Vice Chancellor for the health sciences and John and Gertrude Petersen Dean of Medicine. Credit: French Embassy, Washington, DC.
Agreement is signed between Pitt and French research institutions at the French Embassy in Washington D.C. Seated (L to R) Dr. Sidney Wiener, Scientific Officer, International Affairs, CNRS; Dr. Arthur Levine, Pitt’s senior vice chancellor for the health sciences and John and Gertrude Petersen Dean of Medicine; Dr. José-Alain Sahel, Professor and Chair of Ophthalmology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine; Dr. Jean Chambaz, President, University Pierre et Marie Curie of the Sorbonne Universités; Dr. Yves Levy, President and CEO of Inserm. Credit: French Embassy, Washington, DC.
Dr. Sahel engaged in discussion: Dr. José-Alain Sahel (Right), Professor and Chair of Ophthalmology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine engaging in discussion with Dr. Jean Chambaz (Center), President, University Pierre et Marie Curie of the Sorbonne Universités, and, Dr. Yves Levy, President and CEO of Inserm. Credit: French Embassy, Washington, DC.
Contact: Arvind Suresh
Contact: Gloria Kreps
The Eye & Ear Foundation is a support organization for the Departments of Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Our mission is to advance the leading-edge academic and research efforts with the ultimate goal of enhancing patient care. By raising and distributing philanthropic dollars to the departments, the Foundation encourages individuals, foundations, and businesses to support new science for new solutions—to caring for and curing people with diseases and disorders of the eye, ear, nose, throat, head and neck.
Click here for the University of Pittsburgh's announcement of José-Alain Sahel, MD as Chairman to the Department of Ophthalmology.