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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 8, 2009
CONTACT: James F. Jorkasky
Executive Director
240-221-2905
jamesj@eyeresearch.org

NAEVR APPLAUDS NOMINATION OF FRANCIS COLLINS, M.D. Ph.D., AS NIH DIRECTOR, CITES PAST COLLABORATIVE RESEARCH WITH NEI ON OCULAR GENETICS

(Washington, D.C.) Today, National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (NAEVR) Executive Director James Jorkasky issued the following statement on President Obama’s nomination of Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D., to be the new Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH):

“On behalf of the eye and vision research community, the National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (NAEVR) commends President Obama for selecting Dr. Collins to be the 16th Director of the NIH. Dr. Collins has an impressive record as a scientist and as a leader, as evidenced by his landmark discoveries of disease genes and his outstanding leadership of the Human Genome Project and the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI). In that role, he has been an articulate visionary for the promise of genetic research to revolutionize health care, especially its potential to transform the prediction, preemption, and treatment of disease.

Since it serves as ‘The Friends of the National Eye Institute (NEI),’ NAEVR is especially proud of the past successful collaboration between the NHGRI and the NEI on ocular genetics. In fact, one-quarter of all of the genes discovered to date are associated with vision impairment and eye disease. Dr. Collins has addressed the vision community at the annual meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO), presenting his ‘vision’ for the future of medical research. NAEVR appreciates Dr. Collins’ understanding of the value of eye research. We look forward to working with him, especially in this key year in which the NEI is celebrating its 40th anniversary—an event that was recognized by Congress in recently passed House and Senate resolutions (H. Res. 366 and S. Res. 209).

President Obama has spoken eloquently about the health and economic benefits of medical research. Dr. Collins brings a wealth of experience to leading the nation’s-and the world’s- premier biomedical research enterprise. This is especially important at a time that the nation faces the growing challenge of chronic diseases, which requires adequate funding for medical research, especially that which supports the next generation of our nation’s scientific leadership.”

The National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (NAEVR) is a 501(c)4 non-profit advocacy coalition comprised of 55 professional, consumer, and industry organizations involved in eye and vision research. Visit the Web site at www.eyeresearch.org.