Fighting rare blindness disorders - a researcher’s perspective
Isabelle Audo is a clinical researcher at the Vision Institute in Paris. She talks about the collaboration between her team and the Fighting Blindness Foundation.
What is the Vision Institute and what do you do there?
The Vision Institute is one of the most important research centres on eye disorders in Europe, based in the heart of the Quinze-Vingts National Eye Hospital in Paris. I am a clinical researcher in the genetics department and I work specifically on retinal dystrophies. Our objectives are to specify the genetic causes of retinal dystrophies, prepare future clinical trials and identify gene mutations and new genes causing these diseases.
What is the Fighting Blindness Foundation and how have you started collaborating with Fighting Blindness Foundation?
The Fighting Blindness Foundation is a US-based foundation established in 1971 that aims at driving the research that will provide preventions, treatments and cures for people affected by retinitis pigmentosa (RP), macular degeneration, Usher syndrome, and the entire spectrum of retinal degenerative diseases. The foundation has been working for a long time with the Vision Institute of Paris and our director, Dr José-Alain Sahel, is a member of their scientific advisory board. As a young researcher, I have been granted two FBF “Career development awards”, one in 2006 and another spanning 2008 to 2013.
How is this collaboration helping you as a researcher and as a clinician?
It’s quite simple: without Fighting Blindness support, I would have changed my research field because it’s very difficult when you are starting out as a young researcher to choose and strive in such specific domains as retinal dystrophies. This financial support is essential. I am now also a member of the scientific board and have had the chance to participate in their international meeting last June in Baltimore. I interacted with patients, researchers and doctors. I could feel the support, the encouragement and it’s all very motivating.
Patient stories: Retinitis Pigmentosa
This article was first published in the October 2011 issue of the EURORDIS newsletter
Author: Nathacha Appanah
Photo credits: © Vision Institute
Fighting rare blindness disorders - a researcher’s perspective www.eurordis.org