lessandro Iannaccone, MD, MS, is among a select few honored by the Research to Prevent Blindness.
Memphis, Tenn. (August 23, 2012) – Alessandro Iannaccone, MD, MS, is among a select few honored by the Research to Prevent Blindness (RPB), one of the
nation’s leading volunteer health organizations supporting eye research, with its Physician-Scientist Award. The RPB distinction, given annually to a
handful of nationally recognized physician-scientists, includes a $100,000 grant help them support their research. Dr. Iannaccone is one of only 53
physicians from 27 institutions across the country to receive the award since its inception in 2000. He is the first RPB Physician-Scientist award winner
from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC).
“It is such an honor to have been selected to receive this recognition from RPB,” said Dr. Iannaccone of the prestigious award.
Dr. Iannaccone is director of the Retinal Degeneration and Ophthalmic Genetics Service, as well as the Lions Visual Function Diagnostic Lab in the
Department of Ophthalmology, and focuses his research on disease mechanisms in age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Deterioration of the tissue at the
back of the eye results from AMD, which can cause visual impairment or legal blindness, and is the leading cause of legal blindness among the elderly.
Treatment options to prevent AMD development or limit its progression are limited, but Dr. Iannaccone wants to change that through his continued research.
“These investigations are poised to improve greatly our understanding of the role of autoimmunity in AMD and help identify new strategies and targets for
The RPB grant money enables Dr. Iannaccone, and other award-winning researchers, the opportunity to devote more time to their work, providing greater
opportunities for specialized studies with direct application to human conditions.
“We are very proud of Dr. Iannaccone’s accomplishment and look forward to the successful progress of his research in this field of great social impact,”
said James C. Fleming, MD, chair of the Department of Ophthalmology at UTHSC. “He has been committed to research in retinal degeneration and has made very
important contributions to this field since his recruitment to UTHSC in 1996.”
Director of the UT Hamilton Eye Institute, Barrett G. Haik, MD, who also is a UTHSC professor of ophthalmology at the institute, joined Dr. Fleming in
praising the work of his esteemed colleague. “This award is a great recognition of Dr. Iannaccone’s perseverance and dedication to the objective of finding
treatments and cures for these devastating conditions.”
RPB has channeled hundreds of millions of dollars to medical institutions throughout the United States, for research into all blinding eye diseases, since
it was founded in 1960. For more information, visit www.rpbusa.org.
As the flagship statewide academic health system, the mission of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) is to bring the
benefits of the health sciences to the achievement and maintenance of human health, with a focus on the citizens of Tennessee and the region, by pursuing
an integrated program of education, research, clinical care, and public service. In 2011, UT Health Science Center celebrated its centennial: 100 years
advancing the future of health care. Offering a broad range of postgraduate training opportunities, the main UTHSC campus is located in Memphis and
includes six colleges: Allied Health Sciences, Dentistry, Graduate Health Sciences, Medicine, Nursing and Pharmacy. The UTHSC campus in Knoxville includes
a College of Medicine, College of Pharmacy, and an Allied Health Sciences unit. In addition, the UTHSC Chattanooga campus includes a College of Medicine
and an Allied Health Sciences unit. Since its founding in 1911, UTHSC has educated and trained more than 53,000 health care professionals on campuses and
in health care facilities across the state. For more information, visit www.uthsc.edu.