News/ Press Release

Retina Foundation Lands Rising Star in AMD Research for Stem Cell Breakthroughs

August 1, 2022

Generous contributions help spur the competitive recruitment and placement of innovative Johns Hopkins Wilmer Eye Institute scientist Srinivasa R. Sripathi, Ph.D.

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Dr. Srinivasa R. Sripathi, newly appointed Director of the Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) Stem Cell Laboratory at the Retina Foundation

DALLAS – The Retina Foundation of the Southwest today announced the appointment of Srinivasa R. Sripathi, Ph.D., as Director of the Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) Stem Cell Laboratory. The appointment comes on the heels of a highly competitive recruitment process as the Retina Foundation works to maximize leading research to save vision.

As the most common cause of vision loss for individuals 50 years and older in the United States, AMD is a progressive disease of the retina. AMD gradually destroys the macula and fine vision required for activities such as reading, driving and seeing the faces of loved ones. An estimated 18 million Americans suffer from some form of AMD with the age 50+ population projected to double by 2050. The global cost of visual impairment due to AMD is $343 billion, including $255 billion in indirect healthcare costs.

The Retina Foundation is leading the next generation of AMD breakthroughs. In his new role, Dr. Sripathi is focused on developing and translating stem cell-based therapies for treating AMD.  His work involves studying stem cells grown from an AMD patient’s blood sample. By individualizing the research to the patients, Dr. Sripathi uncovers why cells become sick and die of AMD – and, most importantly, how to slow down this process with a personalized treatment approach.

His expertise will accelerate the Retina Foundation’s AMD breakthroughs already taking place in the lab of Karl Csaky, M.D., Ph.D., Chief Executive and Medical Officer, and T. Boone Pickens Director Clinical Center of Innovation for AMD at the Retina Foundation.

“At the Retina Foundation, we strive to help patients live more independent, quality-filled lives through early detection, delaying disease onset, and slowing progression of the disease,” said Dr. Csaky. “The Foundation is pleased to have Dr. Sripathi join our team as we collectively lead innovative research to find tools to better diagnose and treat AMD.”

Building upon the support and success of the past, the Retina Foundation is driving new science toward the future of saved vision. “Together, Dr. Csaky and Dr. Sripathi form an incredible team. I am confident that their innovation and dedication will yield life-changing breakthroughs in AMD, saving vision for millions, “said Lou Grabowsky, Chair of the Retina Foundation.

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Dr. Srinivasa R. Sripathi, Director of the AMD Stem Cell Laboratory, and Dr. Karl Csaky, Chief Executive and Medical Officer, and T. Boone Pickens Director Clinical Center of Innovation for AMD at the Retina Foundation

Prior to joining The Retina Foundation, Dr. Sripathi served as Research Associate at the Department of Ophthalmology, Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He completed his doctorate degree in Retina Biochemistry and Proteomics in 2013 at Michigan Technological University. He has been training under Donald J. Zack, M.D., Ph.D. for a decade at the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions in the Department of Ophthalmology.

Dr. Sripathi has successfully secured several prestigious grants to help advance his research during his tenure as a Postdoctoral Fellow, including the BrightFocus Foundation’s New Investigator Grant in AMD Research. He will bring the funding with him to the Retina Foundation. Dr. Sripathi’s wife, Purnima, and their young son will join him in Texas.

Dr. Sripathi’s passion to save vision began as a young child in India where he helped vision-impaired children and adults read Braille.

“I am honored to join Dr. Csaky and the amazing team at the Retina Foundation as I continue my ocular stem cell research utilizing patients’ own blood or skin cells to find the best treatment for AMD,” said Dr. Sripathi. “As a director at the Retina Foundation, I’m joining a world-class organization known for its agility, efficiency, patient-centric focus and life-changing innovation, and I look forward to working alongside the brightest minds in AMD research to change the lives of AMD patients.”

The Retina Foundation’s quest to recruit the best minds in AMD research goal is only possible because of the generous support of future-focused Dallas families and foundations.

Earlier this year, Dr. Sripathi was introduced to long-time supporters of the Foundation during an Eye on the Future event hosted by Al and Libby Hunt Allred. Early investors into this new level of AMD research included The Rosewood Foundation; Patrick and Kristy Sands; Lyda Hill; Stephen and Nancy Rogers; Bob and Helen McGraw; Angela and Marc Klein; and Judy and Harold Kaye.

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From L to R: Katie Dziminski, John Dziminski, Bob McGraw, Helen McGraw, Dr. Srinivasa Sripathi, Kristy Sands, Patrick Sands, Nancy Rogers, Stephen Rogers, Lynn Fisher, and Dr. Karl Csaky

“Saving vision is a top priority for the Caroline Rose Hunt family and The Rosewood Foundation. We are proud to support the Retina Foundation as it continues to lead the charge in innovative research and therapies for age-related macular degeneration and other eye diseases. Dr. Sripathi is an excellent addition to this highly acclaimed team, and we look forward to seeing how the Retina Foundation continues to change lives,” said Lynn Fisher, Vice President for The Rosewood Foundation.

ABOUT THE RETINA FOUNDATION: The Retina Foundation is closing the gap between the disease and the cure in age-related macular degeneration, inherited eye diseases, and pediatric eye conditions. An independent clinical research facility that serves all patients at no cost, the Foundation has overcome the unknown in sight challenges to radically change lives by participating in more than 60 clinical research studies and providing more than 2,000 vision assessments each year. The Retina Foundation is leading research to save sight.

Retina Foundation Lands Rising Star in AMD Research for Stem Cell Breakthroughs

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