Text Size Normal Text Sizing Button Medium Text Sizing Button Large Text Sizing Button Text Contrast Normal Contrast Button Reverse Contrast Button Switch to Spanish Language Press Room Contact Us Sitemap Sign In Register
Link to Homepage About BrightFocus
Donate Now Get Involved  
Alzheimer's Disease Research Macular Degeneration Research National Glaucoma Research

Sign up for Email Notifications
If you would like to be notified when funding or meeting opportunities are announced please click on the link below.

Sign up for new announcements.

Please add ResearchGrants@BrightFocus.org to your institution’s white list to insure that the notification is not blocked by your organization’s SPAM filters.

This email list is not sold or distributed, and serves only as an annual reminder of the availability of research support through the BrightFocus Foundation (www.brightfocus.org). Please follow instructions on the notification emails for removal requests.

BrightFocus Research Grants Funding
Grant Funding for Alzheimer's Research
Grant Funding for Macular Degeneration Research
Grant Funding for Glaucoma Research


National Glaucoma Research
Completed Award

Dr. David Calkins

David Calkins, Ph.D.

Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Nashville, TN

Title: TRPV1: A Novel Neuroprotective Target in Glaucoma
Non-Technical Title: Targeting Neurobiological Sensitivity to Pressure in Glaucoma

Acknowledgements: Recipient of the Thomas R. Lee award for National Glaucoma Research
Duration: April 1, 2008 - March 31, 2010
Award Type: Standard
Award Amount: $100,000


This research is aimed at understanding how optic nerve fibers respond to eye pressure and whether blunting this response could prevent vision loss in glaucoma. The study will also help identify new drugs to reduce optic nerve loss in glaucoma by making its fibers insensitive to eye pressure.


Glaucoma is the leading cause of irreversible blindness worldwide and is estimated to afflict some 80 million people by 2020. Most people think of glaucoma as a disease about pressure in the eye, because high pressure is associated with the disease and lowering pressure often is helpful for slowing vision loss in glaucoma. In fact, glaucoma is irreversible because it damages the fibers of the optic nerve, which is part of the brain and therefore limited in its ability to heal. Our research is important because it is the first attempt to understand how these fibers respond to pressure in the eye and whether blunting this response could prevent vision loss in glaucoma. Our team is comprised of neurobiologists with expertise in how nerve fibers respond to pressure. Thus, our research will help identify new drugs that will reduce the loss of the optic nerve in glaucoma by making its fibers insensitive to pressure in the eye.


Sappington, R.M., Sidorova, T., Long, D.J. & Calkins, D.J. (2009) TRPV1: Contribution to retinal ganglion cell apoptosis and increased intracellular Ca2+ with exposure to hydrostatic pressure (Inv. Ophthal. Vis. Sci., 50, 717-728). PubMed Icon Google Scholar Icon

Sappington, R.M., Carlson, B.J., Crish, S.D. & Calkins, D.J. (2010) The microbead occlusion model: a paradigm for induced ocular hypertension in rats and mice (Inv. Ophthal. Vis. Sci., 51, 207-216). PubMed Icon Google Scholar Icon

Crish, S.D., Sappington, R.M., Inman, D.M, Horner, P.J., Calkins, D.J. (2010) Distal axonopathy with structural persistence in glaucomatous neurodegeneration (Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci., 107(11):5196-201). PubMed Icon Google Scholar Icon

K.W. Ho, S.F. Juliao, B. Zhao, R.M. Sappington, D.J. Calkins. Expression of the TRPV Family in the DBA/2J Mouse Model of Glaucoma. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2010; ARVO E-Abstract # 2125 [conference abstract]

Sappington RM, Sidorova TN, Calkins DJ. Trpv1 contributes to pressure-induced death and disruption of axonal transport in RGCs. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2008; ARVO E-Abstract 5481. [conference abstract]