Press Releases

Three BrightFocus Foundation-Funded Scientists Elected to Prestigious National Academy of Medicine

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Randall Bateman, MD,  Jeffrey Goldberg, MD, PhD, and Tien Y. Wong, MBBS, PhD.

Nonprofit Provided Key Early Support for Work on Alzheimer’s, Macular Degeneration and Glaucoma

Clarksburg MD – BrightFocus Foundation today announced that three scientists – renowned for scientific breakthroughs in Alzheimer’s, macular degeneration and glaucoma and who were given key early support from BrightFocus – have been elected as members of the prestigious National Academy of Medicine, the congressionally-chartered body responsible for providing strategic guidance to the nation in these critically important research areas.

“Congratulations to these three outstanding researchers. We are proud to have helped their promising ideas get off the ground and have such a major scientific impact,” said BrightFocus President and CEO Stacy Pagos Haller.

“Their success embodies the BrightFocus mission to identify and support scientific innovation, giving researchers an early chance to succeed and helping them get through the inevitable challenges that can too often derail scientific progress,” Haller said.

The BrightFocus researchers newly elected to the National Academy of Medicine are:

  • Randall Bateman, MD, Washington University in St. Louis, was recognized by the Academy for groundbreaking discoveries on the causes of Alzheimer’s and developing a blood screening test for the disease. Dr. Bateman is the recipient of 2008, 2014, and 2017 grants from the BrightFocus Alzheimer’s Disease Research program. This innovative technology, rooted in key BrightFocus support, is focused on providing earlier diagnosis for Alzheimer’s disease.

    “BrightFocus has been so instrumental in our team’s accomplishments. They know that promising novel scientific ideas need initial seed support to demonstrate breakthrough ideas, and they have been a strong, loyal partner from the beginning.”
  • Jeffrey Goldberg, MD, PhD, Stanford University, was noted by the Academy for his work toward the goal of restoring vision lost to glaucoma through a greater scientific understanding of how to protect and regenerate nerve cells in the eye. Dr. Goldberg is the recipient of 2010 and 2015 grants from the BrightFocus National Glaucoma Research program, the latter award testing, through clinical trials, a novel device implanted in the eye to time-release key medication.

    “The idea of developing and testing therapies that directly target the degenerating optic nerve in glaucoma to protect or even restore vision seemed far-fetched to many. But thanks to early, sustained support from BrightFocus, we are on the way to turning science fiction into science fact.”
  • Tien Y. Wong, MBBS, PhD, Arthur Lim Professor and medical director, Singapore National Eye Center; Duke-NUS Medical School, was lauded by the Academy for pinpointing risk factors for major eye diseases and developing innovative large-scale methods to screen, treat, and prevent sight-threatening conditions. Dr. Wong received a 2011 BrightFocus Macular Degeneration Research grant to investigate the genetic causes of the disease, knowledge driving better treatment methods.

    “I am deeply grateful for BrightFocus taking a chance on me so early in my career. For a young clinician-scientist, their funding was crucial to support my research hypothesis and ideas. Their openness to new, innovative science is helping save sight around the world.”

BrightFocus Foundation is a premier source of private research funding to defeat Alzheimer’s, macular degeneration, and glaucoma. The non-profit currently manages a global portfolio of over 220 scientific projects, a nearly $50 million investment, and shares the latest research findings and best practices to empower families impacted by these diseases. Learn more at