Ernesto Moreira, MD

Ernesto F. Moreira, MD, is a graduate of the University of Buenos Aires School of Medicine, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and is currently an Instructor in Department of Ophthalmology at the Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC.  He trained as a postdoctoral fellow at the National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health, with Dr. Ignacio Rodriguez, PhD; and at the Wilmer Eye Institute, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, under the mentorship of the late Ruben Adler, MD.  Dr. Moreira is interested in understanding the pathogenesis of AMD using stem cell technology in order to design novel and more effective therapies to treat patients.  To accomplish this he uses patient-specific iPSC- derived retinal cells to recapitulate certain aspects of the disease in a dish.  Using these cells, he is investigating the role of oxidative stress (in particular cigarette smoke) and inflammation in the development of AMD.  The importance of this work is that patient-derived cells carry the genetic background of the patients, which is an aspect that is missing from previous AMD models. Prior to receiving the BrightFocus Foundation award, he received as a postdoctoral fellow, the Knights Templar Eye Foundation award to study retinal development.

"This award represents an important step forward in my career as a junior faculty member. It is also important to our research program in the Ophthalmology Department at the Medical University of South Carolina. The foundation laid by this BrightFocus-sponsored research opportunity will allow me to pursue an entry-level competitive grant from the National Institutes of Health (i.e., an RO1 award).

Foundation support, like that from BrightFocus, and the fact that your organization is particularly interested in funding the work of junior faculty members,  is essential for the future of scientific research, and particularly so at this time, when government funding seems insufficient. I am extremely thankful to all the donors that make this possible by donating to ophthalmology research programs of the BrightFocus Foundation.

I believe the future is bright for this field; the eye is a particularly accessible organ to study, and new technologies in genetics, such as gene editing and induced pluripotent stem cells  technologies, are revolutionizing the field at a fast pace. This is making new and improved therapeutic alternatives a real possibility in the near future."