An Evening of BrightFocus, June 6, 2019

Group photo: From left: Joel S. Schuman, MD, FACS, BrightFocus President and CEO Stacy Pagos Haller, Laine Hardy, Winner, American Idol 2019, Honorable Constance A. Morella, Huda Y. Zoghbi, MD, and Richard Lui, MSNBC.
From left: Joel S. Schuman, MD, FACS, BrightFocus President and CEO Stacy Pagos Haller, Laine Hardy, Winner, American Idol 2019, Honorable Constance A. Morella, Huda Y. Zoghbi, MD, and Richard Lui, MSNBC.

An Evening of BrightFocus brought more than 350 guests from the scientific, philanthropic, private, and public sectors together in Washington in June 2019 to celebrate promising science and bold advocacy to end Alzheimer’s disease, macular degeneration, and glaucoma.

The event was hosted by Richard Lui of MSNBC, who steps into his new role as national cause ambassador for  BrightFocus Foundation. Lui is personally connected to BrightFocus Foundation’s mission because he is caring for his father who has both Alzheimer’s and glaucoma.

Later in the evening, Laine Hardy, American Idol winner 2019 on ABC, made his charitable debut, with a special performance in support of BrightFocus’ scientific research and cause.

Recognized that evening:

  • Spotlight: Pioneer in Genetics - Huda Zoghbi, MD
  • Scientific Impact Award - Joel S. Schuman, MD, FACS
  • Public Leadership Award - Honorable Constance A. Morella

Richard Lui of MSNBC interviews Huda Zoghbi, MD, Baylor College of Medicine. Dr. Zoghbi discusses her scientific contributions to Alzheimer's research and her pioneering work in genetics. View a transcript of the video.

Richard Lui of MSNBC interviews Joel S. Schuman, MD, FACS, New York University School of Medicine. Dr. Schuman was a co-inventor of the OCT imaging technology. The invention of the OCT has revolutionized vision care, allowing for early detection and treatment of diseases such as glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration. View a transcript of the video.

Richard Lui of MSNBC interviews the Honorable Constance A. Morella, Former U.S. Representative. Among her many contributions to science, she led the effort to require that women are included in NIH-supported clinical research, opening the door to discoveries and treatments. View a transcript of the video.

Richard Lui of MSNBC interviews Laine Hardy, Winner, American Idol 2019. View a transcript of the video.

See Photos from the Event Below


Honorees to Date

Spotlight: Pioneer in Genetics

2019
Huda Zoghbi, MD
Professor, Baylor College of Medicine; Director, Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute at Texas Children’s Hospital; Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute; Member, National Academy of Sciences

Public Leadership Award

2019
Honorable Constance A. Morella
Former U.S. Representative

2018
James Keach, Director, Producer, Actor
PCH Films

2017
George and Trish Vradenburg, Co-founders
UsAgainstAlzheimer’s

2016
Meryl Comer, President and CEO
Geoffrey Beene Foundation Alzheimer’s Initiative

Scientific Impact Award

2019
Joel S. Schuman, MD, FACS, Professor, New York University School of Medicine, Director, NYU Langone Eye Center, Chairman of Ophthalmology, NYU Langone Medical Center

2017
Joe G. Hollyfield, PhD, Chairman, Ophthalmic Research
Chairman, Ophthalmic Research, Cleveland Clinic Cole Eye Institute

2016
Stanley B. Prusiner, MD
Director of the Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases and Professor of Neurology and Biochemistry, University of California, San Francisco.

Spotlight: Emerging Researcher

2018
Rachel Bennett, PhD
Massachusetts General Hospital Harvard Medical School

2017
Jennifer R. Gatchel, MD, PhD
Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School

Helen Keller Prize for Vision Research

2018
Webster Cavenee, PhD
Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, University of California, San Diego

Thaddeus Dryja, MD
Harvard Medical School; Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary

Brenda Gallie, MD
The Hospital for Sick Children, University of Toronto

A. Linn Murphree, MD
Keck School of Medicine of University of Southern California

2016
Dean Bok, PhD
University of California, Los Angles, Stein Eye Institute


Cocktails with the Scientists

Guests had the opportunity to interact informally with six BrightFocus-funded scientists who discussed their research at learning stations throughout the reception area.

Juan Botas, PhD, Baylor College of Medicine
A Genetic Screen to Identify New Drug Targets for Alzheimer's Disease

Kevin Chan, PhD, New York University School of Medicine
Brain Changes in Glaucoma

Haiyan Gong, MD, PhD, FARVO, Boston University School of Medicine
3D Imaging of Cell Structures in Eye's Drainage System to Understand Pressure Buildup in Glaucoma

David Irwin, MD, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Different Patterns of Tau Pathology Occur When Alzheimer's Iis Diagnosed Without Memory Issues

Rajendra Kumar-Singh, PhD, Tufts University School of Medicine
Gene Therapy for Dry and Wet Age-related Macular Degeneration—From Concept to Clinical Trials

Aparna Lakkaraju, PhD, University of California, San Francisco
Live Imaging Sheds New Light on Age-Related Macular Degeneration


Special Thanks to our Sponsors

View the event sponsors.


BrightFocus Foundation is a premier source of private research funding to defeat Alzheimer’s, macular degeneration, and glaucoma. We are currently managing a global portfolio of nearly 200 research projects, a $40 million investment in the bold, innovative science that will find the cures for diseases of mind and sight. We share the latest research findings and best practices to empower families impacted by these diseases. 

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