Join Us for an Evening of BrightFocus

A collage of photos from the BrightFocus gala.

This extraordinary gathering will spotlight exemplary scientists and advocates who are driving some of the most exciting work around the globe to end diseases of mind and sight.

Event Details
Date: Thursday, June 9, 2022
Time: 6:00 – 10:00 pm
Location: National Portrait Gallery, Washington DC

Add to Calendar 06/09/2022 6:00 PM 06/09/2022 10:00 PM America/New_York 7th Annual An Evening of BrightFocus 2022 BrightFocus Gala National Portrait Gallery, Washington DC


We will be honoring excellence in research science and advocacy with the presentation of three awards:

Headshot of Dr. David Holtzman.
BrightFocus Scientific Impact Award

David M. Holtzman, MD

Barbara Burton & Reuben M. Morriss III
Distinguished Professor

Scientific Director, Hope Center for
Neurological Disorders

Dept. of Neurology, Washington University
School of Medicine

Head shot of Ilyas Washington, PhD.
BrightFocus Bench-to-Bedside Award

Ilyas Washington, PhD

Co-Founder, biOOrg3.14 LLC
Co-Founder, Alkeus Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Headshot of Sheila West, PhD, PharmD.
Helen Keller Prize for Vision Research

Sheila West, PhD, PharmD

El Maghraby Professor
Dana Center for Preventive Ophthalmology
Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins University

Special Guests

Headshot of Eric McCormack.
Musical Performance by

Eric McCormack

Best known as Will Truman on NBC’s Will & Grace, Eric McCormack has been nominated for multiple awards, and won the Emmy for Lead Actor in a Comedy in 2001. The recipient of a star on both Canada’s Walk of Fame and the Hollywood Walk of Fame, McCormack has played lead roles in dozens of films and TV series, including three seasons of Netflix hit, Travelers, where he also served as a director and producer. Additionally, McCormack starred in Trust Me and three seasons of the crime thriller, Perception on TNT.

Eric made his Broadway debut in the Tony-nominated 2001 production of The Music Man. He also starred in the Tony-nominated production of Gore Vidal’s The Best Man, as well as Neil LaBute’s off-Broadway play Some Girl(s) opposite Fran Drescher and Maura Tierney.

Eric and his wife, Janet, are active supporters of numerous charitable organizations including the Elton John AIDS Foundation, the Canadian Cancer Society, the Rape Foundation, and the ASPCA.

John Lewis chair exercises.
Warm-up Chair Exercise by

John Lewis, The Fitness Guru

John has over 25 years of experience in Speed and Agility Training and Extreme Workouts. John founded Energy Fitness in Atlanta, GA in 2003. Energy Fitness has continued to expand and grow thru John's training, Speed and Agility Camps, Pool Workouts, Dance Classes, community involvement and leadership. His work ethic and dedication to training youth, adolescents, adults, and seniors continue to speak for themselves.

Presenting Cocktail Scientists

Kimberly Gokoffski MD PhD

Kimberly Gokoffski, MD, PhD

University of Southern California Roski Eye Institute (Los Angeles, CA)

Electric Fields Direct Full Length Optic Nerve Regeneration and Partial Restoration of Visual Function

Headshot of Joelle Hallak, PhD.

Joelle Hallak, PhD

University of Illinois College of Medicine, Department of Ophthalmology (Chicago, IL)

Personalized Medicine for Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Headshot of Ksenia Kastanenka, PhD.

Ksenia Kastanenka, PhD

Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School (Charlestown, MA)

How Non-neuronal Cells Contribute to Alzheimer’s Disease

Jason Meyer, PhD

Jason Meyer, PhD

Indiana University School of Medicine (Indianapolis, IN)

How to Build a Retina in a Dish: Developing a Human Stem Cell Model for Studies of Glaucoma

Documentary Sneak Preview


wilder movie teaser poster

WILDER is a whimsical, touching, powerful new documentary that celebrates the life and career of Gene Wilder, the award-winning actor, comedian, director and producer, and his heroic journey through life’s ups and downs.



Take Action

Join Us

This extraordinary gathering will spotlight exemplary scientists and advocates who are driving some of the most exciting work around the globe to end diseases of mind and sight.

Become a Sponsor

Join us as a sponsor of our 7th Annual gala, An Evening of BrightFocus. Click the button below to learn more about sponsorship opportunities.


For questions, contact Amanda Russell at or (301)556-9368.