This application seeks continued support for a Vision Core Grant that has facilitated the research efforts of vision scientists at the University California, Davis for the past ten years. During the decade that the CORE has been funded there has been remarkable growth in the visual sciences on this campus. This is demonstrated by a substantial increase in the number of faculty engaged in vision research as well as NEI funded grants. Since the last competitive renewal, the administration has approved the establishment and funding of a Center for Visual Sciences, which provides a means for unifying our community of vision researchers. Building on this strength, we have redesigned the currently funded four modules to better serve the needs of our NEI funded investigators. The proposed modules are: (i) Software Engineering (W. Martin Usrey, Director), (ii) Histology and Phenotype (Paul FitzGerald, Director), (iii) Retinal Anatomy and Physiology (Andrew Ishida, Director), and (iv) Instrumentation (John S. Werner, Director). These four modules provide facilities and services of greatest benefit to the largest number of our vision scientists. The CORE administrative structure includes an Advisory Committee comprised of the Principal Investigator, the four module directors, the director of the Center for Visual Sciences, as well as the Chair and research director of the Department of Ophthalmology &Vision Science. Issues involving CORE facilities and usage are discussed at quarterly meeting of the Vision Science Research Group that includes all members of our vision science community. Priorities for use of CORE facilities have been carefully honed and made available to all investigators, and this has mitigated potential scheduling conflicts. The administration of UC Davis has been and continues to be very supportive of vision research. This is demonstrated by the funding of the Center for Visual Sciences, the addition of five ophthalmology research faculties, resulting in the recent name change to Ophthalmology &Vision Science, the generous start-up packages for new vision faculty, and a pledge of more than $180,000 for equipment needs for CORE facilities during the next grant period.
The four CORE modules are designed to effectively enhance our understanding of basic mechanisms of vision and for furthering collaborations among vision researchers and our clinical faculty. Our collective long-term objective remains the development of better treatments for dealing with the myriad disorders of the visual system.
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