In its renewal application resubmission, the Wilmer K12 Program seeks to continue its successful recruitment and development of new investigators in highly relevant areas of clinical and laboratory vision research. Our past track record indicates success in mentored training of young scientists who enter full-time academic research careers and compete effectively for individual and collaborative grant support. Due to our reputation for clinician?scientist training and the diversity of major research areas in vision science that are available to scholars, we have every year attracted multiple highly attractive candidates for the Wilmer K12 program. Our structured program still leaves considerable flexibility to take advantage of multiple?mentor groups for training in a combination of didactic and practical activities. The existence of a Departmental executive committee for ongoing oversight of every K awardee (K12, K08 and K23) assures that each scholar will be given updated review of their program and correction of areas that are not functioning ideally. Specific timelines and guidelines for following of each K scholar program are strictly enforced. Our progress report shows that the progression to independent research careers and R level funding for Wilmer K12 graduates is far above the national standard as published. As shown by the faculty involvement of over 50 scientists, many of whom were K awardees themselves, the institutional expertise and commitment to this program is a high priority of the Wilmer Institute. The combined 275 research grants of the K12 participating faculty comprises a total direct cost this year of over $35 million. This ensures that adequate funding is available to support the costs of mentored training that are not covered by the K awards themselves. Wilmer has produced more full time academics and Department Chairpersons than any other eye institute or department in the U.S. Furthermore, nearly every K12/K08/K23 scholar at Wilmer benefits from a mentor team than includes not only Ophthalmology faculty, but scientists from other departments at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, the Applied Physics Laboratory, and the Bloomberg School of Public Health. These collaborations cross-fertilize both scholar training and the research environment of the Institute, and have included members of Departments such as Neuroscience, Medicine, Biomedical Engineering, Epidemiology, International Health, and Pediatrics. The Executive Committee is vigilant to assure that the mentors and mentees are both fulfilling their roles, with written evaluations at regular intervals. The Executive (Advisory) committee consists of experienced and diverse vision scientists, some of whom recently were in K training and others who have over many years mentored multiple K scholars. The Program Director, Dr. Quigley, has mentored over 50 clinician?scientists, including Department Chairs and Division Directors in more than a dozen institutions nationally and internationally. The facilities of Wilmer?s clinical and lab research are unsurpassed, including the 200,000 square foot Smith Building opened recently.

Public Health Relevance

The Wilmer K12 (and K08/K23) mentored training program has produced 27 vision researchers who carry out investigations into the major diseases causing world blindness. Promising young scientists receive the opportunity for protected time to learn research methods and make successful transitions into careers that involve the producing of new knowledge and the training of the next generation of researchers.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Eye Institute (NEI)
Physician Scientist Award (Program) (PSA) (K12)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZEY1)
Program Officer
Agarwal, Neeraj
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Johns Hopkins University
Schools of Medicine
United States
Zip Code
Eghrari, Allen O; Vasanth, Shivakumar; Gapsis, Briana C et al. (2018) Identification of a Novel TCF4 Isoform in the Human Corneal Endothelium. Cornea 37:899-903
Hessen, Michelle M; Vahedi, Sina; Khoo, Chloe T et al. (2018) Clinical and genetic investigation of amantadine-associated corneal edema. Clin Ophthalmol 12:1367-1371
Eghrari, Allen O; Mumtaz, Aisha A; Garrett, Brian et al. (2017) Automated Retroillumination Photography Analysis for Objective Assessment of Fuchs Corneal Dystrophy. Cornea 36:44-47
Eghrari, Allen O; Vasanth, Shivakumar; Wang, Jiangxia et al. (2017) CTG18.1 Expansion in TCF4 Increases Likelihood of Transplantation in Fuchs Corneal Dystrophy. Cornea 36:40-43
Eghrari, Allen O; Vahedi, Sina; Afshari, Natalie A et al. (2017) CTG18.1 Expansion in TCF4 Among African Americans With Fuchs' Corneal Dystrophy. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 58:6046-6049
Eghrari, Allen O; Wang, Aaron; Brady, Christopher J (2017) GOOGLE CARDBOARD INDIRECT OPHTHALMOSCOPY. Retina 37:1617-1619
Eghrari, Allen O; Riazuddin, S Amer; Gottsch, John D (2016) Distinct Clinical Phenotype of Corneal Dystrophy Predicts the p.(Leu450Trp) Substitution in COL8A2. Cornea 35:587-91
Eghrari, Allen O; Riazuddin, S Amer; Gottsch, John D (2015) Overview of the Cornea: Structure, Function, and Development. Prog Mol Biol Transl Sci 134:7-23
Loprinzi, Paul D; Swenor, Bonnielin K; Ramulu, Pradeep Y (2015) Age-Related Macular Degeneration Is Associated with Less Physical Activity among US Adults: Cross-Sectional Study. PLoS One 10:e0125394
Vasanth, Shivakumar; Eghrari, Allen O; Gapsis, Briana C et al. (2015) Expansion of CTG18.1 Trinucleotide Repeat in TCF4 Is a Potent Driver of Fuchs' Corneal Dystrophy. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 56:4531-6

Showing the most recent 10 out of 39 publications