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Russell Van Gelder, MD, PhD, received the Leslie Dana Gold Medal Award from the St. Louis Society for the Blind and Visually Impaired. Van Gelder served for eight years on faculty at Washington University in St. Louis, where he held the Bernard Becker professorship. Since 2008 he has been Professor, Boyd K. Bucey Memorial Chair, chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology at the UW School of Medicine, and director, of the UW Medicine Eye Institute.

Van Gelder’s laboratory has been at the forefront of research in non-visual photoreception and pathogen detection in uveitis. His team is also investigating an exciting approach to reversing blindness from outer retinal degeneration that involves photoswitch chemicals that can be modulated by visible light.

The Leslie Dana Gold Medal, an internationally renowned honor, has been awarded by St. Louis Society for the Blind and Visually Impaired since 1925 to many of the world’s most highly respected scholars and clinicians for commendable service in eyesight research, ophthalmology, vision sciences and related social services.