William J. Brunken, PhD, Professor in the Department of Ophthalmology and Director of the Center for Vision Research, has been elected to serve on the Association of University Professors of Ophthalmology's Research Director's Council for five years.
Dr. William J. Brunken was named the Vice Chair of the Department of Ophthalmology.

Dr. John A. Hoepner

Dr. John A. Hoepner, Professor and Chair Emeritus of the Department of Ophthalmology at SUNY Upstate Medical University, worked tirelessly with Robert B. Barlow, PhD and Barry E. Knox, PhD to bring the Center for Vision Research to fruition. 

As the CVR's Administrative Director, he has encouraged the research that takes place at the CVR as well as providing leadership to the investigators.  He is a strong proponent of the work that is being done at the CVR and believes that this collegial group of researchers has the scientific methods to move forward in the fight to find the causes and cures for blinding diseases.

A Note from Dr. Hoepner

Our mission in 1997 was to build the Center for Vision Research into a leading center for research on major eye diseases and vision disorders. Our emphasis is to understand the cell and molecular biology underlying the most prevalent blinding diseases. The CVR's initial Scientific Advisory Panel (John E. Dowling, Ph.D.-Harvard University; Thaddeus P. Dryja, M.D.-Harvard Medical School; Debora B. Farber, Ph.D.-UCLA School of Medicine; Alan M. Laties, M.D.-University of Pennsylvania; Nobel laureate Torsten N. Wiesel, M.D.-Rockefeller University; Robert H. Wurtz, M.D.-National Eye Institute) was instrumental in helping develop our strategy of attracting world-class scientists and providing them the best possible opportunities for making breakthrough discoveries on major causes of blindness.

To date we have:

  • acquired more than $1,400,000 of yearly research support for a total of $17+ million dollars from governmental agencies and private foundations;
  • established an endowment of $1,500,000 largely through the fine efforts of our initial Leadership Council (John A. Bottjer, L. Wayne Cunningham, William J. Donlon (Co-Chair), Mindy M. Elzufon (Co-Chair), John Frantz, Claude J. Incaudo, Margot Northrup (deceased), Dene A. Sarason, John C. Scala, Dr. Harold H. Wanamaker, and Chris Witting (deceased) and the District 20Y-1 Lions Club of Central New York and other wonderful benefactors; and
  • made important discoveries on the possible causes of retinitis pigmentosa, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and age-related macular degeneration.


Outstanding support from annual grants by Research to Prevent Blindness (RPB) has allowed us to explore new, exciting areas of research into the causes of retinal degeneration.  In addition, Career Development Awards by RPB have attracted gifted young scientists whose creativity and new ideas have contributed enormously to our overall research effort.

Complementing the CVR is the University Center for Vision Care (CVC) that provides eye care for patients throughout Central New York. CVC ophthalmologists utilize the latest techniques to treat and perform surgery on all patients, including those uninsured who are referred to us by District 20Y-1 Lions Club and other sources.

As the CVR's Administrative Director, I want to thank the people and organizations whose wonderful support has made CVR a reality and its rapid progress possible-Scientific Advisory Panel, Leadership Council, Research to Prevent Blindness, the District 20Y-1 Lions Club, SUNY Upstate Medical University Foundation, faculty, post-doctoral fellows, and staff.

John A. Hoepner, MD


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