UMKC Vision Research Center Scientist Receives Fight for Sight Award

Oct 2, 2012 #125
Contact: John Martellaro

Dr. Stephanie Burroughs recognized for glaucoma research

The Vision Research Center at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine (VRC) was recently awarded a post-doctoral award by the non-profit organization Fight for Sight for the Center’s research focusing on causes of and treatments for glaucoma.

Stephanie Burroughs, Ph.D., Research Scientist at the VRC, is conducting research focused on identifying the pathophysiological mechanism leading to glaucoma and discovering novel therapeutic approaches. Her research will be supported by this program, with Dr. Peter Koulen, Ph.D., as her mentor and supervisor. Dr. Koulen is the Felix and Carmen Sabates Missouri Endowed Chair in Vision Research, a Professor of Ophthalmology, and Director of Basic Research at the VRC.

Glaucoma is the second-leading cause of visual loss and affects more than 4 million Americans and over 60 million people worldwide. With age as a major risk factor for developing glaucoma and Baby Boomers reaching the third trimester of their life, the number of patients with this disease is bound to increase dramatically. Glaucoma has devastating effects on an individual’s quality of life and causes tremendous socio-economic costs, hence the high clinical need to develop novel treatment regimens.

According to Dr. Koulen, the overall goal of the research is to identify mechanisms of action and clinical relevance of novel drug targets and intervention therapies for degeneration of the retina and optic nerve in glaucoma.

“What we hope to do is uncover and identify therapy approaches that have the potential to be both preventative and therapeutic in nature. This will allow the VRC to complement existing treatment designs and rationales, and to develop new treatment options for this area of high clinical need,” he said. “Determining causes and subsequent potential treatment strategies to improve health care is especially important for Kansas City and the region, as glaucoma is more common in minorities that are already affected by disparities in health care delivery.”

“The interdisciplinary structure of our Vision Research Center fosters this kind of innovative research fueling the pipeline for new therapy development in areas of great clinical need,” said Nelson R. Sabates, MD, Chairman of the UMKC School of Medicine Department of Ophthalmology and Director of the Vision Research Center. “This research project provides a great opportunity for training outstanding fellows, such as Dr. Burroughs, and generates the basis for future translational research.”

About the Vision Research Center

Founded and led by Nelson R. Sabates, MD, Professor and Chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology at the UMKC School of Medicine, the mission of the Vision Research Center is to develop prevention strategies and cures for debilitating diseases. With its interdisciplinary structure, the VRC represents the type of collaboration needed to develop prevention strategies and cutting-edge treatments for some of the most pressing eye diseases in order to make a difference in the lives of millions of people worldwide. The center’s nationally-recognized excellence in research, patient care, and medical education contribute to Kansas City’s strengths in the life sciences. For more information, visit

About the UMKC School of Medicine

The UMKC School of Medicine was founded in 1971 as an innovative combined degree program. From its baccalaureate/MD curriculum to a docent system that emphasizes small group learning, the school has remained a trendsetter in medical education and research. For more information about the UMKC School of Medicine, visit You can also find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

About the University of Missouri-Kansas City

The University of Missouri-Kansas City, one of four University of Missouri campuses, is a public university serving more than 15,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students. UMKC engages with the community and economy based on a four-part mission: life and health sciences; visual and performing arts; urban issues and education; and a vibrant learning and campus life experience. For more information about UMKC, visit You can also find us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and watch us on YouTube.

# # #

This information is available to people with speech or hearing impairments by calling Relay Missouri at (800) 735-2966 (TT) or (800) 735-2466 (voice).

Tags: , .
  • Recent UMKC News

    $20 Million Scholarship Article in The Kansas City Star

    KC Scholars partnership also in U.S. News and World Report … Read more

    Geosciences Professor’s Research Cited in New York Times

    Fengpeng Sun co-authored study on California wildfire seasons The 2015 … Read more

    Bloch Faculty Interviewed on NBC Nightly News

    Brent Never teaches about Kansas City’s racial dividing line Never … Read more