Gertrude D. Pyron Award

The Retina Research Foundation’s Gertrude D. Pyron Award

The Pyron Award was created by the Retina Research foundation of Houston, Texas, to recognize outstanding vision scientists whose work contributes to knowledge about vitreoretinal disease.

Gertrude D. Pyron

The award, which offers a cash prize and research grant, is presented each year at the ASRS Annual Meeting. The recipient is chosen by the ASRS Awards Committee.

The Pyron Award has been endowed by an estate gift from Gertrude D. Pyron of San Antonio, Texas. She was an imminent geologist during her lifetime, and made her bequest to RRF because of her admiration for Dr. Alice McPherson’s leadership in vision science.

Retina Research Foundation was founded in 1969 by Dr. Alice McPherson, a member of the American Society of Retina Specialists, to establish and fund programs for the eradication of vitreoretinal disease. A public charity based in Houston, it has grown with support from a few community leaders to a major foundation, with broad support, funding a grant program, a major awards program, a career develop­ment program, and annual support for several research chairs.

The awards program sponsors lectureships not only at the ASRS Annual Meeting, but also the Award of Merit Lecture of The Retina Society, the Mills & Margaret Cox Award of The Macula Society, the Kayser Award of the Schepens International Society, and the Gonin Lecture of Club Jules Gonin.

Research chairs are endowed at the Baylor College of Medicine, and the University of Wisconsin Medical School. Travel awards and scholars programs are supported at the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology and the Pan­American Association of Ophthalmology.

The ASRS is proud to be the recipient of the Pyron Award as part of this major awards program. The awards program for the RRF was established in 1978 to provided honoraria and research grants to internationally known retina scientists in recognition of their lifetime achievements.

The Retina Research Foundation has sponsored a Lectureship Research Award at the American Society of Retina Specialists Annual Meeting since 1995. From 1995 through 1998, the lectureship was named in honor of W.H. Helmerich, III. Commencing in 1999, the award series changed to honor Gertrude Pyron.

The 23rd Annual Gertrude D. Pyron Award and Lecture 

The Retina Research Foundation’s Gertrude D. Pyron Award is being presented to Joan W. Miller, MD, the David Glendenning Cogan Professor of Ophthalmology and chair of the Department of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School, and chief of ophthalmology at Massachusetts Eye and Ear and Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr. Miller is an internationally recognized expert on retinal disorders, including age-related macular degeneration (AMD). 

The Pyron Award was created by the Retina Research Foundation of Houston, Texas, to recognize outstanding vision scientists whose work contributes to knowledge about vitreoretinal disease.  ASRS oversees the Pyron Award, which it presents at the Society’s Annual Scientific Meeting. 

On Sunday, July 22 at the Annual Meeting, Dr. Miller will present the 23rd Annual Gertrude D. Pyron Award Lecture, “Treating AMD—Back to the Future.” She will receive a $30,000 cash prize including a $5,000 personal honorarium and a $25,000 research grant.

Over the last 2 decades, Dr. Miller and her colleagues at Mass. Eye and Ear/Harvard Medical School pioneered the development of photodynamic therapy using verteporfin (Visudyne, Bausch+Lomb, Bridgewater, NJ), the first approved pharmacological therapy able to reduce and slow vision loss in patients with AMD. The group also identified the key role of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in ocular neovascularization, leading to the development of groundbreaking anti-VEGF therapies.

Dr. Miller’s current studies focus on the genetics of AMD, strategies for early AMD intervention, and neuroprotective therapies for retinal disease.

In 2003, Dr. Miller became the first female physician to achieve the rank of professor of ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School, and the first woman to serve as chair of the Department of Ophthalmology. She is also the first woman appointed chief of ophthalmology at both Mass. Eye and Ear and Massachusetts General Hospital. 

Dr. Miller has authored more than 200 original research articles and nearly 80 book chapters, review articles, or editorials. She is on the editorial board for the journals Ophthalmology and Ophthalmology Retina and an editor of several textbooks, including the 3rd edition of Albert and Jakobiec’s Principles and Practice of Ophthalmology (Saunders).

Dr. Miller is a member of the National Academy of Medicine, the Academia Ophthalmologica lnternationalis, and the Dowling Society, as well as a Gold Fellow of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO). Among her numerous honors, she delivered the 2012 Edward Jackson Lecture for the American Academy of Ophthalmology and was a co-recipient of the 2014 António Champalimaud Vision Award, the highest distinction in ophthalmology and visual science.

This year Dr. Miller is also the recipient of the Charles L. Schepens, MD, Award from the American Academy of Ophthalmology. In 2015, she became the first woman to receive the Mildred Weisenfeld Award for Excellence in Ophthalmology from the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO).

The Retina Research Foundation Honorees

1995    George F. Hilton, MD
1996    Robert C. Watzke, MD
1997    Thomas M. Aaberg, Sr., MD
1998    Stanley Chang, MD
1999    Harry W. Flynn, Jr., MD
2000    Gholam A. Peyman, MD
2001    Yasuo Tano, MD
2002    Michael T. Trese, MD
2003    Lloyd M. Aiello, MD
2004    Morton F. Goldberg, MD
2005    Mark S. Blumenkranz, MD
2006    Brooks W. McCuen, II, MD
2007    Carmen A. Puliafito, MD, MBA
2008    Susan B. Bressler, MD & Neil M. Bressler, MD
2009    C.P. Wilkinson, MD
2010    Julia A. Haller, MD
2011    Jean Bennett, MD, PhD & Albert M. Maguire, MD
2012    Daniel F. Martin, MD
2013    George A. Williams, MD
2014    Andrew P. Schachat, MD
2015    Gary W. Abrams, MD
2016    Donald J. D'Amico, MD
2017    Paul A. Sieving, MD, PhD
2018    Joan W. Miller, MD

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