Budd Tucker, PhD, assistant professor of ophthalmology at the University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine, has been selected as a recipient of the 2010 National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director’s New Innovator Award for his research focused on combining state-of-the-art patient-specific stem cell and biodegradable tissue engineering technologies for the treatment of blinding retinal degenerative diseases such as retinitis pigmentosa and age-related macular degeneration.
Tucker is one of 52 researchers selected nationally by the NIH as a scientist who represents “exceptionally creative new investigators who propose highly innovative projects that have the potential for unusually high impact” in terms of biomedical or behavioral research. "NIH is pleased to be supporting early-stage investigators from across the country who are taking considered risks in a wide range of areas in order to accelerate research," said Francis S. Collins, MD, PhD, director of the National Institutes of Health. “We look forward to the results of their work."
New to the University of Iowa as of this academic year, Tucker is the first faculty member at this University to receive this award. “I think this is a most impressive accomplishment for such a recent recruit,” said Keith Carter, MD, professor and head of the UI Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences. Having recently come from the Schepens Eye Research Institute, Harvard Medical School, “he has certainly made the strongest of first impressions,” Carter added.
In granting this award, the NIH is investing $300,000 per year for the next five years in support of Tucker’s transformative work. “We are very fortunate to have Dr. Tucker on our faculty,” said Edwin Stone, MD, PhD, director of the Institute for Vision Research at the University of Iowa. “His stem cell research program holds great promise for helping us understand the mechanism of many blinding diseases as well as for developing new treatments.”
University of Iowa Vice President for Medical Affairs Jean Robillard, MD, agreed. “With our state-of-the-art facilities and our well-established culture of innovation, exploration and open communication, we anticipate that Dr. Tucker’s groundbreaking work will contribute to the leading-edge research and patient care we have come to expect at the University of Iowa.”
For more information on the New Innovator Award program, see