Downstate Awarded SUNY Funding for Neuroscience Research Projects

Aug 14, 2014

Collaborative Research into Treatment for Brain and Eye Disorders Supported by SUNY Brain Network of Excellence

Brooklyn, NY – The State University of New York and the Research Foundation for SUNY (RF) is providing $244,000 in funding for two research projects affiliated with SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University and other SUNY campuses as part of a program to support innovative research on causes, treatments, and cures for neurological-based diseases and disorders.

The grants are part of the first round of funding for projects supported by the SUNY Brain Network of Excellence, one of five networks SUNY created to maximize interdisciplinary and collaborative research across SUNY campuses and facilitate partnerships with academia, industry, and the community.

“On SUNY campuses across the state, our students and faculty are making major medical breakthroughs, discovering with each new venture a more effective way to understand, diagnose, or treat diseases that affect brain and eye function in people of all ages,” said SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher. “Congratulations to all of the project partners supported by this first round of funding.”

SUNY Downstate-related projects and investigators funded include:

$147,000 to Stony Brook University, Downstate Medical Center, University of Rochester Medical Center

John Danias, MD, PhD, Professor of Ophthalmology and Cell Biology; Vice-Chair for Research, Department of Ophthalmology; Director of the Glaucoma Service SUNY Downstate

“Exploring the relationship between glaucoma and waste removal system dysfunction around the optic nerve and eye.”

$98,600 to Downstate Medical Center, SUNY Optometry, Upstate Medical Center

Youping Xiao, PhD, Associate Professor Ophthalmology, SUNY Downstate

”Mapping computational modeling with human behavioral measurements to explore the contextual effect on color perception.”

More information about funded projects and a detailed abstract for each is available online.

Mark Stewart, MD, PhD, dean of the School of Graduate Studies and vice dean for research, said, "We are very pleased to be recognized by the RF and the SUNY Brain Network of Excellence. These vision research projects at SUNY Downstate bring together investigators to cross departmental boundaries  – ophthalmology, cell biology, neurology and pediatrics – forming a cohesive collaborative."

Douglas Lazzaro, MD, FACS, FAAO, professor and Richard C. Troutman Distinguished Chair in Ophthalmology and Ophthalmic Microsurgery, said, "These grants complement the work of the SUNY Eye Institute (SEI), a state-wide consortium of vision researchers from the four SUNY medical schools and the SUNY College of Optometry. Through the SEI, we are providing statewide leadership in translational vision research. I am extremely proud of what we are doing with eye research on our campus and believe the scientists are really advancing medicine."

Timothy Killeen, president of the RF and SUNY vice chancellor for research, said, "SUNY Brain advances the frontiers of neuroscience research by integrating current investments in neurosciences, neuroclinical services, and analytic sciences at multiple SUNY campuses. The range of projects funded showcases the diversity of expertise across SUNY that is applied every day to resolve neurological-based health problems."

About The Research Foundation
The Research Foundation for SUNY (RF) is the largest, most comprehensive university-connected research foundation in the country. The RF manages SUNY’s research portfolio providing essential sponsored programs administration and innovation support services to SUNY faculty and students performing research in life sciences and medicine; engineering and nanotechnology; physical sciences and energy; social sciences, and computer and information sciences. The RF moves SUNY ideas and inventions to the marketplace collaborating with business and industry to create new opportunity and new jobs for New York State. To learn more about the RF visit

About the State University of New York
The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive university system in the United States, educating nearly 463,000 students in more than 7,500 degree and certificate programs, and more than 1.8 million NYS citizens in professional development and personal enrichment programs, on 64 college and university campuses, and online through Open SUNY. There are nearly 3 million SUNY alumni worldwide. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunity, visit


About SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University

Downstate Health Sciences University in Brooklyn is one of four academic health centers (AMCs) in The State University of New York (SUNY) 64-campus system and the only SUNY AMC in New York City dedicated to health education, research, and patient care for the borough’s 2.7 million residents. Its flagship hospital, University Hospital at Downstate (UHD), is a teaching hospital and benefits from the expertise of Downstate’s exceptional medical school and world-class academic center research facilities. With a staff of over 800 physicians representing 53 specialties and subspecialties, Downstate offers comprehensive healthcare services to the community.

UHD provides high-risk neonatal and infant services, pediatric nephrology, and dialysis for kidney diseases and is the only kidney transplantation program in Brooklyn. Beyond its clinical expertise, Downstate houses a range of esteemed educational institutions, including its College of Medicine, College of Nursing, School of Health Professions, School of Graduate Studies, and School of Public Health. Downstate fosters innovation through its multifaceted biotechnology initiative, the Biotechnology Incubator and BioBAT, which support early-stage and more mature biotech companies.