Investing in the Future

Ohio State optometrist is first recipient of AAO Career Development Award

Recognizing that it can take years for talented, young optometric investigators to acquire federal research funding, the American Academy of Optometry (AAO) launched its Career Development Award this year to direct pilot money toward innovative research. Dean VanNasdale, assistant professor of optometry at The Ohio State University, is the first recipient of this prestigious award.

VanNasdale will receive $100,000 over two years from the AAO, a sum that will be matched by The Ohio State College of Optometry. An AAO committee selected VanNasdale based on the potential for growth and future major extramural funding of his research.

"It is an extraordinary honor to be the inaugural recipient of the American Academy of Optometry Career Development Award," says VanNasdale. "With this, we will be able to expand our lab's resources and develop new, multi-disciplinary collaborations that include expertise in patient care, optical engineering, and visual function. I am enthusiastic about this project and believe this award will help further our goal of developing and exploring techniques for early detection of pathological changes in sight-threatening retinal disease."

At Ohio State, VanNasdale established a research program centered on advanced imaging of the eye, which builds upon his existing body of research on photoreceptor and microvascular changes in normal aging, age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy. In addition, he is engaged in clinical instruction, teaches Public Health and Environmental Vision, and is chair of the Vision Care Section of the Ohio Public Health Association.

VanNasdale joined the Ohio State College of Optometry’s faculty in 2012. He earned his OD degree from the Michigan College of Optometry in 2003, and a PhD in Vision Science and master’s degree in Clinical Research from Indiana University in 2011.