Philanthropic support is critical to early-stage laboratory research, which is why longtime Kellogg supporters Laurie and Timothy Wadhams endowed the Wadhams Ophthalmic Research Fund. The gift will support cutting-edge research in its early stages.
“I experienced challenges with my eyesight at an early age, and with successful treatment, was able to overcome them,” says Mr. Wadhams, retired CEO of Masco Corporation. “Laurie and I want to help ensure that treatments exist for all of the diseases that threaten vision.”
The Wadhams’ endowed gift of more than $500,000 is part of the Paul R. Lichter, M.D., M.S., Vision Research Discovery Fund, an umbrella fund that supports research to build knowledge and open doors for more effective treatments and cures. With the contribution, the Lichter Fund reached a pivotal $5 million milestone.
“Discovery research is the foundation of tomorrow’s sight-saving therapies, and I am grateful for this partnership with Mr. and Mrs. Wadhams,” says Dr. Lichter, immediate past chair of the U-M Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences and an active professor emeritus. “As physicians, scientists and community members, ensuring ongoing scientific advancement is one of the greatest contributions we can make to vision.”
The Lichter Fund provides competitive, peer-reviewed grants to researchers. Applications must include colleagues in other departments and schools, catalyzing innovation and collaboration.
Proceeds from the Wadhams’ fund will support researchers such as Brenda L. Bohnsack, M.D., Ph.D., the Helmut F. Stern Career Development Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences and a pediatric ophthalmologist. With a Lichter Fund grant, she studied a gene related to aniridia, a congenital eye disease, and established new, novel research partnerships across Michigan.
With the early-stage data that resulted, she applied for further funding from the National Institutes of Health to continue her work on preventing the disease.