Dr. Simon John Recipient of Sanford and Susan Greenberg Visionary Prize to End Blindness

Columbia University Irving Medical Center (CUIMC) Department of Ophthalmology is pleased to congratulate Simon John, Ph.D. on being awarded the Sanford and Susan Greenberg Visionary Prize for his uniquely valuable research against blindness. The award recognizes leading scientists, groups or individuals who have contributed most to ending blindness.

Dr. John is one of 13 recipients who will be honored at a virtual awards ceremony on December 14, 2020 for their pioneering contributions and advances in the fight to end blindness, which affects nearly 40 million people world-wide. Dr. John shares the Visionary Prize with Dr. Zhigang He from Boston Children's Hospital F.M. Kirby Neurobiology Center. The prize will be used to continue their ground-breaking research.

Dr. John joined the Department of Ophthalmology at the Edward S. Harkness Institute in the fall of 2019 and is regarded as one of the world’s leading experts in glaucoma research. He was instrumental in modernizing glaucoma research by pioneering the use of mice to study glaucoma and developing necessary research tools. His research focuses on finding new ways to understand early disease stages and inventing better treatment strategies for preventing blindness due to glaucoma. He specializes in the use of genetics and genomics integrated with molecular studies of glaucoma. Among other things, his group discovered that metabolic abnormalities occur in the eye during glaucoma and that treatment with vitamin B3 is profoundly protective against glaucoma in mice.

“I am greatly honored and humbled to be selected for this prize, which reflects the efforts of my entire group. We are excited to continue our research with a focus on making ocular tissues more resilient to both age and disease related stresses so that they are able to fend off disease processes” says Dr. Simon John.

“Dr. John is widely known as a leading innovator and we are incredibly proud that his work is being recognized with this prestigious award” says G. A. (Jack) Cioffi, MD, Jean and Richard Deems Professor, Edward S. Harkness Professor, and Chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology.

The Sanford and Susan Greenberg Prize was established in 2012 by Sanford Greenberg, who lost his vision at the age of 19 and made it a personal mission to do whatever he could to help end blindness. Recipients will be honored in two categories and share $3 million in prize money: the Outstanding Achievement Prize, which highlights advances towards treating and curing blindness, and The Visionary Prize, which provides funding for scientists whose research exhibits significant potential in ending blindness.

The free virtual event can be viewed online from Monday, December 14th beginning at 7:00 pm (EST) at http://www.endblindness2020.com/.