This award is dedicated to Lisa D. Hansen, a longtime Board Member, donor, and dear friend to the Blind Children’s Center community. Lisa was a strong advocate for the importance of a Research Grant program, and it is our privilege to name the annual program in her honor.

Our Board of Directors remain committed to scientific research seeking cures for juvenile blindness. For more than 25 years our Medical Research Committee has made grants to worthy scientists from dozens of esteemed universities in a quest to prevent various forms of visual impairment in young people.

Our annual grant RFP is available here.

All grant applications are due by April 15, 2024. The applications will be reviewed by the BCC Research Committee, with funding decisions made by June 30, 2024. The starting point for all grants will be July 1, 2024.

Click here to read an article from the American Academy of Ophthalmology detailing the results of BCC’s 2022/2023 grant recipients and their work on the “Association between Aphakia and Endophthalmits after Pediatric Cataract Surgery.”

The following is a full list of our current Medical Research Committee members and projects the Committee has chosen for funding.

Research Committee

Sherwin J. Isenberg, M.D.
Chairman & Professor of Pediatric Ophthalmology
Jules Stein Eye Institute, UCLA School of Medicine

Gerald Bowns, M.D.
Ophthalmologist & Clinical Assistant Professor
Pasadena Eye Medical Group & USC Keck School of Medicine

Nicholas Casias, Ed.D., COMS
Assistant Professor, Special Education and Counseling
California State University, Los Angeles

Diane Cullinane, M.D.
Executive Director
Professional Child Development Associates

Diane L. Fazzi, Ph.D.
Professor & Division Chair of Special Education and Counseling
California State University, Los Angeles

Michael B. Gorin, M.D., Ph.D.
Professor Division Chief
Retinal Disorders and Ophthalmic Genetics Department of Ophthalmology, David Geffen School of Medicine

Samuel Masket, M.D.
Clinical Professor
Jules Stein Eye Institute, UCLA & founding partner of Advanced Vision Care

Research Projects


Paige Brooks, Ph. D., $25,000    
National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health
Pediatric, Developmental and Genetic Ophthalmology Section
A Gene Therapy Approach to Pigmenting the Retina in Models of Oculocutaneous Albinism Type IA


Sarah Hilkbert Rodriguez, M.D., M.P.H., $25,000    
Lindsay Y. Chun, M.D.
Dmitra Skondra, M.D., Ph.D. 
Chuanhuan Liao, M.S.
University of Chicago Medical Center
Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Science
Association between Aphakia and Endophthalmits after Pediatric Cataract Surgery


Melinda Chang, M.D., $25,000
The Vision Center, Children’s Hospital LA
USC Roski Eye Insitute
Eye Tracking & Teller acuity for visual assessment in Children with CVI (Cortical Visual Impairment)


Xi Chen, M.D., Ph.D., $24,878
Duke Eye Center, Department of Ophthalmology, Duke University
Blood Retinal Barrier in Retinopathy of Prematurity


None approved


Brenda L. Bohnsack, M.D., Ph.D., $25,000
Kellogg Eye Center, University of Michigan, Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences
Understanding the Molecular Basis of Congenital Eye Defects Associated with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome


Zhongjie Fu, PhD. $25,000
Boston Children’s Hospital
FGF21 Protects Against Hyperglycemia Associated ROP through Modulating Energy Metabolism


R.V. Paul Chan, M.D. $24,600
Illinois Eye and Ear Infirmary, University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Medicine
Characterization of Ocular Malformations in Infants with Possible Exposure to Zika Virus


Carolyn Drews-Botsch, Ph.D., MPH $20,000
Emory University
Pilot Study of Reading Speed and Comprehension in Children Treated for Unilateral Congenital Cataracts


Fatema Ghasia, M.D. $20,000*
Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of
Case Western Reserve University
Fixational Eye Movements (microsaccades) in Amblyopia
* Funds donated by Lisa Hansen, Norris Foundation


None approved


Jing Chen, Ph.D. $20,000
Children’s Hospital Boston
Micro RNA Control of Retinal Vascular & Neuronal Degeneration in ROP


Ms. Tritia Woo, M.A., Doctorate Student $8,000
Visions: Visual Instructional Strategies in Occupational Therapy for Young Children


Dr. Brian T. Brooks $16,850
National Eye Institute
A Trial of Nitisinone (NTBC) As A Treatment for Oculocutaneous Albinism, Type 1


Thomas C. Lee, M.D. $20,000
Improving Retinal Stem Cell Proliferation

Dr. Eibschitz $6,250
Casey Eye Institute, Oregon Health Sciences University
ROP Pre-Pathology Diagnosis and Intervention


Professor Amy Needham $15,000
Duke University, Office of Research Support
Engaging Blind Infants in Objects


Dr. Noa Ela-Dalmon $15,000
Jules Stein Eye Institute
Optic Nerve Blood Flow and Retinal Nerve Fiber Layer Thickness in Patients with Unilateral Amblyopia


Maya Eibschitz, M.D. $12,500
W. K. Kellogg Eye Center, Department of Ophthalmology
University of Michigan Medical School
Improving Trabeculectomy Outcome in Children Using Human Amniotic Membrane


Teresa C. Chen, M.D. $12,500
Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts Eye & Ear Infirmary
Department of Ophthalmology
Risk Factors for Aphakic Glaucoma After Congenital Cataract Surgery


Deborah Vanderveen, M.D. $12,500
Children’s Hospital, Boston, MA
Retinal Vasculature in Retinopathy of Prematurity:
A Study of the Tortuosity Index in Pre-term Infants


Mohamed A.W. Hussein, M.D. $12,500
David K. Coats, M.D.
Baylor College of Medicine, Texas Children’s Hospital,
Texas Medical Center Location, Clinical Care Center
Exploring the Causes of High Myopia Following Peripheral Retinal Ablation for ROP


Terri L. Young, M.D. $10,000
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
Screening of Norrie Disease Gene Mutations in ROP

Elias Traboulsi, M.D. $10,000
Daniel Chung
Cole Eye Institute, The Cleveland Clinic
Identification of a New Gene for Autosomal Dominant Congenital Posterior Polar Cataracts on Chromosome 10Q


No proposals received, no project sponsored


Anne B. Fulton, M.D. $12,500
Children’s Hospital, Boston, MA
Visual Acuity in Children with CVI


Eric A. Pierce, M.D., Ph.D. $10,000
Children’s Hospital, Boston, MA
Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) in ROP

Steven Brooks, M.D. $11,600
Medical College of Georgia Research Institute
Role of Nitric Oxide & Oxidative Stress in ROP


Gerhard W. Cibis, M.D. $10,000
Wills Eye Hospital, Philadelphia, PA
Neural Network Analysis of Video Vision Development Assessment


Irene Ludwig, M.D. $12,000
Louisiana State University Medical Center
Long Term Results of Accommodative Esotropia Treatment

Robert Reinecke, M.D. $4,000
Wills Eye Hospital, Philadelphia, PA
Nystagus & Head Movements in Children with ONH


Dannak L. Murphy $10,000
Blind Babies Foundation
Pediatric Visual Diagnosis Fact Sheet

Mark Borchert, M.D. $9,654
Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
Prenatal & Clinical Risk Factors of Optic Nerve Hypoplasia