Selection strengthens Eversight’s continued investment in ocular research and development

Eversight Names Vision Scientist Onkar Sawant Director of Research

CLEVELAND, July 10, 2019 — Eversight announces the appointment of Onkar B. Sawant, Ph.D., as Director of Research to oversee the organization’s extensive research initiatives that aim to advance the field of vision science and eye banking practices to improve outcomes for patients. Sawant will be responsible for all research and development activities, in addition to leading the Eversight Center for Vision and Eye Banking Research located in Cleveland.

Eversight has a longstanding track record of research and development, to date awarding more than $4 million in grants that stimulate pioneering clinical and basic science research aiming to develop new ways to restore sight, prevent blindness and ultimately help patients live life to the fullest. The organization also facilitates research initiatives driven by Eversight team members who are actively involved in ocular research and regularly publish in prestigious peer-reviewed journals.

“Eversight is a leader in eye banking in part because of its proven dedication to clinical innovation and cutting-edge technology,” Sawant said. “I am honored to join this trusted organization and am confident we will continue to invest in research and development that will advance vision therapies and transform lives.”

Sawant received a doctorate in biomedical sciences and masters in biotechnology from Texas A&M University. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Cleveland Clinic Cole Eye Institute and was named a 2018 Emerging Vision Scientist by the National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research. Sawant’s publications in The FASEB Journal and Cell Reports demonstrate that the Bmal1 gene plays an important role in genesis and organization of retinal neurons and functioning of cone photoreceptors.1,2

“Eversight has a robust research and development history that uniquely positions us to drive innovation during this time of continuous evolution in the eye banking industry,” said David Bosch, Eversight President/CEO. “We welcome Dr. Sawant and trust in his ability to expand our portfolio of groundbreaking research that results in innovative therapies and advanced products to continue making vision a reality.”

Blinding eye diseases affect 80 million Americans and vision loss results in an economic impact of $51.4 billion every year.3,4 In an ongoing effort to improve outcomes, Eversight has recently collaborated with researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Cleveland Clinic, Case Western Reserve University, University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center and the Cornea Image Analysis Reading Center.

About Eversight
Eversight is nonprofit organization with a mission to restore sight and prevent blindness through the healing power of donation, transplantation and research. The Eversight network is responsible for recovering, evaluating and providing human eye tissue for transplantation; supporting research into the causes and cures of blinding eye conditions; promoting donation awareness through public and professional education; and providing humanitarian aid to people around the world in need of corneal transplantation. Operating in Connecticut, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio and South Korea, Eversight works in collaboration with surgeons, researchers, academic medical centers and eye banks across the United States and abroad. For more information, visit eversightvision.org.

References
1 Sawant, Onkar B., et. al. The circadian clock gene Bmal1 is required to control the timing of retinal neurogenesis and lamination of Müller glia in the mouse retina. The FASEB Journal. Published Online: 19 Apr 2019. https://doi.org/10.1096/fj.201801832RR.
2 Sawant, Onkar B., et. al. The Circadian Clock Gene Bmal1 Controls Thyroid Hormone-Mediated Spectral Identity and Cone Photoreceptor Function. Cell Reports, Volume 21, Issue 3, P692-706. October 17, 2017. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.celrep.2017.09.069.
3 Vision Health Initiative, Basics of Vision and Eye Health, Vision Loss is a Public Health Problem. CDC. Page last reviewed: September 28, 2009. https://www.cdc.gov/visionhealth/basic_information/vision_loss.htm.
4 Vision Health Initiative, Applied Research, Economic Studies. CDC. Page last reviewed: April 11, 2017. https://www.cdc.gov/visionhealth/projects/economic_studies.htm.

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