Bascom Palmer’s Dr. Marco Ruggeri Named Emerging Vision Scientist

Marco Ruggeri, Ph.D., research assistant professor of ophthalmology at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, was named a 2016 Emerging Vision Scientist by the National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (NAEVR/AEVR) for his work on developing cutting edge imaging technologies for diagnostic and surgical applications in ophthalmology.

Ruggeri was one of seven researchers selected from across the United States for the 2016 class of emerging vision scientists. Last year, AEVR hosted the first Emerging Vision Scientists Day on Capitol Hill to recognize early-stage investigators who have not yet received an R01 grant. The second annual Emerging Vision Scientists Day is scheduled for September 14-15.

Ruggeri was honored to have been selected as a member of the second class of Emerging Vision Scientists.

“I am privileged to have received this recognition and be able to advocate for vision research,” he said. “I am grateful for the opportunity to be able to represent Bascom Palmer Eye Institute and the University of Miami with this prestigious award.”

“Dr. Ruggeri is an exceptional and highly motivated engineer,” said Vittorio Porciatti, D.Sc., Director and Vice Chairman of Research at Bascom Palmer. “He has been very successful in developing novel imaging technology for eye research and collaborating with clinicians. He already has a remarkable track record of accomplishments and publications as a junior investigator. This award is both a recognition of his talents and an encouragement to pursue groundbreaking eye research.”

The scientists participated in Advocacy Day managed by NAEVR for The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology. The Emerging Vision Scientists traveled to Capitol Hill to thank Congress for approving FY2016 appropriations that funded the National Institutes of Health at $32.1 billion and the National Eye Institute at $708 million. The institutes received 6.6 percent and 4.6 percent increases respectively from the previous year’s operating budgets. The advocates sought to promote robust, sustained and predictable National Institutes of Health funding for the next fiscal year and beyond.

Ruggeri met with the legislative correspondents in the offices of Florida Senators Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson, and Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. Discussions held during the visits stressed the impact that the combination of past funding cuts, flat funding, and lack of an inflationary increase at the National Eye Institute has had on the scientists’ training and career paths. In addition, they discussed the significance of continuing vision research, not only for the researchers, but also for the public.

Ruggeri’s research at Bascom Palmer’s Ophthalmic Biophysics Center is focused on the development of new ophthalmic imaging technologies – particularly those based on optical coherence tomography – for in vivo imaging and biometry of the whole human eye, and for supporting corneal and retinal surgery and diagnosis of retinal diseases in the pediatric population. He works closely with clinicians to develop imaging technology and applications that can have a direct impact on patient eye care.

Ruggeri is a graduate of University of Modena and Reggio Emilia in Italy, where he was awarded B.S. and M.S. degrees in electrical engineering. He received a Ph.D. degree in biomedical engineering from the University of Miami.

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