WVU Eye Institute doctor awarded $1.29 million NIH grant

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Tony Realini, M.D., a glaucoma specialist at the West Virginia University Eye Institute, has been awarded a $1.29 million research training grant from the National Eye Institute at the National Institutes of Health. 

The award, called a Mentored Career Development Award in Patient-Oriented Research, partners Dr. Realini with mentors who are experts in clinical research design.

“The clinician-scientist is an endangered species in medicine,” Realini said. “The NIH developed this award to provide the support and framework for research-oriented clinicians to acquire the formal training necessary to become independent investigators.”

Clinician-scientists are physicians who see patients and conduct research in their area of expertise.

During the five-year award period, Realini will obtain a masters degree in public health, concentrating on research design and biostatistical analysis, at the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public Health.

He will also conduct a clinical research study at the WVU Eye Institute designed to determine the best way to measure the effectiveness of glaucoma medications in lowering eye pressure. He will work with his mentors to apply the lessons learned in master’s program to the project.

“This structured training program is designed to ensure that at the end of the five-year period, I will have the skills necessary to design, execute and analyze future research studies independently,” Realini said.

He will continue to see glaucoma patients one day per week at the WVU Eye Institute.

“I am a clinical researcher,” explained Realini. “My patients provide both my motivation and my inspiration for solving the unknowns of glaucoma.”

For more information on the WVU Eye Institute, visit www.health.wvu.edu/services/eye-institute/index.html. 

- WVU -

For more information:
Amy Johns, HSC News Service, (304) 293-7087
tr: 04-03-08

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