Douglas Dean, Ph.D., the Robert W. Rounsavall Jr. and Gretchen C. Rounsavall Endowed Chair in Ocular Molecular Biology in the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at the University of Louisville, has been awarded the 2015 RPB Stein Innovation Award from Research to Prevent Blindness.

The award is $300,000 over three years and provides funding to scientists actively engaged in research that investigates the visual system and the diseases that compromise its function. Dean is one of seven researchers at six institutions who have received the award since it was established in 2014.

“We are most grateful for the research support provided by Research to Prevent Blindness,” said Henry J. Kaplan, Evans Professor of Ophthalmology and chair of UofL’s Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences. “Dr. Dean and his collaborators have recently made very important observations concerning the rescue of cone photoreceptors in retinitis pigmentosa, the leading form of hereditary retinal degeneration in the United States. His demonstration that cone photoreceptor demise in this disease appears related to ‘glucose starvation’ may have enormous translational impact.”

Dean’s research has been supported by the National Institutes of Health. He has published more than 150 articles in peer-reviewed journals including Cell, Molecular Cell, Nature and Genes & Development.

Prior to coming to UofL in 2004, Dean served on the faculty in the departments of Cell Biology and Medicine at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Kansas. He completed a three-year fellowship at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. He then completed a second postdoctoral fellowship at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, Calif.

Research to Prevent Blindness is the world’s leading voluntary organization supporting eye research. Since it was founded in 1960, RPB has channeled hundreds of millions of dollars to medical institutions for research into the causes, treatment and prevention of blinding eye diseases. For information on RPB, RPB-funded research, eye disorders and the RPB Grants Program, go to


Jill Scoggins is Director of Communications at UofL's Louis D. Brandeis School of Law. She has been at UofL since 2010.