The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) has recognized Peter Koulen, Ph.D., director of basic research at the UMKC School of Medicine’s Vision Research Center, with a major honor, its 2021 Achievements in Eye and Vision Advocacy Award.
ARVO is the largest eye and vision research organization in the world. As part of its annual Advocacy Awards, the Achievements in Eye and Vision Advocacy Award recognizes members who have dedicated the core of their careers to advancing eye and vision research.
Koulen, a professor of ophthalmology and biomedical sciences, is the School of Medicine’s Felix and Carmen Sabates Missouri Endowed Chair in Vision Research. He is an internationally recognized expert in biophysics, biochemistry and physiology of nerve cells with more than 50 extramural grants totaling more than $15 million. His focus on the retina as part of the central nervous system has resulted in peer-reviewed publications in more than 100 prestigious journals. He has also received three patents.
Koulen said the award from ARVO is an “amazing honor” that underscores the importance of his research efforts.
“The many opportunities ARVO has afforded me during my professional career taught me early on that service and giving back are not just integral to research, but are the key ingredients to growing research programs and maximizing their impact,” he said. “The award will also serve as a constant reminder to me that the important work of advocating and providing outreach opportunities for eye and vision research is never done.”
Koulen is a review panel member for national and international funding agencies including the U.S. Department of Defense, the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the National Institutes of Health. While chair of ARVO’s Advocacy and Outreach Committee, Koulen participated in Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill to discuss the importance of increasing funding for the NIH and the National Eye Institute.
This is the latest major award Koulen has received for his research at UMKC. The university Board of Trustees also honored Koulen in 2020 with its Trustees’ Faculty Fellow Award given to an established faculty member for a nationally and internationally recognized record of research and creative achievements at UMKC.