Program Lead/Presenter: Charles Wright, PhD, Retinal Neuroscience
Council Date: October 13, 2023 (October 2023 Council)
This concept clearance is for the reissuance of PAR-21-249 India Collaborative Vision Research Program.The NEI Indo-US Collaborative Initiative was conceived as a platform to encourage and support international collaboration on ocular health and disease topics out of recognition of the commitments of both the US and Indian governments to reduce blindness and improve the quality of life for their citizens. The grants supported under this program focus on ocular health and disease topics that are of interest to the governments of both the US and India. Scientists from both nations are encouraged to jointly submit applications.
The NEI India-US Collaborative Initiative supports research projects focusing on either basic vision science or vision-threatening diseases, consistent with the mission described in NEI Strategic Plan: Vision for the Future 2021-2025. The US and India share many of the same public health concerns. Both the US and India have rising rates of diabetes and glaucoma in their populations, for example. Climate change and environmental pollutants also increasingly threaten ocular health. India also possesses the unique advantage of having large patient populations willing to participate in research studies with fewer patients lost to follow-up than in the US.
Objectives and Scope:
This international collaborative research program focuses on supporting topics that have the potential to be of significant public health interest to both the US and India. Topics of interest for these collaborative projects include, but are not limited to:
- Assess the impact and magnitude of climate change-related environmental exposures on ocular disease risk and outcomes (e.g., carcinogenic exposures and vector-borne diseases).
- Develop and test strategies to enhance the equitable adoption, implementation, and sustainability of evidence-based mitigation or adaptation efforts that reduce the burden of climate change on ocular diseases.
- Identify and characterize communities particularly vulnerable to increased environmental exposures and ocular disease risk due to climate change-related events and develop approaches to mitigate the impact of social determinants related to climate change and disease risk.
- Studies to understand the mechanisms through which pollutants contribute to ocular diseases.
- Studies of environmental factors that predict risk of eye diseases, such as diet, exercise, other socioeconomic factors, and changes in weather patterns.
- Identify molecular, genetic, and/or epigenetic biomarkers that predict and/or assess risk and response to interventions.