James and Jean Culver Vision Discovery Institute


The mission of the James & Jean Culver Vision Discovery Institute is to engage in high impact research and discovery related to visual function and disease the outcome of which is expected to have far-reaching clinical applications for patients suffering from blindness and visual disorders.

Research Emphasis:

Leading causes of blindness worldwide include diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, cataract, age-related macular degeneration, and corneal disruption. Many of these diseases cause blindness and visual impairment to Americans as well. At the Georgia Regents University (GRU), we have a number of basic scientists and clinicians who are investigating many of these devastating diseases. Members of the Culver Vision Discovery Institute include faculty members from the GRU Medical College of Georgia (MCG), College of Allied Health Services, College of Dental Medicine and the Graduate School.

To achieve the mission of the Culver Vision Discovery Institute, we are committed to fostering interactions among the members of our group. We welcome GRU colleagues and members of the community to participate in our monthly Distinguished Seminar Series, Culver Vision Discovery Institute Group Meetings and Ophthalmology Grand Rounds. Currently we have four courses that are offered to graduate students and post-doctoral fellows. The first is the Fundamentals of Vision Science course and its aim is to enhance understanding of the eye in general and is offered in the spring. The second is entitled: Current Topics in Vision Science. This course which is offered in the fall aims to provide students with an opportunity to familiarize themselves with recent discoveries in vision research and ophthalmic diseases. The third is a Visual Neuroscience course offered by two well-trained investigators with expertise in studies of the visual pathways beyond retina. The fourth is Progress in Vision Science, which allows students to present their research and to receive credit for attendance in our seminar series. Our Pilot Project program is now in its 5th year. It supports basic science-clinical collaborations leading to larger extramural awards for vision-related diseases.

The Culver Vision Discovery Institute is directed by basic scientist Dr. Sylvia Smith, Regents' Professor and Chair of Cellular Biology/Anatomy and Professor of Ophthalmology and Graduate Studies and by Dr. Julian Nussbaum, Professor and Chair, Department of Ophthalmology. If you wish to contact either co-director regarding the mission or activities of the Culver Vision Discovery Institute, you may send emails to jroberts@gru.edu or you may call the Culver Vision Discovery Institute at 706-721-1150. The administrative duties of the Culver Vision Discovery Institute are managed by Ms. Carolyn Bertling in cooperation with Ms. Jenny Roberts, Administrative Assistant and Ms. Heide Andrews, Seminar Coordinator.