Research and Training

Institute For Retina Research

Support Retina Research by Donating to The Institute for Retina Research

Institute For Retina Research

On September 6, 2013, Institute for Retina Research was founded by Dr. Brian Berger. Institute for Retina Research is a 501 (c)(3) organization dedicated to the advancement of the study of retinal diseases in order to benefit our patients and future doctors.

Why Should I Contribute?

Until seven years ago, patients diagnosed with wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) suffered severe vision loss because there was no FDA approved treatment for this disease. Retina Research Center was the only facility in central Texas offering patients the opportunity to participate in clinical trials evaluating treatment of wet AMD. The drug tested in this trial was Lucentis, which later proved to be effective in treatment of wet AMD and was subsequently FDA approved in 2007. The patients that participated in this clinical trial were able to preserve their vision and the patients that did not have the opportunity to participate lost their central vision.

Clinical trials are the only way to bring new and/or improved treatment to otherwise untreatable diseases. With the help of clinical trial volunteers, we were able to bring drugs to market for the treatment of wet AMD, but we still do not have any FDA approved treatment for dry AMD. Tax deductible donations to The Institute for Retina Research will allow us to:

  1. Participate in more unfunded trials.
  2. Conduct independent research.
  3. Send staff and students to educational meetings that will help bring new trials to our research facility.
  4. Improve our curriculum for visiting students.

Unfunded Clinical Activities

Not all clinical trials and activities are funded by pharmaceutical companies or National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants. Donated funds to The Institute for Retina Research will allow Retina Research Center to participate in independent investigator-initiated trials, case studies, retrospective analyses, and trials that are not funded by other sources. Dry age-related macular degeneration is a leading source of vision loss among people of 50 years of age and older and there are currently no FDA approved treatments for this condition.

The Institute for Retina Research is working with University of Virginia, department of ophthalmology on a study evaluating ORACEA®, a tetracycline derivative approved for treatment of inflammatory lesions of rosacea in adults, in patients with dry age-related macular degeneration. This study is not funded by a pharmaceutical company; therefore, the physicians are responsible for the costs associated with conducting this trial. Tax deductible donations to The Institute for Retina Research allow us to offer our patients the opportunity to participate in this and other unfunded trials at minimal or no cost to the patient.

In addition to unfunded trials, the physician may require additional testing or intervention for patients actively particpating in clinical trials that are not part of the study protocol and therefore not funded by the sponsor. The patient may not be eligible for any existing funding resources including insurance or state and federal programs that could help with the expenses associated with these diagnostic tests or procedures. In specific situations of this nature, donated funds can be used to offset the costs.

Education and Training

Our doctors have trained seven (7) medical residents, fourteen (14) 4th year medical students, over fifty (50) 4th year optometry students, more than 100 University of Texas Health Careers Mentorship Program students, and many former employees who have become physicians, physician assistants, optometrists, and other healthcare providers. Our physicians are not compensated for their teaching time and expertise. We would like to use a part of our donations to improve our curriculum by hosting additional continuing education meetings to update our students on the latest treatments and diseases in retina.

For our staff, attending annual retina meetings is the most efficient way to learn about the future of drug development and establish relationships with key innovators in order to bring new clinical trials to Austin. Retina research from around the world is presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO). Meeting attendance is critical to keep our staff up to date on new treatments and develop relationships with other scientists. The expenses associated with the meeting can be partially offset by The Institute for Retina Research.

Students

Teaching and education are an important part of Retina Research Center. Our four staff doctors are directly involved with the Dell Medical School, Texas A&M College of Medicine, UTMB Galveston, and Health Careers Mentorship Program at the University of Texas at Austin.  Our physicians devote their time to train and educate current and future medical students in the latest advances in the field of ophthalmology.  During their time in our office, students have the opportunity to collaborate with our doctors on publications, submit and potentially present publications at retina meetings, and learn about Phase I-IV clinical trial conduct.  If you are a student interested in completing an elective or research rotation in our office please contact Ivana Gunderson at igunderson@retinaresearchcenter.net.

Transitional Residents

  • Saagar Patel, MD – August 2018
  • Alexandra Van Brummen, MD – July 2018
  • Spencer Hayes, MD – April 2018
  • Lance Lyons, MD – April 2017
    • Silicone Oil during I-125 Plaque Brachytherapy in the Treatment of Choroidal Melanoma, Dell Medical School Resident Research Day, June 26, 2017
  • Matthew Reynolds, MD – July 2013
  • Marcee Vest, MD – August 2013
  • William Pierce, MD – July 2011
  • Justin Townsend – May 2007

University of Texas Medical School:

  • Rupak Dhoot – September 2017
  • Kevin Elwood – May 2017
  • Jihad Harmouche – September 2016
  • Adam Sierra – August 2016
  • Lauren Walden – March 2016
  • Chase Patterson – February 2015
  • Carlos Plancarte – December 2014
  • Travis Cox – September 2014
  • Katherine Serrano – April 2014
  • Kristin Jarzombek – February 2014
  • Garrett Burnett – October 2013
  • Jessica Swanson – May 2013
  • Sarah White – January 2013
  • John Dryden – October 2012
  • Ryan Harris – February 2012
  • Jason (Ching-Chieh) Lo – November 2011
  • Andrew Wang – April 2010
  • Brad Barton – March 2009
  • Matthew Dennison – March 2008
  • Susan Moruri – February 2008
  • Aaron Matlock – February 2008
  • Shawn Allen – January 2008

Texas A&M Health Science Center College:

  • Steven Glenn – July 2013

University of North Texas Health Science Center:

  • Irtiza Sheikh – January 2017
  • Emily Hsu – April 2013

Retina Research Center

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512-279-1251
Fax: 512-600-2882

Our Location

9707 Anderson Mill Rd # 100,
Austin, TX 78750