Dr. Bob Chow (left) and Dr. Bridget Ryan (right) are in the top three of the Eye on the Cure competition. (Courtesy of Dr. Bob Chow)

Dr. Bob Chow (left) and Dr. Bridget Ryan (right) are in the top three of the Eye on the Cure competition. (Courtesy of Dr. Bob Chow)

Eye on the cure: Island duo advance to finals in vision research competition

Dr. Bob Chow and Dr. Bridget Ryan are working to understand and eventually treat form of blindness

A University of Victoria duo are finalists to receive funding to enhance their vision research.

Dr. Bridget Ryan and Dr. Bob Chow have advanced to the top three for Eye on the Cure put on by Fighting Blindness Canada.

The competition is giving out a total of $100,000.

Chow is a professor and Ryan is a postdoctoral fellow in the department of biology at UVic.

Ryan and Chow plan to use the prize money to develop a therapy for treating Stargardt disease, which causes childhood blindness.

“We have been working on Stargardt disease for the last couple of years,” Chow said. “It’s a hereditary form of blindness. There’s no cure for it right now. The first part right now with this funding is to complete the basic fundamental understanding of the disease and then we will go towards developing a therapeutic approach.”

The show will be available to watch free online Friday.

“It’s a very unique competition or fundraising event they’re trying out this year,” Chow added. “We had to give a pitch of our research proposal to a panel of three judges. It went very well.”

Viewers can vote for the $30,000 People’s Choice Award by donating $50.

“It costs a lot of money to do lab research,” Chow said.

The People’s Choice Award winner will be announced on Fighting Blindness Canada’s Facebook page on Tuesday.

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