ARCS: Advancing Science
Our greatest science questions will be answered by the young minds at work today in US colleges and universities.
This idea is the driving force behind ARCS— Achievement Rewards for College Scientists—an organization of women philanthropists who are dedicated to advancing science in America. The ARCS Foundation was founded in 1958 by four forward-thinking women who saw the importance of supporting science and technology education in the United States. A half-century later, this remarkable organization has grown to include more than 1,600 women who volunteer their time and resources.
The foundation sponsors ARCS Scholars: outstanding US students completing degrees in science, engineering, and medical research. The Moran Eye Center is proud to be one of two departments at the University of Utah (the other is the College of Engineering) that receives ARCS Scholar Awards. Because of the generosity of our local ARCS chapter, one incoming resident per year is awarded $15,000, allowing the student to pursue a research focus and lay the groundwork for a productive academic career.
Moran CEO Randall J Olson, MD says, "Without the ARCS Scholarship, residents have to put their research on hold. We understand that hope in medicine lies in future innovation, in the passion of young researchers."
ARCS took an interest in the Moran Eye Center after touring the building and learning about the cutting-edge discoveries our researchers are making into AMD and other retinal diseases.
2017 ARCS Awardee
Bradley H. Jacobsen, MD, is the 2017 ARCS ophthalmology awardee. Dr. Jacobson plans to use the funds to focus on his research interest: the retina and the treatment of retinoblastoma, a type of cancer most common in children. Jacobson earned his medical degree from the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine. He completed a general surgery residency at Baylor College of Medicine.
At UC Irvine, Jacobsen founded the International Ultrasound Project, which uses medical students to teach ultrasound and conduct research in Mwanza, Tanzania. He also received a $60,000 John Tu grant to initiate what has now become an integrated medical education course at a Mwanza medical school.
Jacobsen’s many research projects range from investigating alternative treatments for patients with retinoblastoma to the feasibility of using ultrasound as a diagnostic imaging device in low-resource settings. He plans to continue his research at Moran, combining it with his passion for furthering high-quality care in underserved and resource-limited areas.
2016 ARCS Awardee
Rebekah Gensure, MD, PhD, graduated summa cum laude in 2005 with a BS in Biomedical Engineering from Boston University. She then completed her graduate training at Rutgers University, receiving a PhD degree in Biomedical Engineering in 2013 and an MD degree in 2016.
Since starting ophthalmology residency at the Moran Eye Center, Rebekah has been working under the direction of Dr. Paul Bernstein, MD, PhD, on an investigational ophthalmologic imaging device from Heidelberg Engineering called FLIO (Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging in Ophthalmology). The device is non-invasive and measures the decay patterns of areas of the retina in response to two different wavelengths of fluorescent light. Fluorescence lifetimes have been shown to correlate with macular pigment. The device has demonstrated utility in several diseases including macular holes and AMD. In the present studies, their study has identified fluorescence decay patterns that appear to be common among patients with macular telangiectasias (MacTel) and retinitis pigmentosa. They have also undertaken a series of systematic control studies to characterize expected fluorescence decay properties of the common carotenoids. They are currently building a database of FLIO data for a variety of other disease entities including uveitis, white dot syndromes, retinitis pigmentosa, and patients on plaquenil, among others.