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UM's Bascom Palmer Receives $10 Million Gift To Establish Orbital Vision Research Center
[November 26, 2012]

UM's Bascom Palmer Receives $10 Million Gift To Establish Orbital Vision Research Center

MIAMI --(Business Wire)--

One of the world's most prominent businessmen and leading philanthropists has donated $10 million to the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine to establish an interdisciplinary research center dedicated to eradicating blinding injuries and lethal orbital malignancies.

The gift from Saudi Arabia's pre-eminent builder, Nasser Ibrahim Al-Rashid, Ph.D., the founder and chairman of Rashid Engineering who lost vision in one eye as a child, is the largest the nation's top-ranked ophthalmology program has received during Momentum2: The Breakthrough Campaign for the University of Miami. It will establish the Dr. Nasser Ibrahim Al-Rashid Orbital Vision Research Center in the Miller School's Evelyn F. and Wlliam L. McKnight Vision Research Center.

The Bascom Palmer surgeon Al-Rashid credits for preserving the sight in his other eye, David T. Tse, M.D., professor of ophthalmology and holder of the Dr. Nasser Ibrahim Al-Rashid Chair in Ophthalmic Plastic, Orbital Surgery and Oncology, will serve as director of the Center.

"This is an extraordinary gift by an exceptional humanitarian who is passionate about advancing biomedical research into a broad range of eye diseases that have few effective therapies," said Eduardo C. Alfonso, M.D., professor and chairman of Bascom Palmer. "Dr. Al-Rashid's investment in the future, coupled with Dr. Tse's expertise in performing lacrimal, eyelid and orbital reconstructive surgeries needed for disease or injury, will ensure the Dr. Nasser Ibrahim Al-Rashid Orbital Vision Research Center will improve the quality of life for generations of patients worldwide."

The Center, which will be the first cure-based orbital research laboratory of its kind, will assemble a broad array of research scientists and clinicians who are focused on finding novel therapies for orbital cancers and traumatic optic nerve injuries, and clinical applications for stem cell and biomedical studies. The Center's underlying goal is nurturing a scientific mindset for multidisciplinary innovation and collaboration by removing barriers and promoting interactions among investigators from different disciplines.

"In addition to basic scientific research, the Center will serve as a focal point for attracting scholars from around the world to Bascom Palmer for ophthalmic learning and to exchange educational ideas for mutual gain," said Al-Rashid, a longtime patient of Tse's who has supported his work for more than two decades. "We view this Center as the incubator for the next generation of thought leaders in orbital surgery."

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