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Dr. Gustavo Aguirre Receives Louis Braille Award

By: Katherine Unger Baillie | | 215-898-9194 Date: Jan 22, 2016

Dr. Gustavo AguirreThe Associated Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired will recognize the University of Pennsylvania’s Gustavo D. Aguirre with the 2016 Louis Braille Award for innovative research and treatment of inherited blinding diseases.

The award will be presented Friday, Jan. 29, at the 56th Annual Louis Braille Awards Ceremony in Philadelphia.

“The goal of my work is to treat and hopefully cure blindness through gene therapies and other strategies,” Aguirre said. “I am truly honored by this recognition from an organization that shares my commitment to improving the lives of people with vision disorders.”

Aguirre is professor of medical genetics and ophthalmology at Penn’s School of Veterinary Medicine. He has investigated the genetic basis of a variety of inherited vision disorders, including Leber’s congenital amaurosis, Best disease, achromatopsia and retinitis pigmentosa. His work on novel gene therapy approaches to treatment, which deliver to the eye a functional copy of a gene that is otherwise lacking, has restored vision in animal models of X-linked retinitis pigmentosa and Leber’s congential amaurosis. The Leber congenital amaurosis therapy is now in human clinical trials.

Aguirre, who earned his V.M.D. and Ph.D. from Penn, is a member of the National Academy of Medicine, a Fellow of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology and of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia.

About Penn Vet

Ranked among the top ten veterinary schools worldwide, the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine (Penn Vet) is a global leader in veterinary education, research, and clinical care. Founded in 1884, Penn Vet is the first veterinary school developed in association with a medical school. The school is a proud member of the One Health initiative, linking human, animal, and environmental health.

Penn Vet serves a diverse population of animals at its two campuses, which include extensive diagnostic and research laboratories. Ryan Hospital in Philadelphia provides care for dogs, cats, and other domestic/companion animals, handling more than 34,600 patient visits a year. New Bolton Center, Penn Vet’s large-animal hospital on nearly 700 acres in rural Kennett Square, PA, cares for horses and livestock/farm animals. The hospital handles more than 6,200 patient visits a year, while our Field Services have gone out on more than 5,500 farm service calls, treating some 18,700 patients at local farms. In addition, New Bolton Center’s campus includes a swine center, working dairy, and poultry unit that provide valuable research for the agriculture industry.