Nearly one-third of the people diagnosed with age-related macular degeneration experience clinical depression, according to researchers from the departments of ophthalmology, psychiatry and Family and Preventive Medicine at UCSD.

AMD is the world’s leading cause of vision loss — it affects one in five people over 65 years old.

The results of the study indicate twice the rate of depression than previous research. They also show that depression was the strongest indicator of disability, with visual acuity as the second most prominent sign.

The study participants included 151 adults, age 60 and older. All had advanced AMD. They were interviewed using measures of depression, disability and chronic medical conditions.

UCSD professor receives $600,000 research award

Dr. Lawrence Goldstein is one of 10 scholars who received the Senior Scholars Award in Aging from the Elliston Medical Foundation.

The award is a nationally competitive peer-reviewed program that provides $600,000 over four years to support biomedical research relevant to understanding the aging process, as well as age-related diseases and disabilities. Over 300 proposals for the award were submitted.

Goldstein is a professor of cellular and molecular medicine at the UCSD School of Medicine and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. He researches the role of anoxal transport disturbance and transport-mediated signaling in Alzheimer’s disease.

Dr. J. Craig Venter to lecture on human genome Oct. 30

As part of the Michael Kriegler Memorial Lecture series, UCSD alumnus Dr. J. Craig Venter will give a lecture in the Price Center Theater on Oct. 30 from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

The lecture, titled “”Sequencing the Human Genome: The Gateway to a New Era in Science and Medicine,”” is sponsored by UCSD Health Sciences. The event is made possible by an endowment gift from Jan Tuttleman, who is the widow of Kriegler.

Venter is the president and chief scientific adviser of Celera Genomics, the company that sequenced the human genome. He also founded the Institute for Genomic Research, where he led the first successful effort to sequence the genome of an entire organism; the H. influenzae bacterium. Venter’s findings were published in the February 2001 issue of Science.

He also developed expressed sequence tags, which are an important strategy for gene discovery.

Venter has published over 160 research articles and is one of the most cited scientists in biology and medicine. His many awards include the 2000 King Faisal Award in Science and the Financial Times Man of the Year.

He received honorary degrees for his pioneering work and is a fellow of such societies as the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Academy of Microbiology.

Ceremony marks opening of Virtual Conference Center

A special ceremony was held Oct. 22 at 5 p.m. to celebrate the UCSD Institute of the Americas’ Virtual Conference Center.

The new digital and media testing and conference facility will house telephone- and Internet protocol-based videoconferencing systems. It will also provide a place for videoconferences, seminars and receptions for up to 250 people in a theater-style setting.

The Virtual Conference Center will also allow institute members, staff, fellows, authors and various audiences to communicate efficiently regardless of geographical location. The new technology housed by the center is rapidly increasing in use and quality worldwide.

The facility will also allow for broader Latin-based audiences in California, incorporation of senior Latin American officials and personalities in local events, and accessibility for other government agencies and universities in Latin America.

The Institute of the Americas is an independent, nonprofit organization at UCSD with the mission of becoming a significant catalyst for promoting economic development and improving the political, social and economic well-being of the Americas via the private sector.

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