Boston-The Schepens Eye Research
Institute will honor the memory of the late Rep. John Joseph Moakley
(D-MA) with a new endowed chair called the Moakley Scholar in Aging
Eliezer Peli, MSc, OD, Schepens
senior scientist and professor of ophthalmology, Harvard Medical
School, is the first recipient.
Moakley, 74, died May 28, 2001,
three months after he was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome.
He is honored for his dedication to funding research to prevent
blindness. He represented a blue-collar section of south Boston for
"Congressman Moakley was a true
hero to those of us who are searching for the causes, treatments,
and cures for blinding eye diseases," said J. Wayne Streilein, MD,
president of the institute.
Moakley, who suffered a complex
eye condition that required special contact lenses, helped prevent
reduction in National Eye Institute funding in the early 1980s. That
passion for eye research continued through the 1990s.
Between 1998 and 2000, Moakley
was able to encourage the Department of Defense to create a
low-vision research initiative that allowed the Schepens institute
to launch a multidisciplinary research program that evolved into the
Center for Research on the Aging Eye.
In selecting Dr. Peli for the
chair, the institute praised a career dedicated to improving the
vision and quality of life of people who suffer from low vision. Dr.
Peli was trained as an engineer and optometrist, and is interested
in developing and testing new devices to help those with low vision.
He is the author of more than 90 studies and a book on driving with
low vision, and he holds five U.S. patents.