Sayer Vision Research Lecture & Award

In 2006, Dr. Jane Sayer, an NIH research scientist in National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), established the Sayer Vision Research Lecture and Award at the FNIH, in partnership with the National Eye Institute (NEI), in memory of her parents Winthrop and Laura Sayer.

The Sayer Vision Research Lecture is an annual presentation delivered by an investigator conducting outstanding research in the area of vision research or related fields. The Sayer Vision Research Award is a grant to support the research of a promising independent investigator in the early stage of his or her career in the Division of Intramural Research whose work is closely related to aspects of vision research. Learn more here.

The fund provides an opportunity for honorees to explore areas of interdisciplinary collaboration, such as angiogenesis, that may lead to advances in diverse medical specialties with relevance to vision research. A number of factors place vision science in a position for major advances in the near future-including the large number of identified genes relevant to eye disease and the relative ease with which pathology can be visualized and documented in the eye.

On June 28, 2016, the FNIH and the National Eye Institute hosted the 9th Sayer Vision Research Lecture: “Sequencing 10,000s of Human Genomes: Analytical Challenges and Opportunities,” presented by Gonçalo Abecasis, D.Phil.

Dr. Abecasis is the Felix E. Moore Collegiate Professor of Biostatistics and the Chair of the Department of Biostatistics at the University of Michigan’s Center for Statistical Genetics, School of Public Health. He is a world-renowned leader in the design of computational and statistical tools for analyzing the increasingly large data sets produced by genetic and genomic studies. He has led large projects seeking to better understand the role of complex disease susceptibility genes associated with a range of common disorders from macular degeneration to cardiovascular disease.


  • Provide an annual Sayer Lecture delivered by an investigator in the area of vision research

Results & Accomplishments

Past Lectures:

June 28, 2016 - Gonçalo Abecasis, D.Phil, Center for Statistical Genetics, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, “Sequencing 10,000s of Human Genomes: Analytical Challenges and Opportunities”

October 14, 2014 - E.J. Chichilnisky, Ph.D., School of Medicine & Hansen Experimental Physics Laboratory, Stanford University, “High-resolution Electrical Stimulation of the Retina for Epiretinal Prosthesis Design”

September 12, 2013 - Wei Li, Ph.D., chief of the Retinal Neurophysiology Unit at the National Eye Institute (NEI), “Of Squirrels and Men: A Model for Studying Retinal Neurobiology”

April 16, 2012 - Yoshiki Sasai, M.D., Ph.D., laureate of the 2012 Inoue Prize for Science, “Self-Organization of Neural Structures in Three-Dimensional Stem Cell Cultures”

June 30, 2011 - Napoleone Ferrara, M.D., winner of the 2010 Lasker Award, “Basic Science and Clinical Application of VEGF”

March 10, 2010 - Roger Tsien, Ph.D., winner of The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2008, “Breeding and Building Molecules to Spy on Cells and Tumors”

October 20, 2008 - Sally Temple, Ph.D., “Stem Cell Potency - Finding Embryonic-like Cells in the Aged Adult Retina”

October 5, 2007- Krzysztof Palczewski, Ph.D., “G protein-coupled receptor signaling in phototransduction”

May 25, 2006- Martin Friedlander, M.D., Ph.D., “Stemming Vision Loss with Stem Cells”


To donate, please contact or visit the FNIH donation page.


Public-Sector Partners:
National Eye Institute (NEI), Division of Intramural Research

Private-Sector Partners:
Jane Sayer, M.D.*

*Provided financial or in-kind support for this program.

FNIH Contact

Please contact the Advancement Office for more information at or 301-402-4976.