Biology Post-Doctoral Researcher Oliver Voecking Receives Knights Templar Eye Foundation Career-Starter Grant

By Jennifer T. Allen

Oliver Voecking, a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Biology in the College of Arts & Sciences, recently received a Knights Templar Eye Foundation Career-Starter Grant for his retinal research with zebrafish. The Knights Templar presented Voecking with a check on the University of Kentucky campus in April 2019. 

The Knights Templar Eye Foundation is committed to support research that can help launch the careers of clinical or basic researchers committed to the understanding, prevention and cure of vision threatening diseases in infants and children. With the grant, Voecking will focus his research on analyzing the development of POM cells in zebrafish hoping to drastically increase the understanding of POM development, ultimately developing screening for anterior segment associated diseases, such as corneal dystrophy, cataracts and Axenfeld-Rieger syndrome. 

"I am very grateful to the Knights Templar Eye Foundation for supporting my research,” Voecking said. “This financial help is giving me a great opportunity to continue my work on eye development."

Voecking is part of Biology Professor Jakub Famulski’s Zebrafish Retinal Development Lab which focuses on the use of zebrafish to analyze the mechanisms of epithelial sheet fusion during retinal development.

“This is a new and exciting direction for the lab and I am very proud and happy to see Oliver’s efforts recognized through this award," Famulski said. "I am sure this will be a launching point for Oliver’s very promising career.”

The Knights Templar Eye Foundation Career Starter Grants are awarded each year to support clinical or basic research on conditions that can or may eventually be treated or prevented. 

Postdoctoral bilology student Oliver Voecking (center) was joined by Jakub Famulski (far left), biology professor, and Vincent Cassone (far right), biology chair, for the check presentation by the Knights Templar. 

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