Grant will fund cutting-edge research and development of hand-held eye scanner
Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (NY-28) visited Rochester-based medical technology firm Lumetrics today to announce a $973,000 research and development grant from the National Institutes of Health – National Eye Institute. The NIH grant will fund development of a digital hand-held diagnostic ophthalmic instrument that will dramatically improve access to vision related healthcare both in the U.S. and across the globe. The promising pen-sized device will provide an effective clinical tool for inspecting the human retina and documenting the findings.
“As a microbiologist and someone who has been an unwavering advocate of biomedical research, I am thrilled to be able to join with Lumetrics for this wonderful announcement,” said Slaughter. “The benefits that this innovation will provide both here in the U.S. and across the globe are immeasurable. The ability to provide comprehensive diagnostic eye care with a hand-held device is truly groundbreaking and represents a huge step forward in improved healthcare access for previously underserved populations. The fact that this innovation is being developed by a Rochester-based company further reinforces the fact that our region leads the way in science and technology. Congratulations to my good friends at Lumetrics.”
Lumetrics is a 20 person Rochester-based photonics manufacturing company founded in 2003. The company currently counts among its customers six of the top 11 medical device manufacturers in the world. The company is known for its OptiGauge system which reduces production time and enhances quality for manufacturers of medical devices, optics, and industrial materials.
“We are extremely pleased that the National Institutes of Health found our idea worthy of such a large and prestigious grant, said Lumetrics’ CEO John Hart. The collaboration with the University of Rochester and its Flaum Eye Institute is an incredible opportunity for Lumetrics and will lead to new jobs at our company and expanded purchasing for our local talented supplier community”
The development of the new camera has been led by Fillip Ignatovich, PhD, Chief Technology Officer for Lumetrics and David Kleinman, MD, MBA an academic retinal specialist at the Flaum Eye Institute. The camera is made possible through a key patent invented by Steven Feldon, MD, MBA, Director of the Flaum Eye Institute and Geunyoung Yoon, PhD, of the University of Rochester, both of whom will be assisting on aspects of the project.
Dr. Fillip Ignatovich is an expert in developing innovative strategies to leverage technology in improving the human condition. He defines and oversees the research and development efforts at Lumetrics with the emphasis on medical ophthalmic devices.
“I am fortunate to lead a great team of professionals in developing this instrument which has the potential to make a positive impact in health and vision care for all people,” said Dr. Ignatovich. “This funding exemplifies meaningful government initiatives designed to promote innovation, small business success and cost effective interventions advancing quality of life.”
Dr. Kleinman is widely considered an expert in the field of ophthalmology and serves as a consultant to both large and small ophthalmic pharmaceutical and device companies nationally. He has travelled to more than 40 countries championing the cause of providing vision care to underserved populations.
“When we applied for this grant we told a great story—there is no group better suited for this project than our team here in Rochester,” said Dr. Kleinman. “We have world renowned expertise in optical engineering, medical device development and manufacturing, and cutting edge research in ophthalmology and the visual sciences. As we advance this patented novel technology we hope it further establishes our community as a leader in bringing great imaging products to the global stage. ”
Lumetrics is one of nearly 140 technology firms in the Rochester area focusing on the field of photonics and optics. Organized as the Rochester Regional Photonics Cluster, these firms represent the largest manufacturing cluster in New York State. Firms from the cluster have been responsible for development of the optics currently deployed in the Mars Rover program.
“Lumetrics and the firms that compose the Rochester Regional Photonics Cluster are developing the technologies of the future,” said Slaughter. “They will continue to play a crucial role in transforming our economy, creating high-paying jobs and distinguishing Rochester within the international scientific community. I am so proud and appreciative of their continued efforts and look forward to continuing my support for their good work both here and in Washington.”