Pharmacology’s Krzysztof Palczewski receives Friedenwald Award for work in ophthalmology

Krzysztof PalczewskiThe Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) recently awarded Krzysztof Palczewski, chair of the Department of Pharmacology, the Friedenwald Award, which recognizes outstanding research in the basic or clinical sciences as applied to ophthalmology. Palczewski earned the award for playing a key role in fundamental discoveries focused on the biochemistry of phototransduction and retinoid metabolism.

This award-winning research seeks to understand better how light and chemical components are converted in the eye to enable sight. He is the first to receive the Friedenwald award at Case Western Reserve University since 1961, when Albert Potts won for his seminal work on methanol toxicity to the optic nerve. Palczewski presented the Friedenwald Award Lecture at the 2014 ARVO annual meeting in May, where he received his honor.

In his lecture, “Structural biology of the fundamental steps in vision,” Palczewski described how his research has helped identify genetic mutations in blinding diseases. He has made historic contributions to determining the three-dimensional structure of visual pigment molecule rhodopsin. This renowned work has led to the discovery of novel treatments. Palczewski’s research contributions include more than 370 peer-reviewed scientific articles published in the most prestigious journals, a formidable grant history and a lasting influence on other investigators in his areas of research.

Palczewski joins a list of past Friedenwald winners that includes Nobel laureates and fellows from venerable institutes such as the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Presented annually since 1957, the Friedenwald Award signifies that a scholar’s work is at the cutting edge of ophthalmological study.