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Vision research group names VU graduate student to its board

Nov. 14, 2013, 9:01 AM

Vanderbilt graduate student Megan Capozzi has been named the Member-In-Training Board of Trustee to the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO).
Capozzi, only the second to assume the role, is the first Vanderbilt student to be appointed to this post.

Megan Capozzi

In 2011, the ARVO Board added a new seat to represent the needs of its student members.

The ex-officio, non-voting position is a two-year term.

“I joined ARVO during my junior year as an undergrad at Vanderbilt,” said Capozzi, who is studying retinal angiogenesis under John Penn, Ph.D., vice chair of the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at Vanderbilt.

“It is so exciting to be able to serve on this board and contribute a new perspective and to see how a large scientific organization is run and be able to network with and be mentored by this caliber of scientists and clinicians.”

Capozzi, a graduate student in the Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, is focused on discovering viable therapies for the treatment of diabetic retinopathy, a common diabetes complication and a leading cause of blindness caused by the abnormal growth of blood vessels (retinal angiogenesis.)

“My dad has type 1 diabetes,” she said. “The disease is close to home.”

ARVO, the largest eye and vision research organization in the world, boasts a membership of nearly 13,000 from more than 80 countries.

Capozzi, 24, beat out 43 other candidates for the spot.

“The nominating committee made a wise choice,” said Penn of Capozzi’s selection. “Megan will bring an important perspective and an enormous amount of excitement and energy to this role. She will serve as an outstanding ambassador for the association.”

Two Vanderbilt faculty members have served on the ARVO board of trustees — Paul Sternberg Jr., M.D., chair of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, and Penn.

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