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University of Iowa News Release

April 18, 2006

Carver Family Center For Macular Degeneration Event Is April 20

Members of the family of the late Roy J. Carver Sr. will join University of Iowa officials April 20 in dedicating the newly renamed Carver Family Center for Macular Degeneration (CMD).

The naming dedication ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. Thursday, April 20, in the Urmila Sahai Seminar Room (room 2117) of the Medical Education and Research Facility (MERF). Following the naming ceremony, tours of the Carver Family CMD laboratories, located on the fourth floor of MERF, will be available. The event is open to the UI community and the general public.

Scheduled speakers include UI President David Skorton, M.D.; Robert Downer, president pro tem of the Board of Regents, State of Iowa; Jean Robillard, M.D., dean of the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine; Keith Carter, M.D., professor and head of the UI Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences; Martin Carver of Muscatine, Iowa; and Camille Seamans of Galena, Ill. and Tucson, Ariz. Edwin M. Stone, M.D., Ph.D., professor of ophthalmology and visual sciences in the UI Carver College of Medicine, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, and director of the Carver Family Center for Macular Degeneration, will serve as master of ceremonies for the April 20 event.

The Board of Regents, State of Iowa formally approved the renaming of the Carver Family Center for Macular Degeneration in March. The center's renaming is in recognition of a $10 million gift commitment to the UI Foundation by the Carver family: Lucille A. Carver of Muscatine, Iowa, who is the widow of Roy J. Carver Sr., who died in 1981; John and Marcia Carver of Rapids City, Ill.; Martin G. and Ruth A. Carver of Muscatine, Iowa; and Roy J. Carver Jr. of Bettendorf, Iowa.

To date, $13.7 million has been raised to support the Carver Family CMD. These gift commitments include:

-- $5 million to establish the John and Marcia Carver Nonprofit Genetic Testing Laboratory (NGTL), which will serve as a worldwide resource for large-scale genetic testing for more than 100 forms of inherited eye diseases.

-- $1.2 million from the Foundation Fighting Blindness, a longtime supporter of eye research at the UI, to help support the work of the Carver NGTL.

-- $2.5 million to establish the Roy J. Carver Jr. Chair in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology. This endowed chair is a joint appointment in the UI Carver College of Medicine and the UI College of Engineering, awarded to Thomas Casavant, Ph.D., professor of electrical and computer engineering and biomedical engineering in the College of Engineering, and director of the UI Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology.

-- $2.5 million to establish the Martin and Ruth Carver Chair in Genetics. This endowed chair has been awarded to Val C. Sheffield, M.D., Ph.D., professor of pediatrics in the UI Carver College of Medicine, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, and director of the Laboratory for Disease Gene Discovery.

-- $2.5 million from Gary and Camille Seamans of Galena, Ill. and Tucson, Ariz., and Leo Hauser of Incline Village, Nev., to establish the Seamans-Hauser Chair in Molecular Ophthalmology. This endowed chair was awarded to Stone, who serves as director of the Carver Family CMD.

The UI Center for Macular Degeneration was established in 1997. Its mission is threefold: to identify the primary causes of age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma and other heritable eye diseases; to apply improved understanding of disease mechanisms to the prevention of vision loss in the majority of people at risk, as well as to the development of effective treatments for those already affected; and to deliver the most advanced medical, surgical, rehabilitative and educational services available in a timely, caring and cost-effective manner.

The Carver Family CMD has grown to include more than 100 individuals in eight departments and in four colleges of the UI. With expertise in a wide range of areas -- including internal medicine, genetics, molecular biology, computer engineering, biomedical engineering and statistics -- the center's faculty and staff focus on genetic research and testing, which requires multidisciplinary and large-scale teamwork.

NOTE TO EDITORS: Links to previous 2006 news releases regarding the Carver Family NGTL and Carver Family CMD are available:

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Health Science Relations, 5139 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1178

CONTACTS: Steve Maravetz, UI Health Science Relations, 319-335-8033, Edwin Stone, Carver Family Center for Macular Degeneration, 319-335-8270,

PHOTOS: High-resolution images of Thomas Casavant, Val Sheffield and Ed Stone are available:

Web-quality images also are available: