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Subspecialties Retina, Imaging & Diagnostics, Business and Innovation, Education and Training, Basic & Translational Research

Master of Ceremonies

sponsored by Allergan

The ICO-Allergan Advanced Research Fellowship is fast becoming ophthalmology’s most coveted grant for young clinician researchers. Now in its second year, this $50,000 award supports a researcher as they continue their work at an institute of their choice for 12 months. A panel of expert judges met at ARVO in Vancouver, Canada, to select a winner. The decision was unanimous: Matias Iglicki – a retinal surgeon and researcher from the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Iglicki received his award at a celebratory reception at the European Society of Ophthalmology (SOE) Congress in Nice, France, in June 2019.

Pictured at the presentation: Peter Wiedemann (ICO President), Matias Iglicki, Emilio Torres-Netto, Berthold Seitz (ICO Director of Fellowships), Montu Sumra and Neeru Gupta (ICO Vice President).

Berthold Seitz opened the ceremony – attended by the ICO committee, members of Allergan and a host of renowned ophthalmologists – with a succinct introduction: “It has been an honor to hold the position of Chairman of ICO Fellowships for the past three years. I have had the pleasure of reviewing all the applications for the fellowship – both this year’s and last’s – and I am delighted to formally award our newest recipient, Matias Iglicki.”

Iglicki came forward to collect his prize and was congratulated by the ICO committee. “First of all, I would like to thank the ICO and Allergan for choosing our project,” he said. “This funding will allow us to create a modified algorithm for detecting early evidence of diabetic retinopathy – and help countless people in the process. Telemedicine projects like ours have huge potential in rural areas, where many people have little or no access to an ophthalmologist. Our algorithm acts as a first-line screening tool: it works by assessing basic fundus photos – taken in the city hall when a patient goes to apply for a driving license – for evidence of diabetic retinopathy. If any are found, the patient is flagged for an appointment with the ophthalmologist,” explained Iglicki. “Hopefully in a year’s time we will be able to show you how many patients our project has saved from diabetic retinopathy. So again, thank you so much.

A combined ICO-Allergan committee present Matias Iglicki with his award: a $50,000 research grant.

Last year’s winner, Emilio Torres-Netto, followed Iglicki to share his own experiences of the grant. “The Fellowship has allowed us to investigate past contraindications, and extend our reach in terms of both scope and geography,” said Torres-Netto. “We now know that keratoconus is not a rare disease and slowly others are beginning to realize that, too. Thank you, ICO, and thank you, Allergan, for helping us to change perceptions; it has been an amazing journey.” Montu Sumra, Executive Medical Director, International Head of Medical Affairs at Allergan, ended the ceremony with a few words for the recipients. “I’d like to offer my congratulations to both Emilio Torres-Netto and Matias Iglicki,” said Sumra. “The work these young ophthalmologists are doing is making an immense contribution to our collective understanding of the conditions which affect the eye, and how best to treat them. The Fellowship is truly an essential research award, which is why I’m pleased to announce that we will be extending the partnership for a third year. We look forward to the next batch of innovation.”

To apply – and for more information – visit

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