November 15, 2022, 16:41 GMT

Five New Members Join the Board with Two New Leadership Positions Created

Maureen McCall, Ph.D., CRF Scientific Advisory Board Academic Chair

Maureen McCall, Ph.D., CRF Scientific Advisory Board member

The expanded Scientific Advisory Board will help us to evaluate proposals that will accelerate research efforts well beyond the $5 million we’ve funded to date.”
— Neal Bench, CRF board president

SPRINGFIELD, MA, UNITED STATES / — The Choroideremia Research Foundation (CRF) is excited to announce the expansion of its Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) to accommodate increasing scientific interest in the rare inherited retinal disease called choroideremia (CHM). Further, the Board created two additional leadership positions to support the expanded membership and increasing research inquiries.

Rachel M. Huckfeldt, MD, PhD, Scientific Advisory Board Academic Vice Chair

“On behalf of the CRF, we are grateful and fortunate to have these new members join the Scientific Advisory Board and bring their professional expertise to the work we do,” said Neal Bench, board president. “The CRF has award nearly $5 million in research grants with the goal to find treatments and ultimately, a cure for choroideremia. The expanded Scientific Advisory Board will help us to evaluate proposals that will accelerate research efforts.”

The CRF welcomes the following five new members to its Scientific Advisory Board with Jess Thompson, MD, MS as chair:

Brian Ballios MD, PhD, FRCSC, DABO
Assistant Professor in the Department of Ophthalmology and Vision Sciences, University of Toronto

Malia Edwards, PhD
Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology, Johns Hopkins Medicine, Baltimore

Jasleen Kaur Jolly, DPhil, MSc, BSc (Hons), MCOptom
Senior Clinical Research Fellow, Oxford Neuroscience, Cambridge, United Kingdom

Ruchi Sharma, PhD
Senior Staff Scientist, Ophthalmic Genetics and Visual Function Branch, National Eye Institute, Bethesda, Maryland

Divya Sinha, PhD
Scientist I, David Gamm Laboratory, Waisman Center, University of Wisconsin, Madison

Additionally, to help facilitate grant application reviews, the Scientific Advisory Board named members Maureen McCall, PhD, Professor at University of Louisville, Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences as SAB Academic Chair and Rachel M. Huckfeldt, MD, PhD, Physician and Surgeon, Director, Inherited Retinal Degenerations Fellowship, Massachusetts Eye and Ear and Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology, Harvard Medical School as SAB Academic Vice Chair.

For more information about all research studies the CRF supports, please visit


About Choroideremia
Choroideremia (CHM) is a rare inherited form of blindness affecting approximately 1 in 50,000 people. Due to its x-linked inheritance pattern males are most severely affected with females usually experiencing milder visual impairment. Symptoms begin in early childhood with night blindness and restriction of visual field being the earliest noticeable effects, eventually progressing to complete blindness. An estimated 6,000 people in the United States and 10,000 in the European Union are impacted by Choroideremia. There are currently no approved treatments for Choroideremia. For more information, visit

About the Choroideremia Research Foundation Inc.
The Choroideremia Research Foundation was founded in 2000 as an international fundraising and patient advocacy organization to stimulate research on CHM. Since its inception, the CRF has provided nearly $5 million in research awards and is the largest financial supporter of CHM research worldwide. Research funded by the CRF has led to the development of the first CHM animal model, the pre-clinical production of gene therapy vectors currently in clinical trials, and the CRF Biobank which stores tissue and stem cell samples donated by CHM patients. For more information, visit

Kathleen Wagner
Choroideremia Research Foundation
+1 800-210-0233
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