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Page Updated: 20-Sep-2006
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2003 NATO Science Partnership Prize

Russia-US collaboration produces breakthrough in ophthalmic research 2003 NATO Science Partnership Prize

The 2003 NATO Science Partnership Prize is awarded to the following individuals for their outstanding contribution to science through collaboration:

Dr. Audrey V. Larichev, Deputy Director, Medical Physics Centre, Moscow State University, Russia

Dr. Leonard John Otten, III, Vice-President and Chief Technical Officer, Kestrel Corporation, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA

The Prize is awarded for their collaboration on development of a new high resolution imaging system for use in examining the living human retina.

The development of a new High Resolution Spectral Fundus Imager represents a revolutionary step forward in the field of clinical in-vivo imaging of the retina and retinal substructures. The quality of the images produced shows for the first time in a living human eye features that had previously only been observed in dissected organs. A broad range of eye diseases that represent leading causes of visual impairment or blindness can now be studied and treated in the clinical environment.

A NATO Science for Peace grant was awarded for this project in 1999, and since then the researchers have aptly fulfilled the original objectives of support for high quality applied science and technology with excellent potential for commercialisation. It involved real cooperation between US and Russian experts and used modern management practices. There was a realistic agreement on Intellectual Property Rights between the partners, which benefited both the Russian and the US researchers, and was protected by both Russian and US patents. It also attracted substantial additional funds from other organizations.

Collaboration on the project has meant that former military research and technology in Russia has been converted to civilian use. The new imaging device also has the potential to be used for personal identification for security and counter-terrorism purposes.