Dr. Gustavo AguirreThe Associated Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired will recognize the University of Pennsylvania’s Gustavo D. Aguirre with the 2016 Louis Braille Award for innovative research and treatment of inherited blinding diseases.

The award will be presented Friday, Jan. 29, at the 56th Annual Louis Braille Awards Ceremony in Philadelphia.

“The goal of my work is to treat and hopefully cure blindness through gene therapies and other strategies,” Aguirre said. “I am truly honored by this recognition from an organization that shares my commitment to improving the lives of people with vision disorders.”

Aguirre is professor of medical genetics and ophthalmology at Penn’s School of Veterinary Medicine. He has investigated the genetic basis of a variety of inherited vision disorders, including Leber’s congenital amaurosis, Best disease, achromatopsia and retinitis pigmentosa. His work on novel gene therapy approaches to treatment, which deliver to the eye a functional copy of a gene that is otherwise lacking, has restored vision in animal models of X-linked retinitis pigmentosa and Leber’s congential amaurosis. The Leber congenital amaurosis therapy is now in human clinical trials.

Aguirre, who earned his V.M.D. and Ph.D. from Penn, is a member of the National Academy of Medicine, a Fellow of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology and of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia.