Visual Sciences

Center for Visual Sciences

The Center for Visual Sciences (CVS) is a virtual central resource at the University of California at Davis, United States, focused on boosting collaboration in and funding of research in the visual sciences. The center serves in part as a bridge between vision researchers at the Center for Neuroscience and Ophthalmologists at the UC Davis Medical Center. Research spans both the clinical and basic sciences, with interests ranging from molecular genetics to human visual perception, with goals that are aligned with those of the National Eye Institute's initiatives for vision research. The center is located in beautiful northern California, a short drive from wine country, Lake Tahoe and the San Francisco Bay Area.

History

In the mid-1980's UC Davis embarked on a mission to achieve excellence in selective areas in the biological sciences by utilizing a "center" strategy, whereby faculty in diverse traditional departments would be housed together and share joint facilities, research space, and other common resources. The first such center, launched in 1986, was the Center for Neurosciences. Within a relatively short time period this campus-wide center became highly successful, currently housing more than 30 investigators, a substantial proportion having primary or strong secondary interests in the visual sciences. In view of the great success of the Center for Neurosciences, senior campus administrators approved several other centers that have started within the last few years. These include the Center for Mind and Brain, Center for Genetics and Development, the Genomics Center, and Center for Comparative Medicine. In view of the recent pronounced growth in the visual sciences, the CORE grant faculty drafted a proposal for a Center for Vision Research (CVS) designed to fulfill three major objectives. First, it would provide funds for the hiring of new faculty in the visual sciences. Second, it would provide much needed new space for co-localization of new faculty as well as some of the established vision researchers. And third, the CVS would serve to bridge the gap between research and the clinical faculty, with a major focus on translational research.

The proposal for the CVS has recently met final approval by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research. Concurrent with the center's approval has been the allocation of space in a newly-planned building that will also house the Center for Neuroscience, effectively uniting the majority of the visual scientists in the same campus facility. As such, all the CORE funded modules will be centrally located in the CVS. The center serves as a prime example of how the NEI funded CORE grant has fostered an opportunity to fundamentally improve the research environment for NEI funded investigators among other vision researchers at UC Davis.

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