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Eye to Eye Exhibit Opens at the Natural History Museum of Utah

Inter-disciplinary Collaboration at the U of U Makes New Exhibit Possible

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Eye to Eye: Re-visioning Eye Disease is an interactive exhibit that explores and celebrates the various ways people adapt and overcome the challenges associated with several common diseases of the eye. As part of the ‘Utah Futures’ gallery at the Natural History Museum of Utah at the Rio Tinto Center, the exhibit also explores advances in technology and research by Jade Therapeutics that are enabling exciting new treatment options.

Using hyaluronic acid (HA), a natural lubricant found in many cells of the body, Glenn Prestwich, Ph.D., from the College of Pharmacy at the University of Utah, and Jade Therapeutics have created polymer-based products to promote ophthalmic healing. The molecules of this special biodegradable polymer are woven to form a lattice that can carry various treatments to the eye, encourage healthy cells to protect damaged tissues, and allow proteins to be applied that might otherwise breakdown. This unique delivery system can be used to treat corneal defects, unwanted ocular blood vessel growth, dry eye disease, ocular injuries and more.   

“Jade Therapeutics is proud to have been involved in this wonderful collaborative effort, and it’s truly exciting to see the ideas and work of these university students translated into a museum exhibit that can both inform and entertain,” said Jade Chief Scientific Officer Barbara Wirostko, M.D.  “This achievement would also not have been possible without the support that Jade has received for our ocular therapeutic development efforts from the National Science Foundation via the Small Business Innovation Grant program.”

The exhibit began as an inter-disciplinary project conceived of and funded by the University of Utah Entrepreneurial Faculty Scholars. It began Spring of 2013, with 100 undergraduate students in Design 2615, Introduction to Design Thinking. Students from Multi-Disciplinary Design, Graphic Design, and the American West Center have worked with partners from the Natural History Museum of Utah, the Moran Eye Center and Jade Therapeutics to conceptualize and design a hands-on exhibit about vision.