UCLA’s Gordon Fain wins Pepose Award from Brandeis

Pioneering researcher to deliver lecture about his work on March 13

Gordon Fain

Gordon Fain, whose pioneering research at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) employs molecular genetics and physiology to better understand rod and cone phototransduction, will receive the fourth annual Jay Pepose ’75 Award in Vision Sciences from Brandeis University.

The Pepose Award is funded by a $1 million endowment established in 2009 through a gift from Brandeis graduates Jay Pepose ’75, MA’75, P’08 and Susan K. Feigenbaum ’74, P’08, his wife, through the Lifelong Vision Foundation. The endowment at Brandeis also supports graduate research fellowships in vision science.

Fain will receive the award and deliver a public lecture, “The G-protein Cascade of Photoreceptors,” at 4 p.m. on March 13 in Gerstenzang 121. He will be introduced by John Lisman ’66, the Zalman Abraham Kekst Chair in Neuroscience and professor of biology at Brandeis, with whom Pepose worked closely while a student at Brandeis. 

Fain, the distinguished professor of integrative biology and physiology, ophthalmology and neuroscience at UCLA, is the leading physiologist studying rod and cone phototransduction. He is at the forefront of combining molecular genetics and cutting-edge physiology to study the issue.

“It gives me great pleasure to have Dr. Gordon Fain present this year’s lecture,” Pepose said. “His insight in combining genetic techniques and electrophysiological studies has led to the elucidation of the function of many of the control proteins of the visual cascade and their role in light and dark adaptation.”

Fain, who earned a BA in biology at Stanford and a PhD in biophysics from Johns Hopkins, has taught at UCLA since 1975. He is a past winner of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) MERIT Award and was a Guggenheim Fellow. NIH provides grants to support his research on the physiology of photoreceptors.

Past winners of the Pepose Award include Michael Stryker, University of California, San Francisco; Peter Schiller, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and Jay and Maureen Neitz, University of Washington. 

Pepose is the founder and medical director of the Pepose Vision Institute in St. Louis and a professor of clinical ophthalmology at Washington University. He founded and serves as board president of the Lifelong Vision Foundation, whose mission is to preserve lifelong vision for people in the St. Louis community, nationally and internationally through research, community programs and education programs. He was part of the inaugural class of fellows inducted into the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology in 2009. 

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