Major Grant Awarded to USU Biological Engineering Professor

January 28, 2019

News Release — LOGAN, UTAH — Jan 28, 2019 — USU biological engineering assistant professor Elizabeth Vargis received a three-year grant from the National Eye Institute for her ongoing research in better understanding why new blood cells form during retinal disease.

Vargis, a renowned leader in retinal health research, was awarded a grant of $420,715 to support her project. As part of the research, Vargis and her team will determine the relationships between how retinal cells grow normally and if those conditions change, does the expression of proteins that promote or block blood vessel growth also change.

“We will work toward answering our research question by assembling a team of undergraduate and graduate students and working with Dr. Mary Elizabeth Hartnett at the University of Utah, an expert in retinal disease, and Dr. Zhongde Wang in Animal, Dairy and Veterinary Science at USU, who will help us block the genes that lead to the expression of the proteins we are interested in,” said Vargis.

The grant is an Academic Research Enhancement Award from the National Eye Institute which is a part of The National Institutes of Health.

“Through my postdoctoral appointment and my time at Utah State University, I have worked to develop nanoscale methods to mimic disease states by controlling cell growth and cell growth conditions,” said Vargis.

The National Institutes of Health select awardees based on several factors including level of scientific caliber, NIH-requested research, unsolicited research and unique research projects.


Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Eye Institute of the National Institutes of Health under award number R15EY028732.

Research Contacts: Elizabeth Vargis | | 435-797-0618

Writer: Jessica Jarman |