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LRC News

Wednesday, February 7, 2007
LRC Researcher Awarded Funding to Explore Effect of Light on Human Phototransduction

By Keith Toomey

Mariana Figueiro
Mariana Figueiro with the Daysimeter, a prototype tool designed at the LRC for light and health research.
Mariana Figueiro, an assistant professor at the Lighting Research Center, has received the James D. Watson Investigator award, which includes a $200,000 grant, from the New York State Office of Science, Technology, and Academic Research (NYSTAR). With this funding, Dr. Figueiro, the director of the LRC’s Light and Health program, is exploring the effects of light on human physiological rhythms.
 
“Our research will examine the effects different wavelengths of light have on a novel class of photoreceptors, as well as the associated retinal mechanisms associated with human phototransduction and their respective role in regulating physiological rhythms,” explained Dr. Figueiro. “I am very pleased to receive this award, and I am grateful to NYSTAR for supporting our efforts,” she added.
 
The director of the LRC, Mark Rea, said the research being funded by the grant could make a real difference in lighting practice. “Dr. Figueiro’s work could redefine the way lighting is manufactured and installed in our work and home environments,” said Rea.
 
Michael J. Relyea, executive director of NYSTAR, said the Watson awards are designed to recognize and support outstanding scientists and engineers who show potential for leadership and scientific discovery early in their careers in the field of biotechnology. “The world-class research being performed by some of the best young minds at New York’s colleges and universities is supported by these grants and complements our other high-tech economic development initiatives,” said Relyea.
 
In announcing this year’s awards, which totaled $1.4 million, Relyea explained that the James D. Watson Investigator initiative is part of the $225 million Generating Employment through New York State Science (Gen*NY*sis) program. NYSTAR’s programs are designed to spur technology-based research and economic development in New York State; promote national and international research collaboration and innovation; better leverage the State’s research expertise and funding for investments from the federal government, foundations, businesses, and others; and to acquire venture capital funding.
 
About the Lighting Research Center
The Lighting Research Center (LRC) is part of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute of Troy, N.Y., and is the leading university-based research center devoted to lighting. The LRC offers the world's premier graduate education in lighting, including one- and two-year master's programs and a Ph.D. program. Since 1988 the LRC has built an international reputation as a reliable source for objective information about lighting technologies, applications, and products. The LRC also provides training programs for government agencies, utilities, contractors, lighting designers, and other lighting professionals. Visit www.lrc.rpi.edu.


Contact:lrcnewsletter@rpi.eduPhotos & Graphics:Dennis Guyon
Editor:Keith ToomeyWeb Production:Joann Coffey
Contributing Writers:Jennifer Taylor, Keith Toomey
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