Science & Technology

Major Grant Awarded to USU Biological Engineering Professor

By Jessica Jarman |

Elizabeth Vargis, biological engineering assistant professor.

Utah State University 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, as well as researchers, including Mary Elizabeth Hartnett, an expert in retinal disease from the University of Utah, and Zhongde Wang from USU’s Animal, Dairy and Veterinary Science Department,” said Vargis. “Working together, our team will help us block the genes that lead to the expression of the proteins we are interested in.”  

The grant is an Academic Research Enhancement Award from the National Eye Institute that 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. 


Jessica Jarman
Student Writer
College of Engineering


Elizabeth Vargis
Biological Engineering
Assistant Professor


Research 545stories Health 199stories Grants 164stories Engineering 158stories Biology 101stories

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