Eyesight Research Earns Top Prize For Ben Souferi

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Benjamin Souferi

For decades, the Roslyn area has been known for producing creative artists in many fields. And that includes the field of medicine. Benjamin Souferi hopes to continue that tradition. The Roslyn native, who is a student at Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine, recently took first place in the medical student Basic Science category for research on therapy for vision restoration.

Souferi’s research involved introduction to patients of new cone cells, which if lost or dysfunctional can lead to loss of vision.

“Cone cells are the main photoreceptors for high acuity and color vision,” Souferi said. “One of the promising treatments for vision restoration is the regeneration and implantation of new cones. To do this, we must understand all the steps necessary to form cone photoreceptors, and now we have gained further insight on the genetic network of a DNA element shown to play a vital role in their development.”

Souferi’s research was completed with City College of New York Assistant Professor of Biology Mark Emerson. He has now submitted it for publication, while continuing to work on identifying the steps needed to develop the cones. The symposium, Souferi added, gave him a valuable chance to interact with other students and gain insight to their research.

“It is a great learning experience to view the various ways other students tackle their research aims and how I can possibly apply other methods to my own goals,” he said.
The competition was held on Nov. 9, at the American Medical Association EXPO, held in National Harbor, MD. Hundreds of medical students, residents, fellows and international medical graduates were judged on the quality of their research in basic science, clinical medicine, improving health outcomes, clinical research and public health epidemiology.

When he was in kindergarten, Souferi moved to Roslyn with his family from Queens County. He was educated in the Roslyn School District and graduated from Roslyn High School. He later earned both an B.A. and an M.A. at the legendary City College of New York. But the interest in medicine was first discovered at Roslyn High School.

“My freshman Biology teacher was Vincent Kreyling,” Souferi recalled. “He was a great teacher, very inspiring.”

Souferi is hardly the first student to find inspiring from Roslyn High School’s great staff and from there, he looks to do great things in the field of medicine.

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Joe Scotchie is the editor of both The Roslyn News and New Hyde Park Illustrated News. In 2009, he won a New York State Press Association award for a sports feature. Joseph Scotchie’s past publications include biographies of Thomas Wolfe and Richard Weaver and a comprehensive history of the city of Asheville, North Carolina.

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