About LMRI

Mission Statement:

The Lowy Medical Research Institute is dedicated to preventing vision loss in people with macular telangiectasia type 2 (MacTel). LMRI investigators work collaboratively to study possible causes of MacTel, to develop new therapies, and to bring those therapies to patients. Through the MacTel Project, LMRI connects patients with clinicians and researchers to speed the pace of discovery and keep patients informed of opportunities to participate in clinical trials.


The Lowy Medical Research Institute was established in 2005 to act as the parent organization and funding agency of the MacTel Project, which was initiated the same year.  The MacTel Project is an international study and registry program designed to improve the understanding and awareness of MacTel through patient-focused research and an affiliated laboratory program.

When the MacTel Project started, MacTel was thought to be a disease of blood vessels in the retina. By carefully studying a group of individuals with MacTel over a period of ten years, and through extensive laboratory research, the MacTel Project has reshaped how clinicians and researchers think about the disease.  MacTel is now understood to be, first and foremost, a disease that affects the neurons in the eye. Many other cells in the retina are also affected by MacTel. LMRI scientists are still working to understand the cause of the disease and the cascade of events that leads to vision loss.

The goal of LMRI’s laboratory and genetic studies is to identify and test potential new treatments. Clinicians, geneticists, vision research scientists, and retinal imaging specialists from about 50 centers across North America, Europe, Australia, and the Middle East are involved in the MacTel Project.

To accelerate the pace of discovery, the Lowy Medical Research Institute opened a dedicated laboratory and office space in 2013, which serves as the LMRI headquarters. The facility is located on the Torrey Pines Mesa in La Jolla, California, home to the region’s vibrant and innovative life sciences community.

The MacTel Project continues to be a program of the Lowy Medical Research Institute.  LMRI’s clinical and laboratory research programs continue to advance knowledge about MacTel. The laboratory research program has expanded beyond the international network of collaborators to include an in-house scientific research staff. The goal of the clinical and laboratory research programs is to understand the basis of the disease so that LMRI may identify additional therapies to effectively treat or cure MacTel.

Partnerships in Medical Research

LMRI studies MacTel by modeling the disease through patient-derived stem cells. Here, these cells are differentiated into RPE cells.

At the Lowy Medical Research Institute, we work with experts in fields we have identified as important for understanding macular telangiectasia type 2.  These fields include advanced retinal imaging; genetics; deep learning; the study of photoreceptors, Mueller glia, retinal pigment epithelial cells, metabolism, and more.  We have partnerships with individual researchers in these fields, and have forged a collaborative network between them.  These partnerships form the core of our research program, and they complement our intramural research and clinical studies.

The discoveries we make through researching MacTel may have broader applications to biomedical research.  Some of what we learn about the eye through MacTel has potential to lead to new therapies for other diseases.  Because of the broadly applicable nature of our research, we also work in partnership with groups that are interested basic vision science.  The results of our studies will deepen the biomedical community’s understanding of the eye and vision.

Not for Profit Status

The Institute’s not-for-profit charter is embedded within its constitution:

“The assets and income of the Institute shall be applied solely in furtherance of the objectives [to be a public institution engaged solely in research into the causes, prevention or cure of disease in human beings] of the Institute and no portion of the income or assets of the Institute may be paid or transferred, directly or indirectly to any Member, except as bona fide compensation for services rendered or expenses incurred on behalf of the Institute.”

The Institute is a registered health promotion charity in Australia, registered with the Australian Government’s Charities and not-for-profits Commission.

Clinical Research and Trials – Overhead Contribution Policy

The Institute has a policy of paying no more than a 20% overhead rate in respect of research partners’ indirect costs.


The Lowy Medical Research Institute is sponsored by LFG, the private investment business and family office of the Lowy Family Group with offices in New York, Los Angeles and Sydney.

Board of Directors

The Lowy Medical Research Institute has a distinguished Board of Directors with backgrounds in business, medicine, and science who oversee the Institute's progress and future directions.

Board of Scientific Governors

The Lowy Medical Research Institute is advised by a distinguished Board of Scientific Governors. Members of the Board are leaders in medicine, translational research, and basic science research.

LMRI Staff

The Lowy Medical Research Institute has a dedicated staff of clinicians, scientists, and administrators working together to advance clinical and laboratory research on macular telangiectasia type 2.

Collaborating Investigators

The Lowy Medical Research Institute works in collaboration with scientific investigators at universities around the world to study macular telangiectasia type 2. Scientists are invited to participate in LMRI research based on the specific expertise each brings to the project.