James Grosfeld Initiative for Dry AMD



Research into the

Causes and Treatment of Dry Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Core RPE

Culture Facility

This facility produces highly polarized, well-differentiated primary and induced pluripotent stem-cell (iPSC) derived human retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) for dry AMD research, initially available to University of Michigan researchers. The goal is to minimize the expertise, time, and significant costs for each lab to produce high-quality RPE for experimentation.  Depending on need, future efforts may be directed towards iPSC-derived choroidal endothelium and/or retinal organoids.

Education and Trainee Support

A section of Grosfeld Initiative funds are dedicated to supporting trainees doing dry AMD research. Other funds are dedicated to supporting the exchange of research findings both at national meetings and via local hosting of conferences.

Funding for Feasibility Studies and Collaborations

Starting in 2023, small seed grant funds will be available to quickly test feasibility of a new idea or technique without the burden of a large grant application. Also starting in 2023, two-year long grants will be available for facilitating collaborations between labs outside of ophthalmology with technique expertise and labs with AMD research expertise.



Accumulating through 2027, funds will be used for purchase of major research equipment that will allow us to answer AMD research questions with new techniques.



Starting in 2023, funds will be available for clinical projects related to dry AMD. Possibilities include testing of promising therapeutic candidates in pre-clinical models, gene discovery in patients with unusual AMD phenotypes, and collecting and annotating clinical images to discover better biomarkers for AMD progression.

Direct Faculty 

and Research Support

The Grosfeld Initiative includes two Professorship Chairs as well as direct funds for supporting staff scientist efforts in dry AMD. One Professorship Chair has yet to be awarded, and the Advisory Board will strongly consider dry AMD research needs prior to awarding this Professorship.

A Video Overview of the Grosfeld Initiative

James Grosfeld

Businessman, Investor, Philanthropist


James Grosfeld was born in New York City in 1937. He received his B.A. from Amherst College in 1959 and L.L.B. from Columbia Law School in 1962.


After graduating from Columbia, in 1962, he joined the Wall Street law firm of Kelly, Drye, Newhall, Maginnes & Warren in New York City. In 1965, he became House Counsel to Goodbody & Co, a national investment banking and brokerage firm. In 1968, he was a founding partner of two hedge funds, Amherst Associates and Amherst Overseas Equity Fund.


In 1972, he joined Pulte Home Corporation (Pulte), a regional homebuilding company based in Michigan. He served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer from 1974-1990, during which period the Company became one of the largest home builders in the United States, a national mortgage banking company, an early issuer of mortgage-backed securities, as well as the owner and operator of five savings and loan institutions in Houston, Texas.


Mr. Grosfeld retired as Chairman and CEO of Pulte in 1990, and since then has been a private investor. He remained a Director of Pulte and Co-Chairman of its Executive Committee until 1997 when he retired from the Board.


He has served on the Advisory Board of the Federal National Mortgage Association, and as a Director of Interstate Bakeries Corporation, Addington Resources, Ramco-Gershenson Properties Trust, Copart, Inc., and Lexington Realty Trust.


He also served for approximately 20 years, since BlackRock went public in 1988, as a director of BlackRock, Inc. and was a member of the Management Development & Compensation Committee and the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee.

Mr. Grosfeld also serves, or has served, on the Boards of The Anti-Defamation League, The United Jewish Foundation of Metropolitan Detroit, Temple Beth El and Henry Ford Hospital. He is a philanthropist, locally and nationally, and has funded along with his wife, Nancy, many initiatives at universities, hospitals and other institutions. Some such programs are at Amherst College, University of Michigan, Columbia Business School, Stanford University, The Anti-Defamation League, The Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit, The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, The College for Creative Studies, Beaumont Hospital, Henry Ford Hospital, Johns Hopkins Hospital and Yeshiva Beth Yehuda. A few of these programs include:  The James J. Grosfeld Professor of Law, Jurisprudence and Social Thought at Amherst College, The James J. Grosfeld Scholarship Program at Amherst College, The Nancy and James Grosfeld Spine Research and Education Fund at Henry Ford Hospital, The Cancer Genetics Center in their name at Beaumont Hospital, and The Centennial Fund and The Grosfeld Leadership Mission at the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit.