Samer Hattar, Chief and Senior Investigator at the National Institutes of Mental Health/National Institutes of Health will be delivering a seminar on “Retinal and Brain Circuits Underlying the Effects of Light on Behavior” on Wednesday, September 6th at 12:00 Noon in the Moran Eye Center auditorium.
Abstract: In this presentation, I will talk about how environmental light through photoreceptors in the retina reaches the brain to influence our internal ,timing, sleep, mood and learning. I will provide detailed retinal circuits, and new brain regions that are responsible for the effects of light on each aforementioned function. In the process, my presentation would be applicable to our modern lifestyle where we extended the day into the night by using artificial lighting and electronic devices that are delaying our sleep onset and leading to sleep disruption and debt. These changes could have major societal impacts that I am going to discuss.
Many vision scientists seem to have a penchant for creating art, and Dr. Paul Witkovsky is no exception. Paul is a famous vision scientist that spent most of his career at NYU New York City in the department of Ophthalmology. His research spanned the fields of retinal physiology, retinal ultrastructure and pharmacology.
His major contribution has been in trying to understand the role of dopamine in the retina and its role in light adaptation and cone vision. This work he has passed on to his academic progeny including David Krizaj here at the Moran Eye Center, Bill Brunken at SUNY and Jozsef Vigh at Colorado State University.
Paul has always been a “renaissance man” interested in travel, languages, music and art as well as science. Above, you can see one of his recent abstract paintings (acrylic).
A very cool paper was published in JAMA yesterday that is a result of Google Research asking if machine learning and computer vision could improve retinal fundoscopic examinations of patients with diabetic retinopathy. The outcome of course is increased patient screening for physicians with limited resources.
The BrightFocus Foundation has a wonderful post out that describes Yoshinori Ohsumi’s Nobel Prize in Medicine awarded this year. The post covers the work that led up to the Nobel as well as the applications of this work to diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) being explored by BrightFocus funded investigator, Debasish Sinha.
Claude Burgoyne, Van Buskirk Chair for Ophthalmic Research and Director of the Optic Nerve Head Research Laboratory at the Devers Eye Institute in Portland, Oregon will be delivering a seminar on “From Biomechanics to Proteomics – Toward the Mechanisms of Axonal Insult in Glaucoma” on Wednesday, November 16th at 12:00 Noon in the Moran Eye Center auditorium.
Dr. Burgoyne is a Glaucoma clinician scientist, Van Buskirk Chair for Ophthalmic Research and Director of the Optic Nerve Head Research Laboratory at the Devers Eye Institute in Portland, Oregon. After an undergraduate Bachelor of Arts degree in Architecture and Medical School at the University of Minnesota, he pursued Ophthalmology residency training at the University of Pittsburgh and Glaucoma Fellowship training at the Wilmer Eye Institute at the Johns Hopkins Hospitals in Baltimore, MD. For twelve years he was Director of Glaucoma Services at the LSU Eye Center in New Orleans before moving to Devers in 2005. For the past 19 years his laboratory has been NIH funded to study the effects of aging and experimental glaucoma on the neural and connective tissues of the monkey optic nerve head within 3D histomorphometric reconstructions. This work now extends to studying the cell biology of connective tissue remodeling and axonal insult early in the disease.
Building upon its 3D capabilities, his laboratory is also funded to use Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) to visualize and quantify the deep tissues of the monkey and human optic nerve head and peripapillary sclera. The long-term goal of his work is to build a clinical science to predict how an individual optic nerve head will respond to a given level of intraocular pressure and the clinical tools to detect and treat that response.
The Webvision crew is on our way to Japan for the RD 2016 and ISER 2016 meetings in Kyoto and Tokyo, Japan as we speak. We are promoting the hashtags #RD2016 and #ISER2016 for the meetings. If you want to meet to talk or arrange to have your work featured on Webvision, be sure to ping us at @webvision1 or @BWJones on Twitter before/during the meetings.
Glaucoma is the main cause of irreversible blindness in the world. In most common types of the disease, the optic nerve is damaged by an increase in intraocular pressure (IOP) which blocks fluid drainage through canals in the eye. There is currently no cure, however, the disease can be treated by lowering IOP. Unfortunately, all IOP-lowering drugs that in the market today target the secondary drainage pathway which mediates only 5-15% of fluid outflow. Therefore, the main goal in glaucoma research has been to identify targets in the primary outflow pathway mediated through the trabecular meshwork tissue. David Krizaj’s group at the Moran Eye Institute (University of Utah School of Medicine) has done just that.
In a paper just published in Scientific Reports, they identify TRPV4, a mechanosensitive ion channel, as the main trabecular target of increased IOP. This highly collaborative project combined genetic, molecular, whole animal approaches with bioengineered nanoscaffold models of glaucoma and drug discovery to show that activation of the channel mimics the trabecular changes in glaucoma whereas elimination of the TRPV4 gene or systemic exposure to TRPV4 inhibitors protected mice from the disease. In collaboration with Glenn Prestwich’s group in Medicinal Chemistry at the University of Utah, the team synthesized new eye drops which lowered IOP to levels seen in control mice. By targeting the primary outflow pathway, this study promises to bring new, effective cures that complement current glaucoma treatment. The primary authors of the study are Dr. Dan Ryskamp, Amber Frye and Dr. Tam Phuong.
Christine Curcio, Professor of Ophthalmology at University of Alabama At Birmingham School of Medicine will be delivering a seminar on “The 411 on subretinoid deposits in age-related degeneration” on Wednesday, June 8th at 12:00 Noon in the Moran Eye Center auditorium.
Please Touch The Art is a short film about Andrew Myers, an artist who creates tactile art for the blind and visually impaired. Andrew got his start producing the art as a surprise for his friend George Wurzel and has continued to work in the medium designed to help the blind and low vision community participate in the art experience.
We are off to ARVO 2016 in Seattle, Washington to participate in the largest gathering of vision scientists and ophthalmologists in the world. It’s the annual meeting of researchers and clinicians presenting and discussing all things vision and ophthalmology.
If you are going to be at ARVO and want to meet up, leave us a comment here or send a Tweet to @Webvision1 and if you are on Twitter, be sure to use the #ARVO2016.
Vladimir Kefalov, Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis will be delivering a seminar on “Calcium Homeostasis in Mammalian Rod and Cone Photoreceptors” on Wednesday, May 11th at 12:00 Noon in the Moran Eye Center auditorium.
Abstract: Calcium plays an important role in the function and health of photoreceptors. Calcium modulates the phototransduction cascade and controls the response sensitivity, response kinetics, and adaptation. Abnormal calcium homeostasis, associated with mutations in multiple phototransduction proteins, has also been suggested to cause retinal degeneration and blindness. This talk will present the results of our recent studies on the mechanisms for extruding calcium from mammalian photoreceptors. We have identified novel mechanisms for regulating calcium in both rods and cones. The implications of our findings for the function and survival of mammalian photoreceptors will also be addressed
This is a fun and pretty accurate Youtube video on how different animals (vertebrates and invertebrates) visually process the world. There is so much to learn from the evolution of the eye and we here on Webvision are always happy to see basic science and the science of vision being communicated to the wider public.
There is an excellent editorial in the 25 March 2016 edition of Science Magazine from Francis Collins et. al. re-stating the NIH position on support for basic science. This is important for anyone applying to the NIH for grants as well as those reviewing NIH grants as the central question should be: “How much will the proposed work advance understanding and progress in the field?”.
The University of Utah Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences invites applications for a full-time position at the level of Assistant/Associate Professor (commensurate w/experience) in the field of visual system function and or/disease. Successful candidates are expected to establish a strong research program funded by federal sources (NIH, NSF), to strengthen the current research carried out at the Moran Eye Institute as well as bring new areas of research into focus.