In Webvision news, we have gone through some changes here, mostly under the hood, though some will have changed the appearance of Webvision subtly.
Webvision has now migrated to a new server. Most of the lifetime of Webvision has been running on Macintosh OSs of various flavors. But with the deprecation of Apache in the latest OS X Server, the writing was on the wall and I moved Webvision to a new server, running Linux. My thanks to the Moran Eye Center for helping with the costs of securing a new server.
Additionally, with consulting help from Anesti Creative, we have optimized Webvision, creating a responsive website for more platforms and increased the security, which these days unfortunately is necessary given the increased number of attacks literally every minute of the day from around the world.
We have endeavored to make this as easy as possible for end users, and hopefully these changes will result in an easier to use website, particularly from mobile devices and tablets.
The famous Prado Museum in Madrid has opened up a new exposition for the blind by making a combination of elaborate copies of six of the museum’s masterworks through 3D printing and painted reproductions. The whole idea is for the blind to be able to touch the works and open up a whole new arena of accessibility to the visually impaired.
The Prado is one of the museums that we here at Webvision have not yet made it to. One of these days, that will have to happen.
Update 05/26/2015: NPR has a wonderful article on Morning Edition about the exhibit here.
There is an excellent editorial, Death by a Thousand Cuts by the former head of FASEB, William T. Talman on the research budget cuts in science. It is well worth your time to read it, consider its content and share with people you know.
BECKMAN-ARGYROS AWARD IN VISION RESEARCH
The Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation is pleased to announce the 2015 Beckman-Argyros Award in Vision Research.
The BECKMAN-ARGYROS AWARD IN VISION RESEARCH is an annual award established in 2013 to honor and celebrate a decades-long friendship of two remarkable men, Dr. Arnold O. Beckman and Ambassador George L. Argyros, and to continue their commitment, dedication and shared vision to make the world a better place. The Beckman-Argyros Award honors Ambassador Argyros for his 22 years of service as Chairman of the Board of the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation and recognizes the special and unique friendship he shared with Arnold O. Beckman for over forty years.
The Beckman – Argyros Award in Vision Research is intended to reward one individual who has made significant transformative breakthroughs in vision research.
In an unprecedented recognition of extraordinary achievement in scientific research and to further support this research, one award will be made annually. The recipient will receive a total of $500,000 along with a commemorative medallion.
In contemplating potential nominees, please keep in mind that while the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation currently supports one Initiative which focuses solely on macular degeneration (MD); the Beckman-Argyros Award is separate and apart from said Initiative and is not intended to focus solely on MD, but the broader spectrum of vision research.
All of the details regarding the Beckman Argyros Award in Vision Research and Nomination Process may be found at the following website: http://www.beckman-foundation.com/beckman-argyros
Nominations are due: Thursday, December 11, 2014 at 5:00 p.m. PST.
Online Submissions Only: https://beckmanfoundationprograms.communityforce.com/Login.aspx
Please do not hesitate to contact the Beckman-Argyros Program Administrator at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
The new 2015 Budget proposal released by Health and Human Services for the NIH has been finalized. This is a proposal released by the White House as a suggestion to Congress on how to distribute federal funds related to research. As we know, this relationship has been contentious to say the least coming at the expense of research funding which has more or less been on a constant slide for the past decade. Real research dollars, inflation adjusted are down almost 25% from a decade ago.
In the 2015 budget, it has been proposed that an additional $211 million dollars be assigned to the NIH for a total of $30.4 billion. As expected, translational research is funded at higher amounts increasing the disparity of basic science vs. translational work with the NIAID, NCATS, NIMH, NIDDK and NINDS receiving the majority of this additional $211 million. Of relevance to the vision community, there is good news and bad news. The good news is that NEI funding is proposed to increase by $1 million over the 2014 appropriation. The bad news is that, assuming a 1.4% rate of inflation, this additional funding does not keep up with inflation and we continue the decade long slide in research funding.
There may be other opportunities within the NIH budget for vision related research, not necessarily in the NEI portfolio including some of the $100 million devoted to the BRAIN initiative, though honestly… most of those dollars are already spoken for it seems.
There is some potential good news for pre-doctoral and post-doctoral students supported by NRSA funding mechanisms with a 2% increase in stipends proposed.
This is one of the most amazing times in biomedical research, especially in the vision community. All the work I heard about at the 2014 ARVO meetings this week from investigators across the spectrum is inspiring and yet, we are facing so many frustrations with real shortfalls in research funding.
We, the science community and America at large, needs the partisan bickering to cease. The President’s proposal in the Opportunity, Growth, and Security Initiative requests up to an additional $970 million in funding to the NIH to fund an addition 650 NIH grants and an additional 1000 NSF grants which are badly needed to stem the loss of talent in the science communities. Rebuilding this countries infrastructure includes our intellectual capabilities. Myopic budget approval processes that do not take into account scientific progress at both the basic and applied levels of scientific inquiry and investigation will lead to a continued reduction in the competitiveness of this country in academic and commercial venues.
After much work by a number of our contributors, not the least of whom is the author of this particular effort, we have a spectacular new addition to Webvision: A section on the Evolution of Phototransduction, Vertebrate Photoreceptors and Retina by Trevor D. Lamb. Be sure to check it out and let us know what you think in the comments.
Continue reading “New Webvision Chapter: Evolution of Phototransduction, Vertebrate Photoreceptors and Retina”
Nikko Ronquillo will be defending his dissertation on Wednesday, May 15th at 2:00pm in the Moran Eye Center auditorium on the 1st floor. Nikko’s dissertation, performed in Wolfgang Baehr’s laboratory is on the Functional and morphological studies of the NPHP5 mouse model: insights into Senior-Løken Syndrome.
Last year we started a tradition here on Webvision of summarizing some statistics of traffic to Webvision to give you some idea of who the users and visitors are. While 2011 was a year of major infrastructure change to Webvision with a complete replacement of the database backend and a move to hosting with a WordPress based platform, 2012 was a year of steady growth, updates to many existing chapters and the addition of 2 new chapters on Retinal Ganglion Cell Dendritic Structure And Synaptic Connections by Ning Tian, and Glycine Receptor Diversity in the Mammalian Retina by Silke Haverkamp and a chapter on Visual Evoked Potentials by Don Creel.
Continue reading “Webvision Year In Review, 2012”
Peter Westenskow from the Friedlander Laboratory at Scripps sends this rather excellent neovascular Santa tuft for everyone to enjoy for Christmas and the New Year. Thanks Peter!
Peter was a star graduate student here at the Moran Eye Center in Sabine Fuhrmann’s laboratory and has done amazing science in his post-doc at Scripps. He’s decided to start looking for his first faculty position, so if you have any spots, give him a shout.
Congratulations to our colleagues mentioned in the following press release. We are always enthused to hear about funding and commitments to research, particularly when federal funding of research through traditional means has been getting harder to obtain. This is where funding from private foundations like Foundation Fighting Blindness come through. It enables work to progress that otherwise would not happen and for those of us who are working so very hard to find cures for blindness or treatments to mitigate vision loss, this is invaluable.
Continue reading “Foundation Fighting Blindness Announces $2.4 Million in Funding for Eight New Sight-Saving Research Projects”
Congratulations to Scott Lauritzen and James Tucker who successfully defended their dissertations earlier this year at the Moran Eye Center. Scott will be staying with the Marclab for a postdoc while James will be returning to his medical school class to finish out his clinical years. More pics from the dissertation defenses and after party over on Jonesblog.
Congratulations to Dr. Crystal Sigulinsky on a successful defense to her dissertation, “Defining the relationship between the homeobox gene Vsx2 and extrinsic signaling in the regulation of retinal progenitor cell properties”.
Continue reading “Doctoral Dissertation Defense: Crystal Sigulinsky”
This is an interesting news article in Nature that describes alterations in the iris in individuals over time. We’ve always been told that irises do not change as we age, but that simply did not make sense to a number of people I’ve spoken with in the past. Certainly there were questions of trauma and other changes, but aging itself certainly could have induced changes in the iris. Continue reading “Iris Changes Complicate Biometric Scans”