Past Education Courses

2017  I  2016  I  2015  I  2014

2017 Education Courses

Big Data: Current status and future directions
Big Data is one of the most frequently used terms in the press. This course will inform participants about what Big Data actually is, what are some of the Big Data sets available in vision research, some of the analytics used on Big Data and some of the potential applications of Big Data.

Demystifying statistics and research for ophthalmic investigators
This course will brings together clinicians and statisticians to address these challenges. At the end of this course, you will understand what is wrong with correlation coefficients, what a confidence interval actually represents, the key elements of a sample size calculation and a lot more. The course will focus on understanding statistical fundamentals and the correct interpretation of ophthalmic data. Examples of what-not-to-do and why will be discussed. Formulae will be kept to a minimum - so no calculators needed!

Diabetic retinopathy: Past, present and future
The course will cover various aspects of diabetic retinopathy, including genetic associations and systemic factors, and will highlight cellular targets, novel imaging techniques and future therapies. The course will provide an outstanding platform for the vision community for a balanced discussion of the experimental and clinical aspects of diabetic retinopathy.

Stem cells and organoids as models of tissue differentiation and eye diseases
The use of stem cell populations and organoids to generate replacement cells/tissues/organs/ to correct acquired and genetic human eye diseases as well as drug screening is proving to be crucial to the development of new therapies for eye diseases. This course will discuss the multiple aspects of cell replacement strategies including stem cell differentiation and integration into existing tissues. Regenerative therapies including morphological and molecular events underlying organ formation in vitro and in vivo, 3D stem cell culture systems, cell and tissue engineering, and transplantation methods will also be discussed.

Retinitis pigmentosa: Novel treatments and challenges
Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is the fourth most common cause of blindness in the industrial world. Currently, there is no known cure for RP. The course will highlight promising innovative treatments that have been emerging in recent years from translational research into clinical trials, including stem cell therapies, gene therapy, CRISPR genome engineering, nutritional interventions and retinal prosthesis systems. New sensitive imaging techniques and functional assays will be presented that may improve patient screening for clinical trials and enable better evaluation of treatment safety and efficacy. The course will use the platform to discuss the means for successful application of preclinical research findings into clinical trials.

2016 Education Courses

Applying Visual Electrophysiology for Clinical Evaluation and Vision Research
With the advent of new therapies for blinding diseases, involving the retina and option nerve, there is an increasing need for functional outcome measurements that can be made in animal models and human clinical trials. The electroretinogram and visual evoked potential are translatable techniques that fit this purpose. The course discussed the use of electrophysiologic techniques in the understanding of retinal dystrophies, acquired retinal diseases, glaucoma and optic nerve diseases. It included discussions about cellular origins, animal models, clinical research applications, and the use of these techniques in clinical diagnosis.

Diabetic Retinopathy: Current Concepts and Future Directions 
Diabetes is global epidemic afflicting approximately 400 million people, and retinopathy is one of its most feared complications, which affects over 90% of patients after 25 years of diabetes. This course summarized both clinical and basic aspects of diabetic retinopathy, discussed novel molecular mechanisms of its development including epigenetics and endoplasmic stress, and possible biomarkers and latest clinical trials. The course provided an outstanding platform for the vision community for a balanced discussion of the experimental and clinical aspects of diabetic retinopathy. 

Epigenetic and miRNA Regulation in Normal and Diseased Retina
This course discussed the outcome of multiple mechanisms merging to influence gene expression in development and disease. The course covered interactions via environment - epigenetics - miRNA on gene expression in neural stem cells, developing and mature retina, and human disease.
Genome Engineering with CRISPR and More: From Discovery to Therapy 
In the current era of personalized medicine, we have identified a large number of genetic variants in patients with various diseases using next generation sequencing. Recent advances in genetic engineering, genotyping, high-resolution imaging and biomarker testing have made it easier to deliver the right treatments to the right patients at the right time. This course presented an overview of CRISPR technology from the leading experts who have pioneered it in other disciplines, followed by examples in eye and vision science and practical applications. A two-hour interactive workshop concluded the day, wherein participants will respond to problem-based questions via an Internet search on their own computers or tablets, in order to learn how to design gRNA and conduct off targeting analysis.
Intellectual Property and Patenting in Vision and Ophthalmic Research
The basics of intellectual property is not a traditional part of research training or medical curricula, yet is of growing importance to scientists in the competitive environment for funding and emphasis on translation of research. This course provided an overview of intellectual property, with a focus on patenting researchers' intellectual property.

2015 Education Courses

Diabetic Retinopathy — Lessons from the Bench side and Clinic
This course was a balanced discussion of both basic science and clinical aspects of diabetic retinopathy. The course highlighted the role of various molecular mechanisms of diabetic retinopathy including epigenetics, inflammation and stem cells, and discussed novel drug therapies and ongoing clinical trials. Thus basic scientists and clinicians had opportunity to interact and exchange ideas with a combined translational goal of identifying novel therapeutic targets of diabetic retinopathy. 

Epigenetics of Retinal Development and Postmitotic Retinal Function
The participants learned about the chromatin organization in retina and factors controlling euchromatin-heterochromatin conformation, the role of DNA methylation and histone modifications in retinogenesis and in postmitotic retina, and methods and approaches to study DNA methylation and histone modifications in retina.

Primary Cilia in Eye Development and Disease
Primary cilium is a subcellular organelle that plays critical roles in mechano- and chemo- sensation, cell growth, and signal transduction. In the eye, primary cilia are found in many cell types and are not restricted to the photoreceptors. They are known to play critical roles in development by modulating various signaling cascades. Moreover, cilia-dependent neurodegenerative eye diseases are becoming increasingly prominent. Although involvement of cilia in various developmental disorders is being investigated, not much is being done to understand the involvement of cilia and ciliary function in manifestation of inherited eye diseases. This course highlighted the recent discoveries of cilia function in both anterior segment (cornea and aqueous flow) and posterior segment of the eye, including retinal degenerative diseases. The course used the platform to provide innovative and exciting research that has potential to translate the discoveries to developing treatment paradigms for blinding disorders.

Strategies for Effective Grant Writing
This course was devoted to teaching trainees and scientists conducting research in all aspects of the eye and vision sciences, time-tested strategies which can be immediately applied toward writing successful grants. From grant targeting strategies, to planning,writing impactful proposals, and responding to reviews, this course was highly interactive with time dedicated throughout the day to addressing questions from the audience. The training focused on strategies that apply to any grant making organization, including NIH, private foundations, and non-US funding agencies. Faculty included experts in grantsmanship, as well as representatives of various funding organizations, who participated in audience Q&A as well as shared mistakes commonly made in grant applications,in order to reduce the potential for rejection. 

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2014 Education Courses    

Cell Therapy in Ocular Disease — Emerging Research and Therapy
Cell therapy in the eye is emerging from the research arena into clinical care. Cell therapies are in clinical development for both corneal and retinal conditions, and the development of cell therapies is an active field of research in ophthalmology. This course reviewed the current approaches to cell therapy in the eye, including both cornea and retina. 

New Insights in Understanding Diabetic Retinopathy
Diabetic retinopathy, a major microvascular complication, is responsible for 4.8% of the 37 million cases of blindness due to eye diseases throughout the world. In the face of such a global epidemic, are we equipped to fight this? What are the novel therapies? What are the future directions? We need a more comprehensive approach to fight this disease. We need more new researchers in this field. This course summarized the pathophysiology and novel molecular mechanisms of diabetic retinopathy, including the biochemical pathways, molecular mediators, epigenetics, metabolic memory, inflammation and correlates with the latest clinical trial results. 

Predicting, Measuring and Treating Changes in Corneal Biomechanics
Research activities in the field of corneal biomechanics have increased in the past years, due to a variety of factors. This course provided a concise and multidisciplinary overview about the current state of predicting, measuring and treating changes in corneal biomechanics.

Tissue Diagnosis in Ophthalmology: Biopsy and Beyond
No matter how sophisticated the imaging procedures are today, tissue diagnosis remains the gold standard in diagnosis, management and prognostic assessment of most diseases in various ophthalmic territories, including the orbit, peri-orbital skin and eyelids, conjunctiva, cornea and the globe (retina, uvea and rarely sclera). In today’s world of specialization, it would be beneficial for ophthalmologists, pathologists and radiologists to be exposed to the diverse perspectives of experts who are involved at different stages of tissue diagnosis. 

Metabolic Networks in the Aging Eye: Implications for Pathophysiology of Disease 
Aging of ocular tissues leads to physiological changes as well as disease. The complexity of the aging process, including metabolic re-programming, is poorly understood. Sirtuins and NAD metabolism are central to tissue function and play a dynamic role in cell survival, aging and disease. Although metabolic reprogramming by sirtuins and their role in the NAD world has been studied systemically, their role in regulating age-associated eye disease is now being appreciated. In this course, the complex regulation of cellular metabolism by NAD and sirtuins and their role in age-associated eye disease was analyzed. 

Telehealth Methods for Eye Disease: Focus on Diabetic Retinopathy, Glaucoma and Retinopathy of Prematurity
This course reviewed the rationale for telehealth solutions in eye care with an emphasis on unmet clinical challenges in ophthalmology: compliance with recommended diabetic retinopathy assessment and glaucoma screening, and the shrinking professional workforce available to provide retinopathy of prematurity screening. 

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