International chapter affiliates engage members, support young scientists

Originally published in the Fall 2014 issue of  ARVONews   


AIVO, the Argentine ARVO chapter, has been busy during the past year, and it plans to do even more in the next several months. Last August, AIVO held the Ocular Translational Research: From the Lab to the Patient in Rio de Janeiro — the first joint meeting with BRAVO, the Brazilian chapter. The meeting covered several aspects of clinical and basic research and included the participation of Sally A. Atherton, PhD, FARVO on behalf of ARVO.

AIVO young fellows attended the ARVO Annual Meeting, with the generous help of ARVO and the AIVO travel grants. In November, AIVO held its Regional Meeting in Cordoba, for young fellows to present and discuss their latest data. Members of AIVO also shared their latest research findings in two important national venues for clinical ophthalmology: the Consejo Argentino de Oftalmología Convention (Jornadas CAO) and the meeting of the Argentine Ophthalmological Society (SAO). The CAO and SAO meetings included minisymposia dedicated to research, organized by CAO’s Juan E. Gallo, MD, PhD, of the CAO and SAO’s Cecilia Sánchez, MD.

Members of AIVO are now preparing for the 2014 AIVO Meeting, which will be held in Buenos Aires in November. The association is expecting a large number of abstracts at the meeting, which will include lectures by Robert E. Anderson, MD, of Dean McGee Eye Institute, Okla., and BRAVO President Dania E. Hamasaki, PhD. See



ARVO-Egypt started on Jan. 14, 2013, with 10 founding members, representing an ophthalmic research interest group.

Since then, despite the massive challenges represented in the political and financial instabilities in Egypt, the team was able to expand the member structure to over 120 new members in one year, as well as expand representation in numerous academic, research and clinical ophthalmology bodies in Egypt. The first ARVO-Egypt meeting was held in January 2014, with the goal and setting of peer education and training — seen as an essential part of the research experience exchange by its members.

One of the great challenges facing the group is registering ARVO-Egypt as a national research body with the Egyptian Ministry of Insurance and Social Affairs. With this registration, ARVO-Egypt will have a more prominent role in decision-making of the ophthalmic research agenda in Egypt in creating options for funding, training and development.

A new headquarters is scheduled to be fully functional by the beginning of the fourth quarter of 2014. Electronic channels of communication for ARVO-Egypt have extensively grown in the past year, with a professionally designed website at In addition, the group started a Facebook page for better communication with young potential members and researchers.

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As one of the first to be founded as an ARVO Chapter Affiliate, HARVO has been active since 2007. Its activities have dual functions: supporting young Hungarian researchers with travel grants and updating Hungarian ophthalmologists by organizing a symposium every year.

Since 2007, 28 young scientists have applied successfully for financial support to participate in the ARVO Annual Meeting. This year, five Hungarian researchers attended ARVO 2014 in Orlando, Fla. with HARVO travel grant funding. For all of the young scientists, the Meeting was a milestone in their scientific careers. This year, the seventh HARVO Symposium was held, which took place during the annual meeting of the Hungarian Ophthalmological Society in Pécs on June 27, 2014. During the 90-minute meeting, invited speaker Jost B. Jonas, MD, FARVO, of Mannheim-Heidelberg University, gave a lecture on the epidemiology of diabetes mellitus. In addition, three of the four 2013 HARVO travel grantees reported on their research presented at previous ARVO Annual Meetings. The symposium was popular among Hungarian ophthalmologists with almost 100 participants. 

At the symposium, members were elected to the Steering Committee. The president, János Németh MD, DSc, and the secretary, Miklós Resch MD, PhD, were re-elected to serve three more years in their posts. HARVO is updating its website regularly.

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In 2014, IT-ARVO organized two events: the IT-ARVO Annual Meeting; and the European Frontiers in Ocular Pharmacology (EFOP) course. The IT-ARVO Annual Meeting was held in Catania, Feb. 3 – 4, and the plenary lecture, “Neuroprotection in glaucoma,” was delivered by Francesca Cordeiro, MD, PhD, of University College London, U.K.

Meeting topics included retina, glaucoma, ocular pain, regulatory issues and basic research.

EFOP was held at the School of Medicine of Catania University. EFOP is a CME course with a lecture delivered
monthly by outstanding European scientists. This year IT-ARVO hosted, among others, Carlo Nucci, PhD, of the University of Rome Tor Vergata; Sandro De Falco, PhD, of Institute of Genetics and Biophysics; and Erich Knop, PhD, of the University School of Medicine, Berlin, Germany.

Both the IT-ARVO Annual Meeting and EFOP were well received by PhD students, postdocs, residents in pharmacology and ophthalmology and ophthalmologists.

These events were promoted by IT-ARVO President Filippo Drago, MD, PhD, and Vice-President Teresio Avitabile, MD, professors at the University of Catania.

The scientific organization was led by IT-ARVO Treasurer/Secretary Claudio Bucolo, PhD, and Caterina Gagliano, MD, PhD, of the University of Catania.

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After the joint translational research symposia during the Pan-American Council of Ophthalmology Congress last year in Rio de Janeiro, the BRAVO and AIVO organized their first social activity during ARVO 2014 (BRAVO-AIVO Social: Deli & Networking). It offered a great opportunity to increase networking and talk informally about research in a relaxed atmosphere.

In August and September, BRAVO sponsored two events. The first is the 11th BRAVO Annual Meeting, as part of the 29th Annual Meeting of the Federation of Brazilian Societies of Experimental Biology in Caxambu, Minas Gerais, Brazil, Aug. 27 – 30. The BRAVO Annual Meeting included sessions, symposia and conferences about topics related to acquired visual loss, gene therapy, cell biology and color vision. Additionally, the selection of the 2014 BRAVO-Allergan Award presented to Brazilian young scientists took place during this meeting. The first authors of the two best papers will receive a travel grant for the ARVO 2015 Annual Meeting.

The second event was part of the XXI Brazilian Congress of Blindness Prevention and Visual Rehabilitation
in Recife, held Sept. 4. The symposium included lectures about research in vision and ophthalmology developed in Brazilian research laboratories and different ophthalmology departments.

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The 21st Annual Meeting of the ARVO-India was held at the L.V. Prasad Eye Institute, Hyderabad, India, July 26 – 27. More than 200 delegates representing 12 different institutions in the country explored eye research, which provided a common platform for interaction between young researchers, scientists and clinicians. 


The meeting included scientific deliberations through seven keynotes, 41 free papers and 63 poster sessions. The major focus areas were on basic sciences (omics, cellular and molecular biology), clinical sciences and optometry, community eye health and vision rehabilitation. Additionally, there were two lectures: the Bireswar Chakrabarti Oration delivered by Jayanti Pande, PhD, of the University at Albany, SUNY on “Appreciation of the Three C’s: Chakrabarti, Crystallins, and Cataract” and the D. Balasubramanian Oration by Calvin C.P. Pang, DPhil, of the Chinese University of Hong Kong on the “Molecular Genomics of Eye Diseases.”

During the meeting, ARVO-India announced the launch of the Asian Eye Genetic Consortium under the auspices of the National Eye Institute of the National Institutes of Health.

Travel awards were presented to eight young researchers to attend this meeting. Additionally, eight participants were awarded with Certificates of Merit in the category of basic and clinical sciences.

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CARVO participated in the first open meeting for the Colombian ophthalmic community, held at the National Congress of Ophthalmology in Medellin, Colombia. Special guest José Domingo Moon spoke about AIVO’s launch and its growth over the past seven years — with the support of ARVO. Members of CARVO shared their philosophy of research in ophthalmology and the importance of basic research groups combining with clinical researchers over the course of investigations.

The meeting attracted a large number of participants, and representatives from various ophthalmology research centers throughout the country gave presentations about their centers. They talked about their experience, current research capabilities and the future vision of research in ophthalmology in Colombia.


Representatives included:

  • Claudia Acosta of INIO, Medellín
  • Santiago Arango of Clinica Oftalmologica San Diego, Medellín
  • Ximena Nunez of Vison Sana, Cali
  • Virgilio Galvis of Foscal, Bucaramanga
  • Roberto Baquero of Sociedad de Cirugia Ocular, Bogotá

Attendees from CARVO and the Colombian Society of Ophthalmology exchanged views during the open meeting, including the importance of stimulating residents to develop research, the role of the pharmaceutical industry and the importance of an organization like CARVO to help define a reliable research process and share the country’s research with the world.

As a partner with the Colombian Society of Ophthalmology, one of CARVO’s functions will be to lead a board, with members chosen by the general assembly of CARVO. Those board members will be responsible for complying with the goals set by ARVO for international chapter affiliates.

CARVO’s leadership outlines its purpose as helping to build and be part of a global community of voluntary associations of doctors and researchers who are dedicated to advancing the field of ophthalmic and vision research in Colombia.

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