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Breakfast with the Experts

Ramesh and Brenda Tripathi Vision Research Fund

Tuesday, May 7
7 - 8:30am PT
Seattle Convention Center - Arch Building
Registration — $15

Breakfast with the Experts is your chance to meet with subject experts for in-depth conversations in a small group setting. Experts will host a table, give guidance and answer questions on a specific theme. Browse the table topics and choose the one you are most interested in.

Registration for Breakfast with the Experts will open Feb. 5. Sign up when you register for the Annual Meeting. If registered for the Annual Meeting already, you may add a table to your current registration.


Table A

(all seats filled)

 Tonia Rex, PhD           
Tonia Rex, PhD, FARVO
Marlene and Spencer Hays Director for Translational Vision Research;
Associate Vice Chair for Research
Vanderbilt Eye Institute
Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences
Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
(Nashville, Tenn.)
 
How to become a champion for academic/industry/government relationships to enhance innovation

Tonia Rex earned her PhD from the University of California, Santa Barbara, studying the molecular and cellular effects of retinal detachment. Her post-doctoral fellowship was at the University of Pennsylvania where she studied retinal gene therapy. Rex has received the Hope for Vision Young Investigator Award, the Glaucoma Research Foundation Shaffer Prize for Innovative Glaucoma Research and the Research to Prevent Blindness Career Development Award. She also led a recent NEI U24 Audacious Goals grant to optimize retinal ganglion cell replacement therapy in a human-relevant species. Her Department of Defense-funded clinical studies focus on diagnosing mild TBI, in particular the associated visual and auditory dysfunction. Rex's work has resulted in multiple patents and patent applications with the goal of clinical translation of treatments for complex neurodegenerations of the visual system.


 Table B

(all seats filled)

 Machelle T. Pardue, PhD, FARVO           
Machelle T. Pardue, PhD, FARVO
Professor and and Vice Chair of Research in Ophthalmology
Emory University
Senior Research Career Scientist
Atlanta VA Healthcare System
(Atlanta, Ga.)
 
Work-life balance/integration

Machelle Pardue's lab focuses on clinically relevant treatments for retinal disease that can make a difference in the quality of life of patients. She is developing novel screening and treatment strategies for early-stage diabetic retinopathy and elucidating the retinoscleral mechanisms of myopia. Pardue has been named a Gold Fellow of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (FARVO) and a Fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineers (FAIMBE).


Table C

(all seats filled)

 Darlene Miller, DHSc           
Darlene Miller, DHSc, MPH, CIC, FARVO
Research Professor
Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami
(Miami, Fla.)
 
Increasing awareness of diversity, equity and inclusion in ophthalmology

Darlene Miller, DHSc, grew up in the southern part of the United States — Virginia and then Florida — where she attended segregated elementary, middle and high schools. Her undergraduate, masters and doctorate degrees were obtained from universities with mixed student populations harboring diverse ethnicity, political orientation, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, tolerance and/or inclusiveness toward others. These experiences have shaped both her personal and professional life. Miller is currently a research professor in the departments of ophthalmology, microbiology and immunology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.


Table D

(all seats filled)

 Brian Samuels, MD, PhD            
Brian Samuels, MD, PhD
Chair, Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences
Heersink School of Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham
(Birmingham, Ala.)
 
Combining clinical practice, clinical research and basic science - can you do it all?

Brian Samuels obtained his MD and PhD at Indiana University. He went on to complete his ophthalmology residency and glaucoma fellowships at University of Alabama at Birmingham and Duke University, respectively. Samuels enjoys his career as a clinician-scientist, combining clinical care of glaucoma patients, glaucoma research and teaching. His research focuses on understanding how differences in IOP and ICP cause different eye diseases, such as glaucoma. Ultimately, Samuels hopes that his research will eventually lead to new treatments or cures for blinding diseases.


 Table E
Harriet Lloyd, MS           
Harriet Lloyd, MS
Director of Research Administration
Department of Ophthalmology, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Research Integrity Office, New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai
(New York, NY)
 
General principles on the ethical conduct of research and scholarship

Harriet Lloyd has been involved in research in the ophthalmic space for almost three decades at Weill-Cornell, Columbia, and Mount Sinai. To that end, she has been involved in various laboratory technical and administrative roles, and has managed numerous federal and foundation grants. She draws from a vast array of experiences within ophthalmology and research, including those that deal with sponsored projects, funding initiatives, clinical trials, animal studies, and bench work.


Table F

(all seats filled)

Fiona McDonnell, PhD           
Fiona McDonnell, PhD
Assistant Professor
John A. Moran Eye Center, University of Utah Health
(Salt Lake City, Utah)
 
Tips on starting your own laboratory

Fiona McDonnell's primary research area is the study of glaucoma, with a special focus on conventional outflow physiology. Her interest in glaucoma began with her doctoral work in her hometown of Dublin, Ireland and continued with her postdoctoral training at Duke University (Durham, NC). in 2022, McDonnell joined the John A. Moran Eye Center at the University of Utah as an assistant professor and principal investigator of the McDonnell Laboratory. The lab is currently researching the role that extracellular vesicles play in outflow physiology and IOP homeostasis.


 Table G

(all seats filled)

Daisy Shu, PhD            
Daisy Shu, PhD
Scientia Senior Lecturer
School of Optometry and Vision Science
University of New South Wales
(Sydney, Australia)
 
How to make yourself visible: Learning to self-promote and advocate

Prior to her current role, Daisy Shu was an instructor at Harvard Medical School. Her research explores the molecular mechanisms driving age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Shu is vice-president of the International Society for Eye Research (ISER) and serves on ARVO's Women in Eye and Vision Research (WEAVR) leadership committee. She is also a recipient of the ARVO Advocacy Award and is an alumni of the ARVO Science Communication Training Fellowship. Shu is a co-host of the podcast, Behind our Science.


 Table H

(all seats filled)

 Katie Bales, PhD           
Katie L. Bales, PhD
Research Investigator
Atlanta VA Medical Center
(Atlanta, Ga.)
 
How to survive as a young Investigator

Katie Bales was awarded a VA Career Development Award-2 (CDA-2) in 2022 and is also a co-investigator on a VA Merit Award. Her research program has both basic and clinical research studies, focusing on how retinal astrocytes and vasculature mediate exercise-induced retinal neuroprotection and the effects of aerobic exercise on halting age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in veterans, respectively


 Table I

(all seats filled)

 Christine Curcio, PhD               
Christine A. Curcio, PhD
White-McKee Endowed Professor of Ophthalmology
Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences
Heersink School of Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham
(Birmingham, Ala.)
 
How to succeed as a woman in vision research

Christine Curcio trained at Brown University (BS), University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of Rochester (PhD 1982, neurobiology and anatomy), Boston University and University of Washington (post-doctoral) before joining University of Alabama at Birmingham in 1990. Using laboratory and clinical approaches, she researches human retinal neuroscience, aging, and age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a prevalent cause of irreversible vision loss in older adults. Contributions in AMD anatomic and molecular pathobiology include drusen and characteristic extracellular deposits, outer retinal neurodegeneration and gliosis, transdifferentiation of retinal pigment epithelium, and microarchitecture of neovascularization and atrophy. Histologic studies support clinical retinal imaging (optical coherence tomography, fundus autofluorescence, adaptive optics-assisted scanning laser ophthalmoscopy) including the Classification of Atrophy Meeting, an international consensus group seeking OCT-based imaging endpoints for AMD clinical trials.

Curcio's peer-reviewed publications (~250) garnered 31,126 citations with an H-index of 87 (Google Scholar, October 2023). She serves on editorial boards of Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science and Retina. She also has served on the NEI Board of Scientific Counsellors, NIH study sections, and currently reviews for vision funding agencies in the U.S., Europe and the U.K. Curcio was awarded the 2002 (inaugural) Roger H. Johnson Prize for Macular Degeneration research, 2014 Ludwig von Sallmann Prize, 2020 Research to Prevent Blindness – David F. Weeks Award, and the 2022 Lawrence A. Yannuzzi Lectureship of the International Retinal Imaging Society. Curcio is also the 2022 Laureate of the Future Vision Foundation


 Table J

(all seats filled)

 Neeraj Agarwal, PhD

Ed Clayton            

Neeraj Agarwal, PhD

Program Director, Training and Workforce Development
National Eye Institute/NIH
(Bethesda, Md.)

 

 

Ed Clayton, PhD

Program Officer, Training and Workforce Development
National Eye Institute/NIH
(Bethesda, Md.)

Funding opportunities for young scientists

Neeraj Agarwal earned his PhD in biochemistry from The Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India. He had his postdoctoral trainings at the University of Southern California, Yale School of Medicine, and UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, TX. He was mentored by Dr. David Papermaster, MD, in the field of retinal degenerations and vision research. Following this, he established his own laboratory in the department of cell biology and anatomy at the University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth, Tex. His research focused on the mechanisms of visual cell loss using animals and cultured retinal cells as models for retinal degenerations and glaucoma. Currently, he is serving as the director of training, career development and diversity at the NEI/NIH Division of Extramural Science Program. His portfolio manages NRSA fellowships, the institutional research training programs, the mentored career development programs, BRAIN initiative training mechanisms, and the loan repayment programs.

Ed Clayton received his BS in psychology from UNC-Chapel Hill and his PhD in psychobiology from the University of Virginia. After a postdoc at the University of Pennsylvania, where he studied the role of the locus coeruleus in decision making, he joined the Center for Scientific Review as a scientific review officer in the Integrative, Functional, and Cognitive Neuroscience Integrated Review Group. In 2013, he was named senior director of Strategic Funding and Grants Administration at Autism Speaks. In 2015, Clayton joined the Princeton Neuroscience Institute as their director of Training and Professional Development. In 2023, he joined the NEI as a program officer in the Training Office and currently manages NEI’s institutional training grants and a portfolio of neuroscience-related training and career development awards.


 Table K

(all seats filled)

 Amani Fawzi, MD, FARVO           
Amani Fawzi, MD, FARVO
Cyrus Tang and Lee Jampol Endowed Professor
Northwestern University
(Chicago, Ill.)
 
How to build successful collaborations

Amani Fawzi, MD, is a vitreoretinal surgeon and clinician-scientist who divides her time between her surgical practice and her NIH-funded research. She has authored/coauthored over 200 peer-reviewed articles, has delivered several named lectureships, and serves as a standing member of the NIH study section. Recognized for her imaging research, Fawzi has received the Honor Award of the American Society of Retina Specialists, the Young Investigator Award of the Macula Society, the Secretariat, and Senior Achievement Awards of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. She is also a Gold Fellow of ARVO.


 Table L

(all seats filled)

 Andrew D. Pucker, OD, PhD           
Andrew D. Pucker, OD, PhD, FAAO, FSLS, FBCLA
Sr. Director of Clinical and Medical Sciences
Lexitas Pharma Services
(Durham, NC)
 
Transitioning from academia to industry

Andrew Pucker earned his OD, MS and PhD degrees from The Ohio State University. His independent research and clinical career has focused on dry eye disease, contact lenses and myopia development. He has authored about 50 peer-reviewed publications and about 150 editor reviewed columns. Pucker is a Fellow and Diplomate of the American Academy of Optometry, Fellow of the Scleral Lens Education Society and Fellow of the British Contact Lens Association.


 Table M

(all seats filled)

 Dimitri Azar, MD, MBA           
Dimitri Azar, MD, MBA
Distinguished Professor of Ophthalmology. Bioengineering and Pharmacology
B.A. Field Chair in Ophthalmologic Research
Dean Emeritus of the College of Medicine
University of Illinois College of Medicine
(Chicago, Ill.)
 
Thinking outside the box: Alternative careers for the clinican-scientist or researcher

Dimitri Azar is an internationally recognized ophthalmic surgeon and a leader in basic science and clinically related vision research. He has made significant contributions to the treatment of corneal diseases and to advances in refractive surgery through mathematical analyses and applications of advanced optics. His basic science research on matrix metalloproteinases in corneal wound healing and angiogenesis has been continually funded by the National Eye Institute R01 award since 1993. Azar has authored more than 400 scientific articles and book chapters. He is the editor of 14 books in ophthalmology and holds 15 patents. He has been named one of The Best Doctors in America or recognized among Castle Connolly’s Regional Top Doctors in America annually since 1994. Azar has received multiple leadership awards also, including the 2009 Lans Distinguished Award and the University of Illinois at Chicago Scholar Award.


 Table N

(all seats filled)

 Lisa Nivison-Smith, PhD           
Lisa Nivison-Smith, PhD
NHMRC Research Fellow and Scientia Senior Lecturer
University of New South Wales
(Sydney, Australia)
 
Effective science communication

Lisa Nivison-Smith leads a research group exploring early detection and prognosis of retinal disease using clinical imaging. An active ARVO member, she serves as chair of the Publications Committee, is an associate editor for TVST journal and has co-organised two ARVO webinars on effective writing and social media for academics. She is also extremely effective science communicator and has gained popularity on X (formerly Twitter) where she provides advice on how to use social media as a researcher as well as promotes academic health, well-being and work-life balance to over 16,000 followers (@LNivisonSmith).


 Table O

(all seats filled)

 David A. Mackey, MD           
David A. Mackey, MD
Professor of Ophthalmology
University of Western Australia
(Perth, Australia)
 
How to develop successful mentee/mentor relationships (helping your mentee progress in their careers)

Davie Mackey is vice president of the Asia Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology and a past president of the International Society for Genetic Eye Disease and Retinoblastoma. He served also as managing director of Lions Eye Institute. Mackey's major research interest is the genetics of eye disease. He is a lead member of the International Glaucoma Genetics Consortium and the Consortium for Refractive Error and Myopia.


 Table P

(all seats filled)

 Xin Duan, PhD           
Xin Duan, PhD
Associate Professor
Department of Ophthalmology, University of California San Francisco
(San Francisco, Calif.)
 
How and when to search for a postdoctoral fellowship

Xin Duan is a developmental neurobiologist studying the molecular determinants of neural circuit assembly. His research program focuses on the visual system, developing new tools to understand how the visual system is wired together for specific visual features. He has used innovative genetic, genomic engineering, and most recently developed circuit tracing tools (Trans-Seq) to classify and study different subtypes of retinal neurons, particularly retinal ganglion cells (RGCs). These tools offer precise genetic access to individual neuron subtypes and enable tracing circuit formation and examining their functions in specific circuits (Duan et al., 2014, Neuron; Duan et al., Neuron, 2018; Tsai et al., Nature Nsci, 2022). Using this same set of genetic tools in an optic nerve crush model, Duan showed for the first time that RGC degeneration and regeneration, induced through manipulation of the mTOR pathway, is restricted to particular RGC subtypes. His team recently extended the study to glaucomatous conditions in mice and humans, aiming at discovering innovative cures to reverse vision loss (Duan et al., Neuron, 2015; Tsai et al., Neuron, 2022; Varadarajan et al., Cell Reports, 2023; Zhao et al., Cell Reports, 2023).


 Table Q

(all seats filled)

 Cynthia A. Toth, MD, FARVO           
Cynthia A. Toth, MD, FARVO
Joseph A.C. Wadsworth Distinguished Professor of Ophthalmology
Duke University School of Medicine
Professor of Biomedical Engineering
Pratt School of Engineering
Duke University
(Durham, NC)
 
Running a successful clinical research group

Cynthia Toth specializes in the evaluation and surgical treatment of vitreoretinal diseases in infants, children, and adults and novel research resulting in the clinical application of optical coherence tomography (OCT) imaging in surgery and at the bedside. Her clinical interests and skills include the surgical treatment of macular diseases (such as a macular hole, epiretinal membrane, and vitreomacular traction), retinal detachment, proliferative diabetic retinopathy, proliferative vitreoretinopathy (PVR), and retinopathy of prematurity (ROP). Toth is a world expert in retinal imaging with OCT and pioneered the first use of a research hand-held spectral domain OCT system for infant examination and the first intraoperative OCT-guided ophthalmic surgical system. With colleagues in the Duke Eye Center and Biomedical Engineering, she perfected such techniques. Toth is also a professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the Pratt School of Engineering. Her primary research interests are in translational research and early-application clinical trials focusing on novel retinal imaging with spectral domain and swept-source optical coherence tomography (SD and SSOCT). She was awarded the 2021 Retina Research Foundation Pyron Award and has been repeatedly honored among the Best Doctors in America.


Table R

(all seats filled)

 Pratap Challa, MD           
Pratap Challa, MD
Professor of Ophthalmology
Duke University
(Durham, NC)
 
Applying to ophthalmology residency programs

As a physician-scientist investigator, Pratap Challa has a special research interest in the genetic basis of inherited eye diseases. He has active projects investigating the genetics of pseudo-exfoliation-associated glaucoma and the cellular basis for glaucoma development. He also studies ocular drug delivery and is involved in developing long-term delivery devices for glaucoma medications. Challa investigates novel compounds that may eventually be used for treating glaucoma as well. In addition to basic science research, he has clinical research interests, including evaluating the effectiveness of new glaucoma therapies. Challa has been the Residency Program Director at the Duke Eye Center since 2001. He is involved in all aspects of residency training, including developing and incorporating new teaching modalities and has research interests in trainee performance outcomes.


 Table S

(all seats filled)

 Russell N. Van Gelder, MD, PhD           
Russell N. Van Gelder, MD, PhD
Boyd K. Bucey Memorial Chair
Professor and Chair
Department of Ophthalmology
University of Washington School of Medicine
(Seattle, Wash.)
 
How to succeed as a clinician/scientist

Van Gelder earned his BS, MD, and PhD degrees from Stanford University. He completed his ophthalmology residency and uveitis and medical retina fellowship at Washington University in St. Louis. Following 10 years on faculty at Washington University, Van Gelder moved to University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle, where since 2008 he has served as the Boyd K. Bucey Memorial Chair, professor and chair of the Department of Ophthalmology. Van Gelder is an active clinician-scientist and has published over 200 papers and book chapters. His laboratory has made seminal advances in the fields of non-visual photoreception, vision restoration, and ocular inflammatory disease. Van Gelder is editor-in-chief of Ophthalmology. Nationally, he served as president of the American Academy of Ophthalmology as well as the Association of University Professors of Ophthalmology. He currently serves on the Council of Councils of the National Institutes of Health.


 Table T

(all seats filled)

            
Table host TBA
 
Patent tips: How to avoid common mistakes and pitfalls

Joseph A. Izatt is the Michael J. Fitzpatrick Distinguished Professor and chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Duke University. He holds secondary faculty appointments in the Departments of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Ophthalmology, and is program director for biophotonics at the Fitzpatrick Institute for Photonics. He obtained the BS, MS and PhD degrees from MIT in 1986, 1988 and 1991, respectively. Izatt's research interests include biomedical optics and spectroscopy, coherence-based and wavefront-optimized tomographic optical imaging, and novel instrumentation for intrasurgical visualization and manipulation. He has authored or co-authored over 250 peer-reviewed publications, given more than 420 contributed and 140 invited lectures and presentations, and holds 80 issued patents. He is a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE), The International Society for Optics and Photonics (SPIE), Optica (formerly The Optical Society (OSA)), and the National Academy of Inventors (NAI).


 Table U

(all seats filled)

 Linda K. McLoon, PhD           
Linda K. McLoon, PhD
Professor
Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Neurosciences
University of Minnesota
(Minneapolis, Minn.)
 
Finding the right publication match for your research

Linda McLoon received her PhD from the University of Illinois at the Medical Center and did her postdoctoral studies at University of Washington and the Medical University of South Carolina. Her most recent research focuses on extraocular muscle structure and function, concentrating on developing pharmacologic treatments for strabismus. She has a long history of successful mentorship. McLoon has over 115 peer-reviewed publications, as well as over a dozen chapters. She is the current section editor for the Orbit and Vitreous Sections in the new addition of the Encyclopedia of the Eye. In addition she has edited a book on Craniofacial Muscles.


 Table V

(all seats filled)

Vallabh Das, PhD           
Vallabh Das, PhD, FARVO
Moore’s Professor and Chair
Department of Vision  Science, College of Optometry
University of Houston
(Houston, Tex.)
 
The art and science of successful grant writing

Vallabh Das is an expert in oculomotor system neuroscience and in the study of strabismus in awake behaving non-human primates. Dr. Das has maintained NIH R01 funding since 2002 for research into binocular coordination of eye movements in strabismus. In addition to being department chair, he has had leadership and service experience as President of the UH Faculty Senate, as member of EY ARVO program committee and as member in many NIH study sections.


 Table W

(all seats filled)

Joseph Demer, MD, PhD           
Joseph Demer, MD, PhD, FARVO
Division Chief and Arthur L. Rosenbaum Professor of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus
Stein Eye Institute, Geffen Medical School
Professor of Neurology
University of California, Los Angeles
(Los Angeles, Calif.)
 
Juggling clinical responsibilities and scientific research in the early years

Joseph Demer is the founding chair of the the EyeSTAR residency-PhD program in ophthalmology. His work has been funded by NEI since 1985. In 2003, Dr. Demer received the Friedenwald Award from ARVO and a Recognition Award from Alcon Research Institute in 2004, for his work on the extraocular muscles and orbital connective tissues. Demer serves as the ARVO Board Trustee for Eye Movements, Strabismus, Amblyopia, and Neurooophthalmology.


 Table X

(all seats filled)

 Fatema Ghasia, MD            
Fatema Ghasia, MD
Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology
Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University
(Cleveland, Ohio)
 
Conflict management: How to smoothen the career path

Fatema Ghasia is a clinician-scientist and serves as director of Vision Neurosciences and Ocular Motility Lab at Cleveland Clinic. She has made outstanding contributions to eye movements and visual neuroscience by combining cutting-edge research and clinical ophthalmology, finding novel ways to quantify visual dysfunction and devising treatments in pediatric and neuro-ophthalmic eye diseases. Her research focuses on studying abnormal brain circuits that cause visual problems in neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative disorders. Ghasia has discovered a novel approach of quantifying eye movements as an objective marker of visual deficits seen in children and are devising artificial intelligence algorithms to expedite the diagnosis of amblyopia and strabismus in young children. Her research employs innovative ways to treat visuo-motor abnormalities in Parkinson’s disease, such as using a brain-machine interface to modulate oculomotor abnormalities in Parkinson’s disease. Ghasia has served on the ARVO Annual Meeting Program Committee and also serves on AAPOS Vision screening and Adult Strabismus committees. Her extramurally supported research was honored with the American Association of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus Young investigator award.


 Table Y
 Irene Gottlob, MD            
Irene Gottlob, MD, Univ Doz, FRCOphth
Professor of Neurology
Cooper Medical School of Rowan University
(Camden, NJ)
 
Breaking international barriers for successful career progression

Irene Gottlob graduated from the University of Vienna, Austria, where she completed her training in ophthalmology. After three years of research at the University of Vienna and at the Max-Planck Institute Germany she undertook three fellowships at Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia, Pa. Prior to joining Cooper University Health Care, she was professor and chair in ophthalmology at the University of Leicester, U.K. and head of the Department of Strabismus and Neuro-Ophthalmology in St. Gall, Switzerland. Gottlob has published more than 230 articles and book chapters and is an enthusiastic teacher of clinical and research students and trainees.