Cross-sectional Group Sessions

If your interests are not easily defined by just one section, consider these Cross-sectional platform sessions.

Sunday, May 3

Functional Genomics and In vitro/in vivo Genetic Annotation in the Post-GWAS Era - (GEN)
Organizers: Yutao Liu, Susanne Roosing, and Alice Davidson
Speakers: Tin Aung, Ursula Schlötzer-Schrehardt, Rinki Ratnapriya, Chris Hammond, and Anneke den Hollander

Recent genetic technologies such as genome-wide association studies (GWAS) and exome/genome sequencing have led to significant advancement in understanding the genetic etiology of a variety of ocular disorders. These high-throughput studies especially GWAS have identified a large number of disease-associated genetic variants across the genome, most of which are located in the non-coding region for potential regulatory
function. Functional annotation of these GWAS/genome hits is critical to uncover novel signaling pathways in disease pathology and to identify potential therapeutic targets for suffering patients. This cross-sessional group proposal in Genetics is to invite the leading experts with significant functional discoveries from different eye disorders together and to present their recent genomic/functional findings on GWAS/genome hits. These could be derived from genomics data with human ocular tissue, primary or immortalized cells, computational biology or bioinformatics, and relevant animal models.

Monday, May 4

Technologies for visual enhancement in 2020 and beyond - (LV)
Organizers: Nicole Ross, Walter Wittich
Speakers: Eli Peli, Ava Bittner, Chris McCarthy, Micheal Crossland, and Ashley Deeme 

This session will provide an overview of technological advancements in approaches and devices to improve the quality of life for patients with visual impairments. Speakers will cover topics in robotics, virtual reality, image enhancement via head-mounted display technology as well as computer vision algorithms used in implantable technologies.

Wednesday, May 6

In vivo theranostic platforms for monitoring and activation of ocular therapies - (MOI)
Organizers: Stacey S. Choi, Marinko Sarunic
Speakers: Glenn Yiu, Valerie Wallace, William Hauswirth, Muna Naash, Robert Zawadzki, Manzar Ashtari, and Jean Bennett

Novel therapies have been explored by various groups of scientists and clinicians ranging from stem cell therapies to gene transfer to different classes of cells in the retina as a way to introduce treatments to specific cells that are responsible for causing debilitating eye diseases leading to blindness. Typically, these studies are conducted on animals first and then translated to humans. Great progress has been made over the years, and some of these novel therapies are now being applied in human patients. These successes highlight growing need for non-invasive functional retinal imaging methods that would allow objective validation of disease progression or its reversal during and after treatment.  Additionally, the same imaging instruments could be used to locally activate therapeutic agents designed with the help of nanotechnology. This combination of specific targeted therapy with specific targeted diagnostic tests is covered by a new field of medicine, namely “Theranostics”. This session will bring together both animal and human studies that show promising therapeutic effects of these novel therapies and explore optical tools allowing its monitoring and activation.