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Cross-sectional Group Sessions

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

Sunday, May 2

Functional analysis of non-coding genetic defects underlying inherited ophthalmic disease (GEN)
Organizers: Susanne Roosing, Alice Davidson and Sudha Iyengar
Speakers: Ayellet Segrè, Elfride de Beare, Jayshree Advani, Alison Hardcastle and Phillip Mourrain

Recent genetic technologies such as exome and genome sequencing have led to significant advancement in understanding the genetic etiology of a variety of ocular disorders. Still, a large portion of cases remains currently unresolved due to a lack of knowledge of the non-coding regions of the genome or inability to recognize pathogenic variants as such, and structural variants require a different suite of technologies for reliable detection. To date, functional annotation of non-coding variants altering chromosomal structure and/or gene regulation have proven critical to validating such findings, uncovering novel pathogenic signaling pathways and to identifying potential therapeutic targets for affected patients. This cross- sessional Genetics group proposal aims to bring together leading experts investigating a broad range of inherited eye disorders to present their novel and recent functional genomic discoveries. These will be derived from genomics data with human ocular tissue, primary or immortalized cells, computational biology and relevant animal models.

Monday, May 3

Technologies for visual enhancement in 2021 and beyond (LV)
Organizers: Walter Wittich, Alex Black and Ruth van Nispen
Speakers: Eli Peli, Ava Bittner, Chris McCarthy, Marie-Celine Lorenzini, and Ashley Deemer

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 5

In vivo theranostic platforms for monitoring and activation of ocular therapies (MOI)
Organizers: Kevin Chan, Marinko Sarunic and Roxana Ursea
Speakers: Robert J. Zawadzki, Artur V. Cideciyan, Jennifer J. Kang-Mieler, Karl G. Csaky, Ursula Schmidt-Erfurth and M. Valeria Canto-Soler

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 to human patients. These successes highlight growing need for noninvasive 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 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.