Education Courses

Saturday, May 2, 2020
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Education Courses

Separate registration is required for all Education Courses. Preliminary information about each course is listed below. More details will be posted by early November. 

Full-day courses 

AI Vision 2020

8am – 4:30pm

Organizers: Michael David Abramoff, MD, PhD, FARVO, Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences, University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics, CEO, IDx and Daniel SW Ting, MD, PhD, Singapore National Eye Centre

Now that AI is being implemented clinically around the world, practicing clinicians need to know how to evaluate, interpret and compare the scientific evidence on safety, efficacy and equity of clinical AI. Young researchers need to know how to get started with simple AI toolboxes to use in their own research (using both image-based and nonimage-based data) and seasoned researchers and clinician-scientists need to know about the latest innovations in AI and potential future applications. All need to understand and work within the ethical, legal, regularity and reimbursement framework for clinical AI.

Clinicians will leave this course with information and strategies to help them know whether to adopt the technology. This includes how to evaluate AI studies, and describe policy, regulation and payment issues. Young researchers will learn about the basics of using AI for science, the tools required and challenges that must be overcome. All will leave the course knowing about the latest research and new opportunities for collaboration.

After attending this course, the participant will be able to:

  • Define AI and related methodologies
  • Describe the underlying principles of AI
  • State examples of AI application in research and medical technology
  • Summarize challenges associated with AI
  • Discuss the potential future of AI

View the agenda


Diabetic retinopathy: Moving the field forward

8am – 4:30pm

Organizers: Renu A Kowluru, PhD, FARVO, Wayne State University, Kresge Eye Institute and Arup Das, MD, PhD, University of New Mexico School of Medicine, NM VA Health Care System

Despite tremendous progress in developments of treatment, the management of diabetic macular edema and proliferative diabetic retinopathy remains challenging. The current anti-VEGF therapies are not optimal as many patients respond poorly with this treatment. Clinician-scientists must be up to date regarding the management of these patients with newer pharmacotherapy protocols based on results of recently finished, multi-center clinical trials and the use of new diagnostic tools.

In this course, clinicians and basic scientists in the field will address various aspects of diabetic retinopathy including how to set up a clinical trial, genetic associations and novel single-cell technology and imaging techniques. The course will provide an outstanding platform for the vision community for a balanced discussion of the experimental and clinical aspects of diabetic retinopathy.

After attending this course, the participant will be able to:

  • State the clinical aspects, epidemiology, systemic factors and genetics of diabetic retinopathy (DR)
  • Describe new experimental models, molecular mechanisms and the role of various retinal cell types
  • Describe the role of Inflammation, mitochondria damage and microRNAs in DR
  • Discuss diagnostic studies, novel biomarkers in DR, and the role of artificial intelligence within new diagnostic tools
  • Summarize major ongoing clinical trials in DR
  • List novel therapies including pharmacotherapies and new drugs in the pipeline

View the agenda


Genome surgery and base editing: From biology to therapy

8:30am – 4:30pm

Organizer: Stephen H. Tsang, MD, PhD, Columbia University

In the current era of personalized medicine, a large number of genetic variants in patients with various diseases have been identified 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 serves to present an overview of gene-editing strategies from the leading experts who have pioneered it in other disciplines, followed by examples in eye and vision science and practical applications. Information that will be covered in this course includes variants of CRISPR and Cas proteins, guide RNA (gRNA) selection and synthesis, gene editing, RNA editing, delivery to a cell, and off-target analysis.

Bring your laptop for the interactive afternoon workshop.

After attending this course, the participant will be able to:

  • Discuss the latest advances in genome engineering and its translational applications to various diseases
  • Correlate technologies discussed here with future advances in patient‐specific medicine and stem cell research
  • Recognize the steps needed to successfully utilize the various genome editing systems
  • Compare and contrast the benefits and uses of different gene-editing strategies
  • Explain the rationale for using CRISPR over other gene-editing techniques such as TALENs
  • Identify the best practices for selecting gRNAs that are both highly active and specific

View the agenda


Ocular drug delivery: Fundamentals, challenges, and technologies

8am – 4:30pm

Organizers: Ash Jayagopal, PhD, Kodiak Sciences Inc. and Uday Kompella, PhD, University of Colorado, Anschutz Medical Campus 

How are therapeutics delivered for eye diseases? What are the fundamental principles that one must understand to successfully design ophthalmic drugs for ocular diseases? What ocular and other tissue anatomical barriers are relevant to drug targeting and delivery? What key drug delivery technologies are available for anterior and posterior segment now and in the future? What regulatory considerations must be made when evaluating drug delivery devices and formulations for approval? How can modeling and simulation strategies approximate drug distribution and clearance, to enable improved drug design, predict preclinical or clinical outcomes, and reduce reliance on animal models?

This course provides answers to these questions and will instruct attendees on how to apply key concepts in drug delivery toward their own research.

After attending this course, the participant will be able to:

  • Identify significant ocular tissue barriers for drug delivery and clearance in the eye
  • Develop competency in comparing ocular drug delivery systems and formulations to propose optimal strategies for delivery of small molecules and macromolecules including oligonucleotides, gene therapies, and protein drugs
  • Describe the regulatory process for approval of drug delivery devices and formulations
  • Identify and apply state-of-the-art platform technologies for ocular drug delivery in anterior and posterior segment diseases, including those based on polymer, lipid, implant, and nanoparticulate technologies

View the agenda


Half-day courses

Evidence-based approach to the myopia epidemic: Basis, implications and unmet needs

8am – 12pm

Organizers: Mark A. Bullimore, MCOptom, PhD, University of Houston, College of Optometry and Noel A. Brennan, MOptom, PhD, Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc.

The course will tackle areas of under-researched importance in the field of myopia. The recently published International Myopia Institute (IMI) workshop did not address the epidemiology of the condition nor the complications arising from high myopia. Further, the landscape surrounding treatment options, their implementation and success is rapidly changing and since the gap in time between the first drafts of the IMI report and the course will be some two years, there is scope for significant change in thinking. In particular, the question of one can expect in terms of efficacy and how to interpret published data has not been a focus of attention and this course will attend to this topic. The course will also discuss unmet needs including solving the mechanisms of onset, refractive progression and disease development and capacity to predict those at risk, appropriate equipment, metrics for monitoring, instrumentation and hardware needs, software opportunities, delivery of care, education and advocacy.

After attending this course, the participant will be able to:

  • Compare regional projections for prevalence of myopia, high myopia and associated disease
  • Appraise the extent of the human and economic threat posed by myopia
  • Assess the basis of the myopia epidemic in terms of genetic and environmental risk factors
  • Evaluate options for delaying onset and slowing progression of myopia
  • Expectations with regard to treatment efficacy
  • Recognize pitfalls in interpreting the general myopia rhetoric

View the agenda


The nuts and bolts of data analysis for vision research

8am – 12pm

Organizers: Alison Abraham, PhD, MS, MHS, Wilmer Eye Institute, Johns Hopkins University and Maureen Maguire, PhD, University of Pennsylvania 

Have you ever wondered what to do with both eyes in your dataset?  Or how to obtain an average visual acuity or refractive error?  Data from vision research can stymie researchers trying to make the most out of the hard work of collecting it. This course will teach simple and accessible tools for understanding and appropriately analyzing data with a focus on data exploration, two sample comparisons and data presentation. We will discuss ways to include both eyes in studies/experiments and in analysis and show the harm when the correlation is not accommodated appropriately.  We will examine data from vision function tests to understand the statistical problems that arise and work through practical examples of how to handle the non-normally distributed or bounded data that are common in vision research.  The course will provide an introduction to analytic tools and give researchers information on when more advanced methods are needed.  Lastly, we will show how data visualization methods and techniques can be leveraged to make research presentations more accessible and impactful. Following the course, attendees will understand the challenges and appropriate handling of vision research data, choose appropriate statistical tools to make the most of the information, and be able to present the data and results in a meaningful and accessible way.

After attending this Education Course, the participant will be able to:

  • Discuss the measurements most often used in vision research and how to analyze them appropriately
  • Explain the problems that arise with improper handling of ocular data
  • Perform simple statistical analysis for the various type of correlated ocular data including continuous data (normal or skewed distributed), binary data or ordinal data
  • Use graphical and statistical tools to understand vision data and chose the best vision metric for your question 
  • Use data visualization best practices to improve the impact and accessibility of data reports and presentations

View the agenda


Night vision in aging, AMD, and beyond: Basic and clinical aspects

1 – 5pm

Organizers: Christine A. Curcio PhD, FARVO, University of Alabama at Birmingham and Cynthia Owsley PhD, MPH, FARVO, University of Alabama at Birmingham

Data accrued over the last 25 years indicate that an important characteristic of vision in aging and AMD is that rod photoreceptors are affected earlier and more severely than are cones. These findings have been comprehensively contextualized as related to changes in the choriocapillaris – Bruch’s membrane – RPE complex that are precursors to characteristic AMD pathology. The overall concept of “night vision testing in AMD” was solidified in 2016 with the results of a well-powered prospective study (Alabama Age-related Maculopathy Study, ALSTAR) (PMID 26522707). Further, in this large cohort of older adults, the ARMS2 AMD susceptibility locus was associated with delayed dark adaptation, even in persons with healthy maculas, just this year (PMID 30389424). Clinicians could be taking advantage of new technology in testing rod function as an early indicator of macular disease and new knowledge on the outer neurovascular unit in their interpretation of clinical imaging. In particular, the presence and distribution of rods and the comparative vision of rods and cones can be used to good effect to dissect mechanisms. Scientists could be directing effort into developing responsive tests of visual function for application to human studies and for addressing clinically relevant aspects of visual function beyond acuity and light sensitivity. All could be using visual functional tests as a readout assay for aging and pathology in the choriocapillaris – Bruch’s membrane – RPE complex. In turn, better knowledge of visual function and explanatory hypotheses that are well-supported in human biology can inform development of rapid and non-invasive tests based on imaging. Finally, this vertically oriented physiologic unit is the front end of the entire visual system, and thus understanding how to probe it functionally can inform the study of many retinal diseases, including diabetic retinopathy.

We expect that the information to be covered is still very new and distributed among different scientific communities not yet aware of their significant synergy and overlap (i.e., visual function testing, retinal cell biology, clinical studies including multimodal imaging). It has really come together only in the last 3 years, due to the outcome of a large prospective study and approval of new devices that expand the range of functional testing of rod vision. We wish to inform investigators using model systems (non-foveate animals, cell culture) interested in accurate human visual neuroscience and up-to-date understanding of visual function and retinal structure in aging and AMD.

After attending this Education Course, the participant will be able to:

  • List the layers of AMD pathology impacting macular photoreceptor function
  • Compare technologies available for testing rod-mediated visual function
  • Explain the major differences between the two retinoid cycles
  • Formulate experimental strategies to assess rod and cone function in an older patient
  • Propose ways to update standardized tests and assessments to include rod-mediated function
  • Critically assess the literature on visual function testing in AMD

View the agenda


Patient data: Recognition, evaluation, incorporation and practice

1 – 5pm

Organizers: Avril Daly, CEO, Retina International and Orla Galvin, PhD, Director of Stakeholder Engagement, Retina International

Without real world evidence providing the true value of the impact of disease on patients and of the benefits therapy can provide to patients; access to diagnosis, interventions and clinical trials will remain a challenge for most across disease areas.   This course will cover why and how patient data can be utilized to access diagnosis and provide a better understanding of complex and rare conditions.  This course will cover why and how collaboratively all stakeholders in the patient journey can aid in the collection of patient data to be included in centralised registers.  This course will cover how all of the above will enable the development of multi-centre Clinical Trials for small populations. This course will cover how to incorporate patient engagement in research from bench to bedside.

After attending this Education Course, the participant will be able to:

  • Recognize, describe and discuss what patient data is
  • Evaluate and interpret patient data
  • Illustrate the importance of Patient Reported Outcome Measures
  • Incorporate and practice patient engagement in their research

View the agenda