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Minisymposia

Adverse ocular outcomes from emerging therapies: Mechanisms, diagnoses and management (AP)
Organizers:
Mohamed Abdel-Rahman and Vivian Lee
Speakers: Thomas Albini, Stephen H. Tsang, Bahram Bodhaghi, Jasmine Francis and Ying Kai Chan

This symposium will bring together diverse experts to illustrate how emerging therapies produce untoward effects in the eye in expected and unexpected ways. It will highlight aspects of bench-to-bedside efforts in identifying mechanisms of toxicity and effective therapeutic interventions for managing complications of these therapies.

Epidemiology of diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration: Past, present and future — A tribute to Barbara and Ronald Klein (CL)
Organizers:
Ecosse Lamoureux and Leslie Hyman
Speakers: Barbara Klein, Lloyd Paul Aiello, Tien Wong, Caroline Klaver and Emily Chew

Over the past few decades, extraordinary progress has been made in understanding the epidemiology of diabetic retinopathy (DR) and age-related macular degeneration (AMD), with much of the groundwork laid by Professors Ronald and Barbara Klein. It is hard to think of another couple who have had a similar prolific and prodigious impact in Ophthalmology and vision research. Their combined work has yielded a rich array of extraordinarily important insights into the epidemiology of these two ocular pathologies. They established groundbreaking cohort studies, such as the Wisconsin Epidemiology Study of Diabetic Retinopathy (WESDR) and Beaver Dam Eye Study (BDES), and have been at the forefront of new advances in Ophthalmology and vision research, including imaging, genetics and disentangling gene-environment interactions. The world is facing an unprecedented age shift, and this “silver tsunami” has grave consequences for current and future approaches for clinical ophthalmic epidemiology for DR and AMD, notwithstanding the potential, but uncertain, roles of new retinal treatments, gene therapy, big data, and artificial intelligence. This mini-symposium brings together a platform of highly esteemed retinal epidemiologists and clinician-scientists who have trained or collaborated with the Kleins and will share how the couple’s body of work has shaped our understanding about these two ocular pathologies. They will discuss past achievements, current challenges, and future research in risk, diagnosis, treatment, and management of DR and AMD, while celebrating this unique opportunity to acknowledge our collective gratitude to Ronald and Barbara Klein for their extraordinary contribution to clinical ocular epidemiology and ophthalmic research.

Corneal epithelial homeostasis (CO)
Organizer: Shivalingappa Swamynathan
Speakers: Robert Lavker, Bogi Andersen, Nick Di Girolamo, Shivalingappa Swamynathan, Mary Ann Stepp, Shizuya Saika and Danielle Robertson

The corneal epithelium (CE) derived from the surface ectoderm cells during embryonic development is continually renewed throughout life. The most superficial cells lost by desquamation are replaced by the underlying cells derived from the basal cells which differentiate as they migrate upwards, and in turn, are replaced by the peripheral limbal stem cell-derived transient amplifying cells that migrate centripetally. Defective corneal epithelial development and/or homeostasis can have debilitating effects and potentially result in vision loss. The overall goal of this minisymposium is to elucidate the molecular mechanisms governing corneal epithelial development and homeostasis, and how they are altered during corneal wound healing, hyperglycemia, and neurotrophic keratopathy.

Making sense of ocular surface pain (CO)
Organizers: Anat Galor and Stephen Pflugfelder
Speakers: Anat Galor, Steven Pflugfelder, Pedram Hamrah, Randy Kardon, Juanita Gallar and Konstantinos D. Sarantopoulos 

Ocular surface pain is a common complaint that has been linked to dry eye disease but which often occurs independently from ocular surface pathology. Many clinicians lack the training and comfort to diagnose and manage pain. This minisymposium will highlight potential contributors to ocular surface pain, with a focus on its neurobiology, including both nociceptive and neuropathic mechanisms and considering both peripheral and central pathologies. The goal of the minisymposium is to highlight current knowledge and define research directions that will lead to improved diagnosis and management of ocular surface pain.

A new look at the optic nerve (EY)
Organizers:
Zia Chaudhuri and Joseph L Demer
Speakers: Dan Milea, Juan Manuel Chau de la Braca, Joseph L Demer, Michael B. Stenger, Jonathan G Crowston, and Alfredo A Sadun

The proposed symposium aims to provide an overview of novel concepts, research methods, and therapeutics of optic nerve disease, which is a major cause of irreversible blindness. Presentations include novel laboratory and animal studies, evaluation of imaging and deep learning biomarkers in clinical optic nerve disease, descriptions of a new syndrome affecting the optic nerve in microgravity that might be significant for interplanetary travel, repetitive strain during eye movements as a mechanical cause of optic neuropathy, and how functional vision and its restoration affect quality of life in optic neuropathy.

Genetics of strabismus (EY)
Organizers:
Zia Chaudhuri and Joseph L Demer
Speakers: Yutao Liu, Markus Preising, Joseph L. Demer, Mary C. Whitman, Zia Chaudhuri and Mervyn G. Thomas

There is an increasing emphasis on genetics as a cause, risk factor, or susceptibility modulator of most diseases, and this stimulated evolution as well as revolution in genomic medicine. Genetics has metamorphosed from a semi-epidemiological branch limited to pedigree analysis and genotype-phenotype correlations, into a highly sophisticated biotechnological science incorporating experimental, bioinformatics, computational and functional tools to validate hypotheses and to guide sight-saving therapeutics. Strabismus, or misalignment of eyes, demonstrates heredity, albeit non-Mendelian patterns. Genetic determinants of this common disorder have remained enigmatic.

Cellular biomechanics in the eye (GL)
Organizers:
M Francesca Cordeiro and Tatjana Jakobs
Speakers: Jeffery Holt, Darryl Overby, Vasanatha Rao, Kate Keller, Ian Sigal and Pedram Hamrah

This symposium will highlight recent advances in cellular and biophysical mechanisms involved in different aspects of biomechanics in the eye, with particular relevance to glaucoma. Increasingly it is recognized that biomechanics plays a major role at the cellular level in the lens, cornea, and glaucoma. Topics to be discussed include mechanosensitive channels including piezo, TMC and L-Calcium, immune cell trafficking, cell adhesive, and membrane scaffolding, fluid and outflow systems, adaptive tissue changes.

Emerging and re-emerging viruses: Pathobiology and ocular manifestations (IM)
Organizers:
Ashok Kumar and Steven Yeh
Speakers: Sujan Shresta, SR Rathinam, Ashok Kumar, Jessica Shantha and Steven Yeh

Emerging and re-emerging viruses have the potential to cause localized outbreaks and epidemics leading to high morbidity and mortality as recently evidenced with Ebola outbreak in West Africa and Zika virus outbreak in the Americas. Owing to their evolving nature, an in-depth understanding of the biology and infectious potential of these viruses is lacking. The ocular manifestations of these viruses are considered relatively uncommon in part due to under-reporting leading to a lack of awareness. With an emphasis on pathogenic emerging and re-emerging viruses and their ocular pathology, this symposium will provide an international platform to bring together researchers and clinicians working on ocular and non-ocular disease models interested in host-virus pathogenesis, immunology, vaccinology, epidemiology surveillance, diagnostics, and important advances in new technologies. The formation of worldwide links and sharing of information will warrant that we are better well-equipped for forthcoming epidemics and investigate the involvement of viral infection in ocular diseases.

Ocular manifestations of autoimmune disorders (IM)
Organizers:
Richard Lee and Shiva Swamynathan
Speakers: Stephen Pflugfelder, Cintia De Paiva, James Rosenbaum, Rachel Caspi, Stephen Foster and Charles Egwuagu

Common autoimmune disorders including Sjögren’s syndrome, ankylosing spondylitis, systemic lupus erythematosus, sarcoidosis, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and Graves’ disease have devastating systemic effects. In addition to their systemic effects elsewhere in the body, these autoimmune disorders have serious ocular manifestations which if left untreated can potentially result in vision loss. The overall goal of this minisymposium is to elucidate the ocular manifestations of autoimmune disorders and their mechanistic underpinnings, facilitating their early and accurate diagnosis and proper sight-saving therapeutic intervention.

Systems-level approaches to derive regulatory networks in eye development and disease (LE)
Organizers:
Salil Lachke and Ales Cvekl
Speakers: Peter Lwigale, Kristen Kwan, Seth Blackshaw, Salil Lachke, Ruth Ashery-Padan and Kevin Schey

While established approaches for studying eye biology and disease focus on one or a limited number of factors, new high-throughput methodologies are now making it possible to simultaneously evaluate whole biological processes and networks in the context of normal or disease conditions. This is largely due to advances in high-resolution imaging, genomics, epigenomics, transcriptomics, and proteomics approaches. This proposed minisymposium will highlight new and interesting applications of these approaches toward the study of the cornea, lens, and retina, informing on their development and disease in terms of global networks.

Rho Kinase Inhibitors, a new class of treatment for glaucoma and corneal disease (PH)
Organizers: Haiyan Gong and Mark Johnson
Speakers: Casey Kopczynski, Haiyan Gong, Arthur Sit, Dan Stamer, Jeffrey Goldberg and Shigeru Kinoshita 

As an excellent example of translational research, basic science studies led to the finding that cytoskeletal-active agents can significantly decrease aqueous humor outflow resistance. Clinical studies followed demonstrating that rho kinase inhibitors can lower IOP, which led to two new drugs: ripasudil in Japan and netarsudil in the United States have been approved for clinical use to treat glaucoma. This minisymposium aims to highlight the utility of rho kinase inhibitors for IOP lowering in glaucoma, plus discuss other interesting properties such as neuroprotection and regeneration as well as a new treatment for corneal endothelial diseases. Presentations will include basic science research for understanding the underlying mechanisms and clinical experience with this new drug class.

Yin and yang of inflammation in retinal degeneration (RC)
Organizers:
Brian Perkins and Neena Haider
Speakers: Diana Mitchell, Sean Wang, Wai T. Wong, Kip Conner, Jeff Mumm and Maria-Paz Villegas-Perez

Retinal degeneration and photoreceptor death activate the innate immune system. Activated microglia and macrophages release inflammatory cytokines that function in context-dependent manners. Modulation of microglial activity can play a neuroprotective role in mammalian systems, while microglia may facilitate retinal regeneration in zebrafish. This minisymposium will bring together a diverse group of leading scientists who will share their latest research on the role of immune cell signaling during retinal degeneration and regeneration in both mammalian and zebrafish models.

State of refraction: Etiology, comorbidities and treatments for the worldwide myopia epidemic (VI)
Organizers: Lisa Ostrin and Xiaoying Zhu
Speakers: Terri Young, Kathryn Rose, Machelle Pardue, Jost Jonas, Christine Wildsoet and Maria Liu

This symposium will allow participants to understand contributing factors to the worldwide epidemic of myopia, which is known to be a complex interaction between genetic and environmental influences. Associated pathologies and comorbidities will be presented. Current and potential treatment options, including pharmacological and optical modalities, will be discussed.

Focus on the fovea; What makes the fovea unique? (VN)
Organizers:
Erika Eggers and Steven H. DeVries
Speakers: Dennis Dacey, Constance Cepko, Raunuk Sinha, Joseph Carroll, Cynthia Toth and Christine Curcio

In primates, the fovea is the part of the retina that conveys the most important information that is necessary for daily life. Therefore, when considering sight-saving therapeutics in patients, conserving or restoring foveal vision is of eminent importance. The main questions to answer are: What makes the fovea unique and why is it vulnerable to disorders? This minisymposium will bring speakers who have studied the structure, physiology, and pathology of the fovea using different techniques. The minisymposium is of interest for basic and clinical researchers.

Vice Presidential Session

A brave new world of artificial intelligence (AI) and ophthalmology: Will you be replaced by robots? (RE)
Organizer:
Jennifer J. Kang-Mieler
Speakers: Aaron Lee, SriniVas Sadda, Michael Abramoff, Pearse Keane, Namma Hammel and Tien Y Wong

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is poised to revolutionize science and medicine. There is no question that AI is a tool with great potential for diagnosing and treating ocular diseases. AI can process vast quantities of information faster than humans but will it be better? Will you be replaced by robots? This mini-symposium will review the basics of AI, research projects already underway, potential benefits and pitfalls of AI in ophthalmology.