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Minisymposia

Unresolved Issues in Myopia - AP
Contributing sections: BI, CL, PH, RE, VI, and VN
Organizers: Alexandra Benavente, Regan Ashby, and Xiaoying Zhu
Speakers: Frank Schaeffel, Earl L. Smith, David Troilo, Ian Flitcroft, William Stell, and Christine Wildsoet 

Half of the world population will be myopic by 2050, one-fifth of which will have a significantly increased risk of myopia-associated blindness. Despite the confluence of experimental and clinical research offering exciting new treatment possibilities, unresolved questions remain. This symposium aims to address unresolved issues in myopia by combining the expert opinion of both basic and clinical international myopia researchers in current hot myopia topics.

Frontiers in membrane dynamics and cellular communication: impact on vision and disease mechanisms – BI
Contributing sections: AP, GEN, GL, IM, PH, RE, RC, and VN
Organizers: Astra Dinculescu, Luminita I. Paraoan, and Elfride De Baere
Speakers: Vadim Y. Arshavsky, Yoshikazu Imanishi, Kapil Bharti, Kirill A. Martemyanov, Luminita I. Paraoan, and Abbot F. Clark

The plasma membrane is a dynamic structure that plays essential roles in maintaining cellular architecture and homeostasis. This Minisymposium will cover recent advances in plasma membrane biology by focusing on specific structural elements and interactions that enable cellular communication. Through specific structures and molecular components, such as the cilium, the synapse, transmembrane receptors, adhesion proteins, and points of contact between the plasma membrane and intracellular organelles, the plasma membrane integrates extra- and intracellular signals within complex functional pathways. This information will be put in the context of diverse ocular disorders, ranging from retinal degenerations and congenital night blindness to glaucoma and uveal melanoma. Understanding the fundamental processes that contribute to cellular communication pathways and context-related signaling provides a solid basis for uncovering therapeutic interventions for a wide range of ocular diseases.

Aging with Vision Loss: Understanding the aging consequences of visual impairment – CL
Contributing sections: LV
Organizer: Bonnielin Swenor
Speakers: Heather Whitson, David Lee, Ellen Freeman, Ecosse Lamoureux, and Alan Morse 

A Visual impairment largely affects older adults, and as the global population ages, the prevalence of visual impairment is expected to rise dramatically. Research has documented that the impact of visual impairment goes beyond vision, as older adults with visual impairment have worse physical and cognitive functioning and are a greater risk of negative health outcomes such as disability and mortality. This session is focused on considering the impact visual impairment within the complexities of aging and will outline gaps in our understanding of the long-term health consequences of visual impairment older adults.

Lacrimal gland biology in homeostasis, disease, and repair – CO
Organizers: Cintia de Paiva, and Driss Zoukhri
Speakers: Darlene Dartt, Kazuo Tsubota, Austin Mircheff, Sara Hamm-Alvarez, Masatoshi Hirayama, and Helen Makarenlova

This symposium will include discussion about normal processes and also disease processes of lacrimal gland biology. The planned talks span novel findings regarding lacrimal gland tear secretion, mechanistic biological studies in animal models of Sjogren Syndrome, and the use of tear biomarkers as diagnostic tools. It also brings forth the state-of-the-art knowledge about lacrimal gland reconstruction and identification of lacrimal gland specific stem cells.

Emerging gene-driven therapies for anterior segment disease – CO
Contributing section: BI, and GL
Organizers: Audrey Bernstein, and Rajiv Mohan
Speakers: Alex Ljubimov, Abe Clark, Audrey Bernstein, Rajiv Mohan, and Tara Moore  

This mini-symposium is focused on anterior segment pathology including corneal disease and the trabecular meshwork in glaucomatous eyes. The planned talks will discuss novel targets, cell biological mechanistic studies, implications for potential therapies including pre-clinical and clinical studies.

Mechanisms and Biomechanics of Traumatic Retinal Hemorrhage in Children – EY
Contributing sections: RE
Organizers: Donny Suh, Brittany Coats, and Gil Binenbaum
Speakers: Donny Suh, Cindy Christian, Gil Binenbaum, Alex Levin, and Brittany Coats 

Retinal hemorrhage is an important sign of abusive head trauma in infants, but much is unknown about the underlying biomechanical mechanisms and forces. Such knowledge is critical to accurately diagnosing child abuse. This mini-symposium will begin with a review of the clinical context and multidisciplinary biomechanical research approaches, then define fundamental questions in the field, review some of the work already done, identify key gaps in our understanding, and work in collaboration with the audience to map research priorities going forward.

Healthcare transformation with AI: impact in glaucoma and ophthalmology – GL
Contributing sections: BI, CL, RE, and VI
Organizers: M. Francesca Cordeiro, Ross Ethier, and Michael Girard
Speakers: Alexander Thiery, Gustav de Moraes, Anil A. Bharath, Aaron Lee, and Carlos Ciller 

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a field that has recently seen unprecedented growth with applications across all fields of medicine including ophthalmology. In ophthalmology, AI has strong potential to significantly improve disease screening, diagnosis, prognosis, and eventually lead the way to personalized treatment. AI may also help us re-define pathologies. While AI is not yet used in the ophthalmology clinic, within the next 10-20 years, it is extremely likely that clinicians and ophthalmic surgeons will need to rely on or interact with AI software/technologies in their day-to-day clinical routine. This Minisymposium aims to understand how AI will change the clinical landscape in Ophthalmology, particularly focusing on glaucoma as an example, as this is an important example of a chronic, aging disease with a significant health-economic burden. It will discuss current and future research and industry trends that are likely to make an impact in the clinic. It will also discuss the strong limitations inherent to AI. This symposium aims to gather clinicians and scientists with interest in AI, engineers and computer scientists that are developing the next generation of AI algorithms, and industry members and policymakers who will play a critical role in the introduction of AI to the ophthalmology clinic.

Innate Immune Memory and the Eye – IM
Contributing sections: AP, CO, and RE
Organizers: Mary E. Marquart, and Andrew W. Taylor
Speakers: Antonio Ibarra, Andrew W. Taylor, Homayon Ghiasi, Martine Jager, and Wai T Wong 

Innate immune memory is defined as the effects of a tissue microenvironment or infection on innate cells that influence subsequent immune responses mediated by the programmed innate immune cells. 

Precision through measurement: biomarkers in health and disease – IM
Contributing sections: AP, RE, and VN
Organizers: Richard Lee and Jonas Kuiper
Speakers: Sarah Coupland, Darragh Duffy, Pearse Keane, and Russell Foster

Biomarkers are transforming medicine. In their various forms, they guide precision diagnosis and treatment and can be used to delineate health from the disease at both an individual and population level. Their discovery is not predicated by an understanding of the biological mechanism, but they nonetheless inform a deeper understanding of pathology. Most importantly, biomarkers help us to ensure the right patient gets the right treatment at the right time. In this symposium, we explore how characteristic mutations have recently been shown to define ocular malignancy and look outside the eye to consider the potential for heterogeneity in the human immune response to determine disease susceptibility and outcomes in a diversity of conditions. At a population level, algorithms have now been developed to shape healthcare delivery for common retinal diagnoses based on the automated analysis of images generated using widely available technologies, and this promises to change the landscape of global ophthalmic practice. The goal of the session is to touch on these broad-ranging subjects and give an overview of biomarker development in the context of the eye, concluding with a description of how light changes clock gene expression in our circadian pacemaker, and the impact this has on the ultimate biomarker of health (sleep).

Physiological Biochemistry of the Lens – LE
Organizers: Kevin L. Schey, and Paul J. Donaldson
Speakers: Paul J. Donaldson, Stephen Barnes, Julie Lim, Miduturu Srinivas, and Xiaohua Gong 

This Minisymposium will present current knowledge on metabolism in the lens and how lens homeostasis is maintained over decades of life. Also, cutting-edge technologies such as imaging mass spectrometry and metabolomics analysis will be discussed in the context of studying metabolism and transport of key metabolites into, within, and out of the lens. Emphasis will be placed on the effects of aging and cataract.

P2X7 receptor: one target for inflammatory responses in different ocular diseases - PH
Contributing sections: IM, CO, RC, and RE
Organizers: Claudio Bucolo, Julie Sanderson, and Claire Mitchell
Speakers: Julie Sanderson, Claire Mitchell, Erica Fletcher, Claudio Bucolo, Vichery Trinkaus-Randall, and Darlene Dartt 

Considering the high impact of purinergic signaling in ocular function, this Minisymposium aims to provide the complex role of the P2X7 receptor in different ocular systems; besides the Minisymposium will highlight current efforts to use P2X7 ligands for treatment

Emerging cell-based therapies to tackle retinal diseases – RC
Contributing section: RE
Organizers: Goldis Malek, James Fadool, and Brian Perkins
Speakers: David Hyde, Sussana S. Park, Amir Kashani, Maria Valeria Canto-Soler, and Rachel Pearson 

Cell-based therapies represent a potentially progressive avenue to treat retinal diseases beyond the traditional use of conventional drugs. This Minisymposium aims to present findings from recent studies utilizing various cell-based strategies, ranging from cell transplantation to the use of stem cells for the treatment of retinal diseases such as age-related macular degeneration.

Repurposing drugs for the treatment of retinal diseases – RC
Contributing sections: BI, and RE
Organizers: Goldis Malek, and James Fadool
Speakers: Breandan Kennedy, Nawajes Mandal, Aparna Lakkaraju, Benjamin Kim, Alfred Lewin, and Brian S. McKay 

Repurposing of drugs used for other indications that may be successful in ameliorating pathogenic pathways important in retinal disease development is emerging as an important strategy for small molecule discovery in industry and academia. This minisymposium will focus on how already identified and approved drugs for other indications are being selected and considered as a potential treatment for retinal diseases. It will include an overview of platforms used in drug discovery, preclinical studies necessary to support the new indication for the drug, as well as protocols used to move forward to clinical trials.

New and Emerging Clinical Trials Endpoints - RE
Contribution sections: CL, GEN, GL, MOI, RE, RC, and VI
Organizers: Amani Fawzi and Jacque Duncan
Speakers:  Jacque Duncan, Srinivas Sadda, Ursula Schmidt-Erfurth, Emily Chew, Donald Hood, David Huang, and Richard Rosen

The goal of this symposium is to introduce and discuss novel and new structural and functional endpoints that could serve as potential end-points in clinical trials. We will discuss existing well-validated end-points that are continuing to be important but also explore new emerging concepts in this field. The use of Artificial intelligence to enrich and screen study populations will also be discussed in the framework of clinical trials.

Clinical Outcomes and Visual Quality with Retinal Prosthetic Vision Restoration – VI
Contributing sections: EY, LV, and VN
Organizers: Lisa A. Ostrin and Thomas Raasch
Speakers: Richard Kramer, Yossi Mandel, Eli Peli, E. J. Chichilnisky, Avi Caspi, and Gislin Dagnelie 

Many new vision restoration approaches are being clinically explored. However, the expected visual outcomes are not well understood. This minisymposium focuses on clinical outcomes, potential visual quality, and visual adaptation that has been achieved or can be expected through retinal prosthetic devices.

Of mice and men: Comparing primate and rodent retina – VN
Contributing Sections: AP, RE, and RC
Organizers: Jan Kremers, Ulrike Grunert, and Erika Eggers
Speakers: Ulrike Grunert, Yi-Rong Peng, Greg Field, Machelle Pardue, Jan Kremers, and Jens Duebel 

The visual system of humans and non-human primates is unique in several aspects. However, due to accessibility and the availability of molecular tools, mice and other rodents are often the models of choice to study the retina, the results of which are then extrapolated to the human situation. When taking results from bench to bedside and back again, it is extremely important to be able to understand the similarities and the differences between the retinae of rodents and primates. This minisymposium compares recent data on rodent and primate retinae at several levels (genetics, cellular properties, physiology, circuitry, etc.).