Lighthouse Guild to Host Alfred W. Bressler Vision Science Symposium and Pisart Award Lecture

October 11, 2017

Posted by PR Newswire

Lighthouse Guild, the leading not-for-profit vision and healthcare organization, will host the 2017 Alfred W. Bressler Vision Science Symposium and Award Luncheon and The Pisart Award Lecture and Reception at The University Club of New York, October 20-21, 2017.

Dr. Russell Van Gelder is the recipient of the 2017 Bressler Prize, and Dr. Yoshikazu Imanishi is the 2017 Pisart Award honoree. “These two outstanding researchers, chosen by an independent panel of judges who are leading physicians and scientists in the field of vision care and research, are being recognized for their significant contributions to vision science and research,” said Alan R. Morse, JD, PhD, President and CEO of Lighthouse Guild.

A pre-conference entitled “New Technologies for Patients with Vision Disorders,” will be held on Friday, October 20, 2017, from 8:30am to 3:30pm, sponsored by Columbia University Medical Center’s Department of Ophthalmology and Lighthouse Guild. This session and discussion – directed by Dr. Morse and Dr. Stanley Chang, the K. K. Tse and Ku Teh Ying Professor of Ophthalmology at Columbia University Medical Center – will focus on evolving technologies that can directly benefit visually impaired patients.

Following the pre-conference, at 4:00pm the Pisart Award lecture presented by Dr. Imanishi, entitled “Ushering the Discovery of Molecular Therapies for Usher Syndrome,” will be presented, followed by a reception.

The Bressler Vision Science Symposium on “Sensing Without Seeing: Advances in Non-Visual Ocular and Extraocular Photoreception” will take place on Saturday, October 21, 2017, at 9:00am, followed by an awards luncheon.  Dr. Van Gelder’s lecture is entitled “Novel Opsins in Ocular and Extraocular Photoreception.”

In addition to Dr. Van Gelder’s presentation, other Bressler Symposium lectures will include:

Satchidananda Panda, PhD, “Functional Properties of Light Sensitive Ganglion Cells Encoded in Melanopsin Protein.” Dr. Panda is Professor in Regulatory Biology, The Salk Institute, in La Jolla, California.

Samer Hattar, PhD, “Parallel Retinal Circuits Influence Mood and Learning.” Dr. Hatter is Chief and Senior Investigator, Section on Light and Circadian Rhythms, the National Institute of Mental Health, in Baltimore, Maryland.

David Berson, PhD, “Retinal Cell Types and Circuits Linked to ipRGCs.” Dr. Berson is Professor and Chair, Department of Neuroscience, Brown University, in Providence, Rhode Island.

Richard A. Lang, PhD, “The Atypical Opsins in Development and Homeostasis.” Dr. Lang is the Emma and Irving Goldman Scholar and Director, Visual Systems Group Director, Center for Chronobiology, Division of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Division of Developmental Biology, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Bressler Prize Recipient
Dr. Van Gelder is the Boyd K. Bucey Memorial Chair, Professor and Department Chair, Department of Ophthalmology, at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle, Washington. His research on non-visual photoreception, an unconventional kind of light-sensitivity sometimes described as “sensing light without sight” has been widely heralded and published.

As a physician scientist, Dr. Van Gelder has been in a unique position to translate his research findings directly into patient care. His group used field sleep recording techniques to demonstrate that blind children with loss of optic nerve function display substantial dysregulation of circadian rhythm, whereas blind children with intact optic nerves show substantially less sleep disruption. More recently, his team is using photoswitch chemicals that can be modulated by visible light as an approach to reverse blindness from outer retinal degeneration. This technology is one of the most exciting therapeutic discoveries in recent years.

In addition to receiving numerous scientific awards and honors, Dr. Van Gelder has written for more than 170 publications, including multiple papers in the most competitive journals, such as Science, Neuron, Nature Neuroscience, Nature Genetics, and PNAS.

Every year since 2003, the Bressler Prize has recognized a mid-career vision clinician or scientist whose leadership, research and service have led to important advancements in the understanding of vision loss, treatment of eye disease, or the rehabilitation of people with vision loss.

Pisart Award Recipient
Dr. Imanishi is an associate professor in the Department of Pharmacology at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland, Ohio. He has solved several critical questions regarding the mechanisms and processes of photoreceptor development and maintenance, elevating the understanding, treatment and diagnosis of eye disorders. He and his laboratory team developed the photo-conversion technique that enables fluorescent labeling of newly synthesized proteins.

Dr. Imanishi’s work has dramatically increased the understanding of the etiology of Usher syndrome for which he has discovered a potential cure. In striving to discover new therapies for the disease, Dr. Imanishi has also invented a new method of drug screening, which is applicable to inherited disorders caused by protein-destabilizing gene mutations. Usher syndrome is one of the most complex neurological disorders causing combined deafness and blindness. It occurs in approximately 1 of every 25,000 births and is the leading cause of combined deafness and blindness in the world.

Dr. Imanishi has been the first, senior or contributing author of 39 original research articles, six review articles and four book chapters. His manuscripts have been published in top-tier journals, including Nature Chemical Biology, Nature Medicine, Nature Neuroscience, Cell Metabolism, Journal of Cell Biology, Journal of Biological Chemistry, and Journal of Neuroscience.

The annual Pisart Award, established in 1981, has recognized an early-career vision clinician or scientist whose noteworthy, innovative and scholarly contributions in vision science have the potential for substantial influence in the understanding of vision loss, treatment of eye disease or the rehabilitation of people with vision loss.

Dr. Morse said, “Improving the lives of people who are blind or visually impaired is a core tenet of Lighthouse Guild. By recognizing leading clinicians and researchers in vision science, we can strengthen our shared purpose and help advance tomorrow’s breakthroughs. We look forward to seeing their future work and collaborating with them to help people deal effectively with vision loss.”

Pre-Conference: New Technologies for Patients with Vision Disorders (October 20)

Lama Al-Aswad, MD, MPH, “Telemedicine in Ophthalmology.” Dr. Al-Aswad is Associate Professor of Ophthalmology, Columbia University Medical Center.

Rando Allikmets, PhD, “Should We Do Genetic Testing for Age-related Macular Degeneration?” Dr. Allikmets is the William and Donna Acquavella Professor of Ophthalmic Science, Columbia University Medical Center.

Dana M. Blumberg, MD, MPH, “Options in Minimally Invasive Glaucoma Surgery.” Dr. Blumberg is Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology, Columbia University Medical Center.

Royce W. S. Chen, MD, “Retinal Imaging in the Management of Patients with Uveitis.” Dr. Chen is the Helen and Martin Kimmel Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology, Columbia University Medical Center.

Michael Chiang, MD, MA, “Using ‘Big Data’ to Improve Eye Care” and “Artificial Intelligence – How to Make a Smarter Doctor.” Dr. Chiang is the Edwin and Josephine Knowles Professor of Ophthalmology, Medical Informatics and Clinical Epidemiology, Oregon Health Sciences University, in Portland, Oregon.

Martin Friedlander, MD, PhD, “Neuroprotection with Encapsulated Cell-based Delivery of CNTF for Macula Telangiectasia; Phase 2 Clinical Trial Results.” Dr. Friedlander is Professor, Cell and Molecular Biology, Scripps Research Institute, and President, Lowy Medical Research Institute, in La Jolla, California.

Donald C. Hood, PhD, “Understanding and Detecting Glaucomatous Damage: A ‘Novel’ OCT Approach.” Dr. Hood is the James F. Bender Professor of Psychology, and Professor of Ophthalmic Science, Columbia University Medical Center.

Yu-Pin Hsu, EdD, OTR/L, SCLV, “Vision Rehabilitation in Patients with Stroke.” Dr. Hsu is Senior Occupational Therapist, NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center, and Vision Rehabilitation Projects Manager at Lighthouse Guild, in New York City.

Jeffrey M. Liebmann, MD, “Nicotinamide and Glaucoma.” Dr. Liebmann is the Shirlee and Bernard Brown Professor of Ophthalmology and Vice Chair of Ophthalmology, Columbia University Medical Center.

Eli Peli, MSc, OD, “In and On the Eye Telescopes for Low Vision – a Critical Evaluation.” Dr. Peli is Professor of Ophthalmology, Harvard Medical School, and Moakley Scholar in Aging Eye Research, Schepens Eye Research Institute, Mass Eye and Ear Infirmary, Boston, Massachusetts.

Tongalp Tezel, MD, “Maculoplasty – Restoring Macular Function.” Dr. Tezel is Chang Family Professor of Ophthalmology, Director of Retina Service, Columbia University Medical Center.

Danielle Trief, MD, MSc, “Restoring Vision in Children with Keratoprothesis.”
Dr. Trief is Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology, Columbia University Medical Center.

David R. Williams, PhD, “Recent Advances in Functional Imaging of Single Cells in the Living Eye.” Dr. Williams is Dean for Research in Arts, Science and Engineering; Allyn Chair – Medical Optics, Director – Center for Visual Sciences; and Professor – Optics, Ophthalmology, Biomedical Engineering, Brain and Cognitive Sciences, University of Rochester, in Rochester, New York.

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