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Kresge vision workshop highlights groundbreaking research in vision community, inaugural Robert N. Frank, M.D. Clinical Translational Lectureship

December 09, 2016

The Kresge Eye Institute, in association with the Wayne State University School of Medicine’s Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, presented its annual Vision Research Day at the Robert S. Jampel, M.D., Ph.D., Auditorium in Detroit to highlight the research accomplishments of KEI’s graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, research assistants and associates, residents and clinical fellows.

The workshop, founded in 2014, provided an opportunity for Wayne State’s vision community to interact with each other and exchange ideas for possible collaboration on a variety of topics.
The Oct. 28 event was organized and run by trainees, postdoctoral fellows and graduate students, giving them additional experience in the defense and presentation of their research at local, national and international meetings, and hands-on training in organizing and running scientific meetings.

This year’s event included the inaugural Kresge Eye Institute Robert N. Frank, M.D., Clinical Translational Lectureship, delivered by keynote speaker and Harvard Medical School Professor of Ophthalmology Lloyd Paul Aiello, M.D., Ph.D. Dr. Aiello is vice chair for Centers of Excellence in the Harvard Department of Ophthalmology, director of the Beetham Eye Institute and head of Eye Research at Joslin Diabetes Center, and founding chair of the National Eye Institute Diabetic Retinopathy Clinical Research Network. He is an internationally-recognized expert in diabetic retinopathy research, and has made extensive care-changing contributions. His research addresses biochemical and molecular mechanisms underlying early diabetic retinopathy, the development of novel interventions, and the subsequent therapeutic evaluation through design and implementation of rigorous clinical trials.

Thirteen abstracts were accepted for oral presentations and nine for poster presentations, with the top three presentations in each category receiving awards.

In posters, Raul Santos won first place for “Cystine/glutamate transporter system Xc and the development of diabetic retinopathy;” Joanne Choi won second place for “Disease-causing Mutation Screening in the miR-183/96/182 Cluster in Inherited Retinal Dystrophy Patients;” and Pushpa Rao won third place for “Neurokinin-1 receptor agonist treatment increases the basal level of unstimulated tears, but does not affect the development of hypoxia and severity of HSK in HSV-1 infected eyes.”

In oral presentations, Leo Hall won first place for “Subtype-specific Expression and Function of Bungarotoxin-sensitive, Alpha-7 Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptors in Bipolar Cells of the Mouse Retina;” Tushar Ganjawala won second place for “Development of Highly Light-Sensitive and Red-shifted ChR Variants for Vision Restoration;” and Chase Hellmer won third place for “Group I metabotropic glutamate receptors have dual effects in modulating mGluR6-evoked currents in mouse rod bipolar cells.”

The Vision Research Workshop planning committee included Co-Chair Zhuo-Hua Pan, Ph.D., professor of Ophthalmology and of Anatomy and Cell Biology; Co-Chair Fu-Shin Yu, Ph.D., professor of Ophthalmology and of Anatomy and Cell Biology and KEI director of Research; Linda Hazlett, Ph.D., interim vice dean for Research, distinguished professor and chair of the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology and distinguished professor of Ophthalmology and of Immunology and Microbiology; and KEI Director Mark Juzych, M.D., M.H.S.A., the David Barsky, M.D. Endowed Chair and professor of Ophthalmology. In addition, Drs. Pan and Yu served as the abstract selection committee.