Plenary Lunch Session:
Today's Research, Tomorrow's Practice®: Stem Cells and Ocular Regenerative Therapies
Wednesday, October 23, Noon - 2 PM

Amander T. Clark Jeffrey Goldberg Victor L. Perez

Amander T. Clark, PhD

Jeffrey Goldberg, MD, PhD

Victor L. Perez, MD

The evolution of stem cell knowledge and application in reparative medicine holds tremendous promise to treat eye disease and injury.  Cells lost in retinal and optic nerve degenerations as well as limbal stem cells from anterior segment trauma can lead to blindness.  Clinicians and scientists have taken significant steps forward in our understanding of stem cell differentiation and ocular transplantation in an effort to restore functional vision. 

For the 2013 Plenary Session in Seattle, we take an in depth look at the basic science underlying embryonic and human stem cells which are currently being tested. Amander T. Clark, PhD, a cell biologist and geneticist from the UCLA Department of Molecular Cell and Developmental Biology and Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Medicine, will lay the foundation for the session by discussing stem cell characteristics, cell types, and current research on cell differentiation.  Her emphasis will be on application of stem cells currently in clinical trials for treatment of ocular diseases.

Jeffrey Goldberg, MD, PhD, Professor and Director of Research at the Shiley Eye Center at UC San Diego, will focus on current research and methodology with transplanting stem cells in posterior segment disease.  He will review the science underlying stem cell therapy for degenerating retinal pigment epithelial cells in Stargard’s Disease and dry AMD and retinal ganglion cells in glaucoma.

Victor L. Perez, MD, Associate Professor of Ophthalmology at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, redirects the human stem cell discussion to the anterior ocular segment.  Because the corneal surface is directly accessible, we can readily study stem cell biology and develop novel cell replacement therapies.  His presentation reviews rehabilitation of patients with limbal stem cell deficiency and turns our attention to the future direction of clinical research.”

Monroe J. Hirsch Research Symposium
Clinical Application of Advanced Ocular Imaging
Thursday, October 24, 8 - 10 AM
Recent advances in ocular imaging using adaptive optics (AO) and optical coherence tomography (OCT) have resulted in the ability to view unprecedented anatomical detail.  These technologies are now being applied to clinical disorders in order to understand the anatomical changes associated with the disorder and to diagnose and treat clinical conditions. The Hirsch Symposium will highlight the applications of these imaging techniques to stationary and progressive genetic retinal conditions as well as management of retinal diseases such as age-related macular degeneration. Austin Roorda, PhD, will discuss “Translating Advanced Retinal Imaging into Clinical Application.” Jay Neitz, PhD, will present “Retinal Imaging as a Window into Causes and Possible Treatment of Clinical Disorders of Cones and Color Vision.” Brandon Lujan, MD, will cover “Spectral Domain OCT Imaging of Age-related Macular Degeneration.”

Ezell Fellows Present: Progress in Glaucoma Research
Thursday, October 24, 1:30 - 3:30 PM
Glaucoma is a group of optic neuropathies in which loss of retinal ganglion cells and their axons can have a significant impact on the patient’s visual function, and ultimately leads to blindness. This symposium will showcase three investigators at different stages of their careers. Each doctor trained as optometrists and pursued doctoral research training, during which they received and were encouraged by Ezell Fellowship support.  These investigators are working on various aspects of glaucoma, from the etiology of elevated intraocular pressure, a risk factor for the most common form of the disease, to characterization of the nature and relative timecourse of structural and functional losses, and the pathophysiologic mechanisms leading to those losses. Their exciting research findings have implications for early detection and strategies for treatment of the disease to prevent vision loss. Speakers are Thom Freddo, OD, PhD, FAAO, Brad Fortune, OD, PhD, FAAO, and Nimesh B. Patel, OD, PhD, FAAO.