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In honor of our centennial anniversary, we are featuring members of our optometry community — past and present — each day of 2023!

See below for this week’s profiles.

This Week, We Are Celebrating…

May 22nd

Angelica Gonzalez

Angelica Gonzalez is the Patient Services Manager at the Herbert Wertheim School of Optometry & Vision Science. Angelica graduated from the ophthalmic assistant program at the UCLA Jules Stein Institute and has experience working as an optician and lasik and cataract surgical assistant. Since joining our clinic over 15 years ago, Angelica has demonstrated her capabilities as a manager by building a strong patient services team that serves over 200 patients daily. From implementing new strategies and policies to creating positive environments, she has worked alongside others within the optometry school to prioritize patient and staff health while maximizing performance and clinic efficiency. Ensuring students, doctors, patients, and staff feel respected, valued, and cared for is one of her main priorities.

May 23rd

W. Rowland Taylor, PhD

Dr. Taylor is a professor of optometry and vision science, and is also the chair of the Vision Science Graduate Program. The goal of Dr. Taylor’s research is to understand how neural circuits within the mammalian retina encode and transmit information about the visual environment. Rowland explains that, “ultimately, understanding circuit function in the healthy and diseased retina will aid in the development of treatments designed to restore sight. To this end, it is essential to understand how the neurons encode visual information, and how the biophysical characteristics and neural architecture constrain the performance of the system. The experimental work emphasizes quantitative measurements of neural responses to natural stimuli in the intact retina. We also perform immunohistochemical studies to localize transmitter receptors and channels within specific neural circuits. Additionally, we construct computer models of neurons and circuits, based on realistic morphologies and neural connectivity, and run simulations of circuit function to further test our understanding, and to generate experimentally testable predictions.”

May 24th

Karthik Shekhar, PhD

Dr. Karthik Shekhar is a member of the Vision Science Graduate Group and an Assistant Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at UC Berkeley, where he started his research group in 2020. He obtained his undergraduate degree in chemical engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay; PhD in chemical engineering at MIT. During his postdoc, he switched his interests to neuroscience, and led some of the early efforts applying single-cell genomic approaches to study neural diversity at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. His current research aims to understand the development and evolution of cell types in the visual system, particularly the retina. He has been a recipient of the NIH Pathway to Independence Award, the Hellmann Foundation fellowship, and is a fellow of the Glaucoma Research Foundation.

May 25th

Gordon L. Walls, PhD

Dr. Gordon L Walls. Walls joined the Berkeley Optometry faculty in 1947 as Associate Professor of Physiological Optics and Optometry, and Lecturer in Physiology.Dr. Walls quickly became a singular figure in the Physiological Optics research program while also teaching courses in Morphology and Physiology of the Eye, Physiological Optics, Evolution of the Visual System, and Color Vision. Primarily a biologist, Dr. Walls came to Berkeley Optometry with an already fixed international reputation, having published his celebrated Vertebrate Eye and its Adaptive Radiation in 1942, a must-have treatise for the biologist, morphologist, and ophthalmologist of the period

Dr. Walls was a brilliant and enthusiastic teacher, and was an inspiration to an entire generation of optometrists. He was extremely knowledgeable and could lecture on seemingly any subject. He helped write a manual of laboratory experiments and compiled an extensive histology slide collection, with numerous sections of different vertebrate eyes; these slides were used in first-year anatomy lab for generations. His final work included the study of hereditary aspects of vision.

May 26th

Briana Yik, BS

Briana Yik is a second-year optometry student at the Herbert Wertheim School of Optometry & Vision Science. She was born in San Francisco and graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles, with a degree in Biology. During her undergraduate career, she worked and volunteered at various optometry clinics where she gained exposure to specialties like vision therapy, ocular disease, and specialty contacts. Through these experiences, she fell in love with optometry and its ability to improve quality of life.

Briana currently serves as the class liaison and president-elect of Cal EyeChat, a student organization focused on exploring unconventional career pathways in optometry. In this role, she aids the officers in event organization and public relations. She is interested in conditions of the eye and aims to do a residency in ocular disease.

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