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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…

September 25th

Jacob Yates, PhD

Dr. Jacob Yates is an Assistant Professor of Optometry & Vision Science at the Herbert Wertheim School of Optometry & Vision Science.

Dr. Yates did his doctoral research in neuroscience at the University of Texas, Austin (with Alex Huk and Jonathan Pillow) and his postdoctoral work at the University of Rochester (with Jude Mitchell, Greg DeAngelis, and Michele Rucci) and the University of Maryland (with Dan Butts). His research focuses on how populations of neurons in cortex encode the visual world. His lab uses statistical and machine learning models to understand neural activity and human perception. He is particularly focused on how information generated by eye movements is utilized by cortical circuits.

Dr. Yates is happy to be back in the Bay Area, having grown up in San Francisco and completed his undergraduate studies at UC Berkeley. He’s an avid cyclist, hiker, traveler, eater, and is looking forward to being a part of the optometry community at UC Berkeley.

September 26th

Mika Moy, OD, FAAO

Dr. Anne Mika Moy is a Clinical Professor and Associate Dean for Admissions and Student Affairs at Berkeley Optometry. Dr. Moy practices primary care optometry with a special interest in anterior segment disease and urgent care patients. She primarily practices at our satellite clinic, the Tang Eye Center, which is located on the southwest side of campus in the Student Health Services building.

September 27th

Richard M. Hill, OD, PhD, FAAO

Richard Hill (born December 16, 1934) received his degree from Berkeley Optometry in 1958 and his PhD in Physiological Optics from Berkeley in 1961. After completing his doctorate he was appointed Assistant Professor of Optometry and Physiological Optics at Berkeley Optometry (1961–1964). In the early 1960s Dr. Hill investigated visual pathways in the superior colliculus of the rabbit, interpreting the recording of single cells during normal functioning. Dr. Hill and his colleague Gabriel Horn (a visiting research scientist from Cambridge, England) determined that complex stimuli (such as the dark shadow of a hawk) produced visual patterns that differed from simpler stimuli (such as a flash of light). More novel patterns, when presented repeatedly, gradually produced diminished responses as a kind of habituation took place.

At Berkeley Dr. Hill began his serious involvement with contact lens research during his optometric training. Around 1959–60, Dr. Hill started to move, as he put it, “an inch ahead … from the retina to the cornea,” turning from work on visual pathways to his interest in contact lenses, intrigued by the physiological aspects of contact lens wear. Beginning in 1963 Dr. Hill’s collaborations with fellow Hall of Fame member Irving Fatt produced seminal publications on oxygen transport within the cornea. They were the first researchers to quantify oxygen uptake in the living human cornea. The work of Dr. Hill and Fatt was the genesis for decades of seminal cornea and contact lens research at Berkeley. When asked about his most outstanding contribution in contact lens research, Dr. Hill pointed to his days with Fatt as the crowning achievement.

Dr. Hill also contributed a new approach for measuring oxygen uptake by the cornea with his EOP (Equivalent Oxygen Percentage), a method for measuring oxygen concentration under a contact lens worn on a living human eye by approximating the oxygen concentration beneath a contact lens on the living human eye by taking into account the total barrier effect of the lens.

Dr. Hill left Berkeley Optometry in 1964 for a long and distinguished career at The Ohio State University, where he would serve as an Associate Professor (1964–1968) and full professor (1968-1995). He became Associate Dean in 1978 and Dean of the College of Optometry from 1988–95. Dr. Hill has received many awards, including the Max Shapero Memorial Lecturer (1975); Otto Wichterle Award (1983; first recipient); and from the American Academy of Optometry, the Glenn Fry Invited Lecturer (1983), Glenn Fry Medal for Research in Physiological Optics (1995), and Charles F. Prentice Medal (1998). The Optometry Alumni Association of UC selected Dr. Hill as the Alumnus of the Year in 2000. In 2005 he was inducted into the National Optometry Hall of Fame and received the Bausch & Lomb Visionaries Recognition Award. Dr. Hill has written over 500 abstracts, books, monographs and journal articles.

Dr. Hill’s service and memberships have included the American Physiological Society; American National Standards Institute Ad Hoc Committee; Advisory Committee, NIH, National Eye Institute; Fellow, American Academy of Optometry, Diplomat (Hon.) Contact Lens Section (1975); Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology; Vice President, International Society for Contact Lens Research (1980–1986); Charter Member, Contact Lens Section, American Optometric Association (1981); Member, US Department of Health & Human Services/NIH/National Eye Institute, National Advisory Eye Council (1982–1986); American Optometric Association CLS—Research Committee; President, International Society for Contact Lens Research (1988–1990); Ohio Lions Eye Research Foundation, Visual/Medical Advisory Board; and International Society of Contact Lens Specialists.

September 28th

Leah Johnston, BS

Leah is a vision science student from Washington DC, studying visual neuroscience at Berkeley. Leah was a Visiting Scholar in Frederic Theunissen’s lab here at UC Berkeley, studying auditory neuroscience. Leah is here because of the outstanding faculty who work under the Vision Science umbrella at UC Berkeley. VS researchers here are experts in neural computation, neuroanatomy, electrical engineering, and computer vision. The breadth of the faculty, combined with the collaborative approach in many of the labs, made it clear that Leah could pursue their interests here with excellent mentorship.

Coming from an auditory neuroscience lab, Leah hopes to expand their understanding of the basic building blocks of perception by exploring multi-sensory modalities. How do we perceive the world as coherent despite having such a variety of sensory inputs? At what level of understanding can we repair–or augment–our senses? In the long term, Leah is interested in developing and testing cutting edge tools and techniques for pursuing systems-level neuroscience. Researchers at Berkeley are pushing the limits of optical microscopy to peer inside the living brain, and Leah would like to contribute to this effort. Leah also builds sets and design lighting effects for their favorite drag queen, Peaches Christ.

September 29th

Teresa Puthussery, OD, PhD

Dr. Teresa Puthussery is an Assistant Professor at the Herbert Wertheim School of Optometry & Vision Science. Her lab is interested in how visual signals are encoded by neurons in the healthy retina and how signaling is perturbed during during photoreceptor degenerations. Ongoing projects in their lab are addressing the following questions:

  1. How do retinal neurons extract specific features such as motion and spatial detail from the visual environment?
  2. How do different types of neurotransmitter receptors and ion channels shape the response properties of retinal neurons?
  3. How does the structure and function of the retina change in diseases such as glaucoma and inherited photoreceptor degeneration?

To address these questions, they use a variety of research techniques including patch-clamp electrophysiology, optical imaging, immunohistochemistry, high-resolution imaging (confocal, super-resolution, electron and two-photon microscopy) and protein biochemistry.

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