Centennial Vision Science Research Day
Time: 9:00 AM – 7:30 PM
Location: Sutardja Dai Hall, Banatao Auditorium
Introducing our one-day vision science research symposium, highlighting the outstanding research being done by school faculty and alumni. See below for the program outline.
PROGRAM9:00 AM – PROGRAM BEGINS
9:00 AM – John G. Flanagan, PhD, DSc, FCOptom, FAAO
9:15 to 10:00 AM
SESSION 1: HISTORICAL REMINISCENCES
9:15 AM – Karla Zadnik, OD, PhD
A PhD degree in Patient-Oriented Research
9:30 AM – Gerald Westheimer, OD, PhD FAAO, FRS
Twin Missions of Berkeley Optometry: Teaching Eye Care and Vision Research
9:45 AM – Martin S. Banks, PhD
The Vision Science Program since 1985
10:00 AM – BREAK
10:25 AM – W. Rowland Taylor, PhD
Introduction to the Sessions
10:30 AM to 12:30 PM
SESSION 2: CLINICAL SCIENCE
10:30 AM – Yvonne Ou, MD
From Mouse to Primate: Retinal Circuit Disassembly and Reassembly in Glaucoma
11:00 AM – Meng Lin, OD, PhD
A New Focus on Human Meibomian Glands Through the Eyes of AI
11:30 AM – Karsten Gronert, PhD
The Hidden World of Lipid Mediators in Ocular Health and Disease
12:00 PM – T. Rowan Candy, MCOptom, PhD
Providing Typical Visual Experience to Young Infants
12:30 PM – LUNCH
1:30 PM – KEYNOTE: Dennis M. Levi, OD, PhD
Learning to See in 3D
2:30 PM to 4:30 PM
2:30 PM – Nancy McNamara, OD, PhD
SESSION 3: BASIC SCIENCE
Recent Trends and Discoveries in the Management of Dry Eye
3:00 PM – BREAK
3:15 PM – Teresa Puthussery, OD, PhD
Resolving the Functions of Novel Primate Retinal Ganglion Cell Types: A Multimodal Approach
3:45 PM – Michael Webster, PhD
Enduring Mysteries of Color Perception
4:15 PM to 5:45 PM
SESSION 4: TRANSLATIONAL/INDUSTRY
4:15 PM – John G. Flannery, PhD
Gene Therapy for Blinding Retinal Disease
4:45 PM – Andrew (Beau) Watson, PhD
Modeling and Mitigating Visual Discomfort Due to Flashing Lights in Video
5:15 PM – Austin Roorda, PhD
25 Years of Adaptive Optics for the Eye
5:45 PM – PROGRAM ENDS
6:00 to 7:30 PM – Reception at Faculty Club
ABOUT THE SPEAKERS
Keynote Speaker: Dennis M. Levi, OD, PhD
Professor of Optometry, Vision Science, & Neuroscience, UC Berkeley
You can learn more about Dr. Levi’s research on amblyopia and how virtual reality is being used to treat amblyopia and improve stereo vision by listening to the interview on the BroadEye Podcast at: http://broadeye.org/levi/.
Karla Zadnik, OD, PhD
Dean, Ohio State University College of Optometry
Dr. Zadnik is also the Glenn A. Fry Professor of Optometry and Physiological Optics, an Ohio State Distinguished Scholar, and the interim dean of The Ohio State University College of Public Health. She serves as the lead dean for the seven health science colleges and chairs the Biomedical Sciences Institutional Review Board. She is a past president of the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry and President of the National Board of Examiners in Optometry.
Dr. Zadnik received her OD and PhD degrees from the University of California, Berkeley School of Optometry and was the school’s Alumnus of the Year in 2006. Professor Zadnik is a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry and a Diplomate in its Section on Cornea, Contact Lenses & Refractive Technologies. She served as the Academy’s President in 2011-12. She received the Glenn A. Fry Award from the American Optometric Foundation in 1995 and the Academy’s Charles F. Prentice Award in 2020. Dr. Zadnik was the Study Chairman for the National Eye Institute-funded Collaborative Longitudinal Evaluation of Ethnicity and Refractive Error (CLEERE) Study for 20 years and chaired the first-ever NEI-funded multicenter study based in optometry, the Collaborative Longitudinal Evaluation of Keratoconus (CLEK) Study. Her research funds from the National Institutes of Health total $40 million across her career.
Gerald Westheimer, OD, PhD FAAO, FRS
Clinical Professor Emeritus of Optometry & Professor of Neurobiology, UC Berkeley
Dr. Westheimer’s first faculty appointments were at the University of Houston School of Optometry (1953), where there was virtually no support for research, and at The Ohio State University School of Optometry in 1954. After completing a sabbatical year (1958–59) of postdoctoral research at the University of Cambridge, England with an illustrious group of vision researchers, Westheimer joined the faculty at Berkeley Optometry in 1960 as a full-time visiting associate professor. He brought with him two NIH grants, one in collaboration with Fergus Campbell and the other with Cyril Rashbass (both visiting faculty from the research group at Cambridge). All three would later be elected to the Royal Society; Westheimer remains to this day the only optometrist to have received this honor (FRS, 1985). He was given tenure at Berkeley in 1961 and achieved the rank of full professor in 1963.
Inadequate facilities and greater opportunity for expanded neuroscience research attracted Westheimer to the Department of Physiology/Anatomy in 1967, where he was appointed Professor of Physiology (1968-1989). In 1989 Dr. Westheimer established and became the first head of UC Berkeley’s Division of Neurobiology, when he also became Professor of Neurobiology (1989-1994). He later became Professor of the Graduate School, Division of Neurobiology (1994-present). Dr. Westheimer is also Adjunct Professor of Neurobiology, Rockefeller University, NY (1994–present).
From the time of his dissertation research in 1951–53, Westheimer applied linear systems analysis to the study of saccadic and smooth pursuit eye movements. After he transferred to Physiology/Anatomy he continued research in this area, producing papers considered landmarks that are still cited today. Throughout his career Westheimer worked to attain a deeper understanding of human vision. He elucidated the neural control of eye movements and ocular accommodation by using the systems approach to map motor responses in the human, and later employed neurophysiological techniques to outline midbrain and brainstem circuits in the nonhuman primate. Measurement of the optical image of the eye led to the investigation of the retinal and cortical circuitry involved in the processing of spatial visual information, including the analysis of acuity, stereopsis and contextual effects.
Dr. Westheimer has authored of over 250 articles in optical, ophthalmological, optometric, physiological and neurobiological journals and chapters on the eye, ocular motility, and visual optics in handbooks, textbooks, and symposium volumes, including Mountcastle’s Medical Physiology and all editions of Adler’s Physiology of the Eye.
Dr. Westheimer has received many honors, including the Tillyer Medal (Optical Society of America, 1978), the Proctor Medal (Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, 1979), Fellow of the Royal Society of London (1985), International von Sallman Prize in Vision and Ophthalmology (1986), Prentice Medal (American Academy of Optometry, 1986), Bicentennial Medal (Australian Optometric Association, 1988), and Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1994). He was awarded honorary doctorates from the University of New South Wales (1988), the State University of New York (1990), and the University of Tuebingen, Germany (2005).
Martin S. Banks, PhD
Professor of Optometry and Vision Science, Affiliate Professor of Psychology and Bioengineering, UC Berkeley
Dr. Banks worked initially on the development of human vision. Having grown weary of the difficulty of doing research on human infants, he turned to work on human adults. He has studied spatial vision, perception of self-motion, binocular vision, picture perception, visual displays, oculomotor behavior, and binocular vision. He has also investigated the manner in which information is combined across the senses. He has been very fortunate to be able to work in collaboration with a string of superb graduate students and post-docs.
Dr. Banks has received many awards for his basic and applied research. These include the Young Investigator Award from the National Research Council, McCandless Award from the American Psychological Association, Koffka Medal from Giessen University, Prentice Award from the American Academy of Optometry, Schade Prize from the Society for Information Display, and Tillyer Award from the Optical Society of America. He has also been appointed Fellow of the Center for Advanced Study of the Behavioral Sciences, Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Fellow of the American Psychological Society, Holgate Fellow of Durham University, WICN Fellow of University of Wales, Honorary Professor of University of Wales, Fellow of the Society for Experimental Psychology, and Borish Scholar of Indiana University. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2019.
W. Rowland Taylor, PhD
Chair, Vision Science Graduate Program & Professor of Optometry and Vision Science, UC Berkeley
Yvonne Ou, MD
Ophthalmologist, Glaucoma Specialist, Glaucoma and Cataract Surgeon, Vision Researcher, & Professor of Ophthalmology at UCSF School of Medicine
Dr. Ou specializes in the treating glaucoma with medical, laser, and surgical therapies, the latter including cataract surgery, minimally invasive procedures, filtering surgery, and drainage implant surgery.
The research interests of the Ou laboratory are in the area of neurodegeneration, circuit disassembly and reassembly, and neuronal plasticity. The team is studying the cellular and synaptic mechanisms of retinal ganglion cell degeneration and identifying specific types of ganglion cells and circuits that are particularly susceptible, with an eye for improving diagnostic and treatment modalities for patients. The group also has developed translational applications from the team’s laboratory findings, specifically novel clinical ERG paradigms and virtual-reality based oculokinetic perimetry for glaucoma diagnostics. Most recently, the Ou lab is part of an Audacious Goals Initiative team tackling barriers to retinal ganglion cell transplantation as a vision restoration strategy.
Meng Lin, OD, PhD
Director, UC Berkeley Clinical Research Center (CRC); Chief, Ocular Surface Imaging Clinic; Co-Chief, Dry Eye Clinic; Professor of Clinical Optometry & Vision Science, UC Berkeley
Dr. Lin received her OD from the Ohio State University in 1996 and completed her residency in Anterior-segment diseases and Specialty Contact Lenses at the University of Alabama in 1997. Dr. Lin received her PhD at the Herbert Wertheim School of Optometry & Vision Science in 2002 and received her Post-Doctoral training at Public Health and Chemical Engineering at UC Berkeley in 2005.
Karsten Gronert, PhD
Professor of Optometry and Vision Science, UC Berkeley
T. Rowan Candy, MCOptomm, PhD
Executive Associate Dean for Academic Affairs; Professor of Optometry, Indiana University
The focus of Dr. Candy's research program is on studies of both normal and abnormal visual development with a view to preventing common conditions including amblyopia and various types of strabismus. Funded by the National Institutes of Health since 2003, this research has modified technical methods based in optics, neuroscience, and experimental psychology to give researchers and clinicians an understanding of how the developing brain coordinates its own visual experience through its ocular motor responses. Dr. Candy is part of the Vision Sciences Society and is a fellow of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology.
Nancy McNamara, OD, PhD, MS
Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Chief; Professor of Optometry; UC Berkeley Sjogren’s Clinic; Co-Chief, UC Berkeley Dry Eye Clinic
Dr. McNamara continues an active translational research program that includes both basic science studies to define the mechanisms underlying dry eye disease development at UCSF and clinical studies to test innovative new therapies for clinical care at UCB. She established and currently directs UC Berkeley’s Sjogren’s Clinic, a multidisciplinary care center for Sjogren’s patients. Most recently, she joined UCSF and several top research institutions in the United States to form the Sjogren’s Team for Accelerating Medicines partnerships, an NIH funded partnership aiming to integrate deep clinical phenotypic and systems biology data to identify precise therapeutic targets for Sjogren’s patients.
Teresa Puthussery, OD, PhD
Assistant Professor of Optometry & Vision Science, UC Berkeley
Dr Puthussery’s research combines optical imaging, electrophysiology and molecular methods to understand the structure and function of cell types and circuits in the normal retina. Her work also seeks to determine how retinal circuits are altered by neurodegenerative diseases that cause photoreceptor degeneration. Her research is funded by grants from the National Eye Institute (NEI), including an Audacious Goals Initiative Grant focused on testing cell-based therapies for vision restoration after photoreceptor degeneration.
Michael Webster, PhD
Professor of Psychology, University of Nevada at Reno
Dr. Webster earned his BA from UC San Diego in 1981 and his Ph.D, in Psychology at UC Berkeley in 1988. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Cambridge for 6 years prior to joining the faculty at the University of Nevada, Reno in 1994, where he is currently a foundation professor. His research has been funded by NIH since 1989. At UNR he also established and co-directs both the undergraduate and graduate programs in Neuroscience, and directs the university’s Center for Integrative Neuroscience (supported by a $25 million NIH COBRE award). He received UNR’s Outstanding Researcher Award in 2011 and the Verriest Medal from the International Colour Vision Society in 2019, and is a fellow of Optica and a former member of the board of directors for the Vision Sciences Society.
John G. Flannery, PhD
Professor of Neurobiology, Dept. Molecular & Cell Biology, UC Berkeley & Assoc. Director, Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute
Relatively little is known about precisely why photoreceptors die in many of the different retinal degenerations, and virtually no effective therapy exists for most of these diseases. One of the major goals of our laboratory is to develop therapeutic approaches that will slow or prevent the loss of rods, cones, RPE and other cells in retinal degenerations. The approaches we are using include the development of next-generation adeno-associated viral vectors for therapeutic gene delivery, gene editing technologies, and the expression of genetically encoded light-sensitive molecules to restore light sensitivity to the retina.
Andrew (Beau) Watson, PhD
Chief Vision Scientist, Apple
Dr. Watson leads the application of vision science to Apple technologies, applications, devices and displays. His work focuses on the use of vision science in imaging technology and computational models of early vision. He is the recipient of several awards, including the Edgar D. Tillyer Award, the H. Julian Allen Award from NASA, the Otto Schade Award from the Society for Information Display, the Special Recognition Award from the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, and the Gilles Holst Award from Philips Research and The Technical University of Eindhoven. Dr. Watson received the Presidential Rank Award from the President of the United States in 2011. He is a Fellow of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, the Society for Information Display, and Optica.
Austin Roorda, PhD
Head Graduate Advisor, Vision Science Program & Professor, Vision Science Program, UC Berkeley
He is a member of UC Berkeley’s Vision Science, Neuroscience and Bioengineering graduate programs. He is a Fellow of the Optical Society of America and of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology. Notable awards are the Glenn Fry Award from the American Academy of Optometry (2009), John Guggenheim Fellowship (2014), Alcon Research Institute Award (2016) and a Leverhulme Visiting Professorship at Oxford University (2020).