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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…

July 24th

Joselyne Calvillo, BS

Joselyne Calvillo is a second-year optometry student, and a Berkeley Optometry Student Ambassador. She was born and raised in Sacramento, California. In 2017, Joselyne completed her undergraduate studies at Sonoma State University where she obtained her Bachelors of Science degree in Molecular and Cellular Biology. After graduating, she wanted to get work experience prior to continuing her education. Joselyne gained experience in the field through employment in both private optometry and ophthalmology clinics for five years.

As a first generation Mexican-American, Joselyne held the responsibility of accompanying family members to medical appointments and assisting with translation. She was able to see the disparity between minorities and access to quality healthcare. With this in mind, she knew she wanted to dedicate her life to bridging this gap in healthcare. Joselyne shadowed many medical professionals in a variety of fields – looking for the one that lit a spark within. She was in search of a career that not only would allow her to help those most in need but also result in a meaningful connection with her patients. This spark came while working in eyecare. She saw the meaningful connections that Optometrists held with their patients and was especially impressed to learn that many patients had the same doctor since childhood!

When applying to Optometry School, her top two priorities were proximity to home and small class sizes. She found the perfect fit with Berkeley Optometry! The small class size has allowed her to get to know her instructors, connect with classmates, and obtain help from both whenever needed. During the process of applying to optometry school, she received guidance from the admissions team and current students. They have helped pave her path which allowed her to be where she is today. She is excited to give back to other pre-optometry students from similar backgrounds and provide honest opinions about applying and life as an Optometry Student!

July 25th

Karsten Gronert, PhD

Dr. Karsten Gronert joined the University of California, Berkeley Faculty in 2007, was tenured in 2011 and promoted to Professor in the School of Optometry in 2014. He was Chair of the Vision Science Graduate Program (2014-2018). He is also a member of the Infectious Diseases and Immunity Program at UC Berkeley. His research interests are focused on elucidating the role and regulation of intrinsic lipid circuits that control healthy & routine execution of ocular surface immune responses and maintain homeostasis & neuroprotection in the retina.

July 26th

Kerri Yoshiyama, OD, FAAO

Dr. Kerri Yoshiyama is an optometrist specializing in primary care and ocular disease. She serves as the Assistant Clinic Director at the UC Berkeley School of Optometry, and teaches at all levels of clinical optometry from first year through residency. Her primary focus is on clinical curriculum development, clinical student educational support, and infectious disease policy and prevention. Prior to her time in Berkeley, Dr. Yoshiyama has worked within the Palo Alto VA Healthcare system, served as an Associate Clinical Professor at the New England College of Optometry, and was the Director of Eye Care Services at the Geiger-Gibson Community Health Center. Her research interests include optometric education and utilizing novel teaching methods and technologies to enhance learning. She has been an invited speaker at the American Academy of Optometry (AAO) Clinical Education Symposium and at various Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO) meetings and events. She currently serves on the ASCO Government Affairs Committee.

July 27th

Sir Colin Blakemore, PhD

Colin Blakemore, PhD was born in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1944. Educated at King Henry VIII School in Coventry, he received a first-class degree in medical sciences from Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, England. He completed his PhD in Physiological Optics at the University of California, Berkeley in 1968. Dr. Blakemore also held Doctor of Science degrees from both Oxford and Cambridge, and all told, ten honorary degrees. Sir Colin Blakemore’s research was focused on many aspects of vision, development, plasticity of the brain, and neurodegenerative disease. He also sought to define the developmental errors that underlie cognitive disorders, such as autism, dyslexia, and schizophrenia. Another area of research analyzed the brain’s capacity to reorganize sensory areas of the cortex during selective attention, information integration, and after the onset of blindness. He also investigated the cellular pathogenesis of Huntington’s disease.

Dr. Blakemore’s devotion to public engagement has been widely recognized and highly valued. He was awarded the Royal Society Michael Faraday Prize and Medal (1989) for his exemplary ability to communicate science to the public, and was described by the Royal Society as “one of Britain’s most influential communicators of science. Colin Blakemore’s service to the profession was exemplary, serving as President of the British Neuroscience Association, the Physiological Society, and the Biosciences Federation (now the Society of Biology). He was President (and remains a Fellow) of the British Association for the Advancement of Science (now the British Science Association) in 1997–98 and Chair of Council 2001–03. He was a Fellow of the Royal Society and the Academy of Medical Sciences, and an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, the British Pharmacological Society, the Society of Biology, and the Royal Society of Medicine.

Sir Colin Blakemore died on June 27, 2022 in Oxford, England at age 78 of ALS. In the 100 years of Berkeley Optometry and 70 years of the Physiological Optics, now Vision Science, PhD program, no graduate has reached a higher standing in academic and scientific circles: Waynflete Professor of Physiology at Oxford University and head of the Medical Research Council, the UK equivalent of our NIH. Colin did his PhD research on what was then the second floor of Minor Hall, and his affiliation with Berkeley was confirmed by his election to the School of Optometry Hall of Fame in 2014 and being awarded the Berkeley Haas International Award by the Chancellor in 2015.

The paper that arose from his dissertation “The Neural Basis of Stereopsis,” written with Horace Barlow and Jack Pettigrew, and instrumental in the election of all three to the Fellowship of the Royal Society (F.R.S.), is perhaps the single most prominent publication based on visual neurophysiological research in any optometry school, a precursor and harbinger of future developments enabled by Dr. Herbert Wertheim’s endowment of a chair in neuro-optometry at Berkeley.

July 28th

Josephine D’Angelo, BS

Josephine is a vision science student who was born in Washington and raised in New York, NY. She studied Neurobiology at the University of Washington in Seattle, WA. After graduating, she taught English in Mohammedia, Morocco for the school year. She also lived in NYC where she worked in cancer research at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. She loves reading articles, asking questions, and discussing research with fellow science-lovers, and this led her to pursue a PhD. She plans to learn as much as she can during her studies so that she can use her research and skills to improve our understanding of vision. She is fascinated by how the visual system processes information from the world and how this gives rise to perception. She is also intrigued by the role of eye movements. Her goal is to study hard and gain the necessary skills to become a vision scientist. She hopes to contribute to the field. She enjoys running, biking, hiking, listening to live music, and trying out new bakeries.

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