eCommunication from the International Society for Eye Research
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ISER Eyes on the World -- Newsletter from the International Society for Eye Research
Volume 7, Issue 1 / April 2017
President's Message · Meeting Liaison · Fundraising Committee ·  Membership Committee ·  Young Investigator Representative · Communications Committee · Featured Eye Photo ·  Administrative Update · Lab Profile · ARVO
John S. Penn, PhD

President's Message

March for Science

On April 22nd, Earth Day, scientists around the world will gather to march. To paraphrase the March for Science website, the goal of these marches is to celebrate our passion for science and to offer a collective call to support and safeguard the world’s scientific community.

Satellite marches are being organized by volunteers around the world. ISER members who wish to connect with local organizers, stay up to date with the latest march information, donate to fund the March nearest to you, or offer to volunteer for a march in your region, should visit March for Science.

Save the date: Atlanta Glaucoma Symposium

ISER and BrightFocus Foundation will co-sponsor a symposium entitled “Basic Science Catalyzing Treatments for Glaucoma” in Atlanta, GA, at the Emory Conference Center, October 5-8, 2017. The scientific program organizers are Drs. Dan Stamer, Ross Ethier and Rob Nickells. Please visit ISER-BrightFocus Atlanta for more details.

Save the date: Belfast in 2018

The date and location have been set for the ISER XXIII Biennial Meeting, which will take place in Belfast, Northern Ireland, September 9-13, 2018. This will be the ninth time an ISER Congress/Biennial Meeting has been held in Europe, but first time ISER has held a meeting in the United Kingdom. The local organizers are Drs. Alan Stitt of Queen’s University, Belfast, and Roy Quinlan of Durham University. ISER members will be solicited for platform session topics in late spring or summer of 2017; watch for email announcements. We look forward to another outstanding Biennial Meeting.

ISER 2020

A note on the ISER XXIV Biennial Meeting… Keeping with our long-standing tradition of rotating ISER meeting locations throughout the world, the ISER Council will select a site in the Western Hemisphere to host the XXIV Biennial Meeting, planned for the summer or autumn of 2020. Our last two meetings in this hemisphere were held in North America – Montreal in 2010 and San Francisco in 2014. Accordingly, we are focused on sites in Central or South America. Stay tuned for more information soon.

John S. Penn, PhD
ISER President

Meeting Liaison Report

ISER is increasing its congress activities and the current focus is the establishment of the Glaucoma satellite meeting that will take place this October in Atlanta. Also, the Biennial ISER congress is already gaining more and more profile.

ISER/BrightFocus Glaucoma Meeting Atlanta

October 5–8, 2017
Emory Conference Center
Atlanta, GA
Organizers Dan Stamer, Ross Ethier and Robert Nickells have put together an exciting program for the ISER/BrightFocus meeting under the headline “Basic Science Catalyzing Treatments for Glaucoma”. The program includes six keynote lectures from leading scientists in glaucoma research. These lectures cover insights into future strategies to find new treatments. Janey Wiggs (Harvard Medical School) will talk about the search for targets based on genetic analysis. This will be complemented by a presentation by Don Zack (Wilmer Eye Institute, Johns Hopkins University) about the new screening approaches for targets in neuroprotection. Ernst Tamm (Regensburg, Germany) will integrate molecular approaches into a functional pathology of aqueous humor outflow homeostasis. Another area of keynote lectures is the monitoring of disease progression by in vivo analysis of ganglion cells presented by Balwantray Chauhan (Halifax, Canada) or by glaucoma imaging presented by Leopold Schmetterer (Vienna, Austria). An interdisciplinary talk about the potential role angiopoetin receptor TEK mutations in glaucoma by Susan Quaggin will open new horizons in research. Around these plenary lectures a program of platform and poster sessions will be developed from the abstracts that are accepted. Abstract submissions will open soon (deadline June 30th). A special focus will be given to young investigators by special YI sessions and the YI travel fellowship awards (deadline June 2nd). The meeting is made possible by the generous collaboration with BrightFocus. This collaboration does not only include financial support, but also the development of attractive new program structures, such as the BrightFocus Glaucoma Fast Track workshop October 5th. Here graduate students, young postdocs and early-stage scientists in glaucoma research come together with leading experts in the glaucoma field to immerse themselves in the latest knowledge and discoveries, start networks with experts and YIs and engage in scientific discussions. The experts that support the Fast Track are Ernst Tamm, Janey Wiggs, Daniel Stamer, Claude Burgoyne, Shandiz Tehrani, Abbot Clark and Robert Nickells.
  • April 12 – Abstracts open
  • June 2 – Travel award abstracts close
  • June 8 – Pre-registration opens
  • June 30 – Regular abstracts close
  • September 13 – Pre-registration closes
Learn more about the ISER/Brightfocus 2017 Glaucoma Meeting »

ISER Biennial Meeting in Belfast

September 9–13, 2018
Belfast, Northern Ireland

Although still one and a half years ahead, the local organizes Alan Stitt and Roy Quinlan are already in full action organizing the next Biennial Meeting in Belfast. The focus is currently on the selection of topic organizers and later on of session organizers. The selection of topics will give the next ISER congress an individual profile that will focus on recent developments and breakthroughs in eye research. Through the unique organization structure of the ISER congress, the upcoming sessions will represent a lineup of interdisciplinary special interest groups on exciting topics. Here the local organizers will take up the key-elements of the last meeting in Tokyo that was one of the most successful meetings in the history of ISER.
Olaf Straus, PhD
ISER Meeting Liaison

Message from the Fundraising Committee

Get involved!

ISER promotes eye and vision research by holding scientific meetings at venues throughout the world, through its official journal, Experimental Eye Research, and by focusing resources on the development, mentoring and support of young investigators.
This is a lot of work done but there is still a lot of work to be done… and we need everyone’s help.
Contribute to ISER mission helping to identify individual and institutional donors to support the eye and vision research community, particularly young researchers. Get involved!

Juana Gallar, MD, PhD
ISER Fundraising Committee, Chair

News from the Membership Committee

ISER membership and meeting attendance provides great opportunities for young scientists to meet international experts in their fields of research, establish collaborations and investigate employment options.
ISER members receive discounted meeting registration rates for biennial and off-year meetings, including the upcoming ISER/BFF meeting being held this October at the Emory Conference Center in Atlanta! Stay tuned for registration information, and take advantage of your membership benefit by registering at a reduced rate.
We encourage all members to support new investigators in their laboratories by inspiring them to join ISER, submit abstracts and attend ISER’s international congress and off-year meetings.

Muayyad R. Al-Ubaidi, PhD
ISER Membership Committee Chair

Report from the Young Investigator Representative

Greetings ISER Community,
My name is Sandra Hammer and I am thrilled and honored to serve as ISER’s Young Investigator (YI) Representative. I started attending ISER meetings in 2012 as a graduate student in John Penn’s lab at Vanderbilt University. Currently, I am conducting my postdoctoral training in the lab of Julia Busik at Michigan State University. My research focuses on diabetes-induced vision complications and the molecular mechanisms that lead to early progression of Diabetic Retinopathy. Being able to attend ISER meetings has afforded me the opportunity to learn from and interact with some of the greatest vision scientists from around the world. Being part of the ISER community is something that I am very grateful to be able to experience as a trainee.
If I had to pick my favorite ISER conference it would have to be the 2016 meeting in Tokyo. It was during this meeting that I became motivated to run for the prestigious YI Representative position. After experiencing all the fantastic events organized for trainees, I knew I had to be an active force in making it possible for future YIs to benefit from these events as much as I did. As your YI representative, I want to ensure that events like the poster competition and Synopsis Blog continue to thrive and I want to create new opportunities and events tailored specifically for early career scientists. I am excited and grateful to have been given the opportunity to serve as the YI Representative for ISER and cannot wait to get to work!
See you all in Belfast 2018!
Sandra S. Hammer
ISER Young Investigator Representative

News from the Communications Committee

Reminder! ISER's Eye2Eye Discussion Forum is an open forum where ISER members can ask a question, request feedback, and discover new resources! Find out how others are resolving challenging issues, contribute to your colleagues' body of knowledge, and expand your own knowledge through shared experiences and ideas.
Email the ISER Listserv »

Get connected! Follow ISER on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn! 

ISER on LinkedIn
ISER on Twitter
ISER on Facebook
And see below for the Featured Eye Photo, brought to you by ISER’s Communication Committee!
Gerry A. Lutty, PhD
ISER, Communications Committee Chair

Featured Eye Photo

Cathy Cheng – Figure Legend 

Lens fiber cells develop complex membrane interdigitations, which are hypothesized to be important for lens mechanical integrity. Fiber cells form small protrusions and large interlocking paddle domains between tightly opposed neighboring cells. We studied changes in cell morphology due to loss of tropomodulin 1 (Tmod1), an F-actin pointed-end capping protein, using a novel method to isolate and immunostain of lens fiber cells. This image shows a 3D reconstruction of a single wild-type lens fiber cell demonstrating that interlocking protrusions and paddles are rich in F-actin (teal) with Tmod1 (green) and β2-spectrin (magenta) along the membrane in distinct puncta. Confocal z-stacks were collected through fiber cells and rendered in Volocity 6.3 using the 3D opacity function (scale bar, 4μm).

This image was captured by Catherine Cheng at The Scripps Research Institute. Our work was recently published in Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science showing that distinct F-actin organizations are present in fiber cell interdigitations and that the formation/maintenance of large paddles between fiber cells depends on the β2-spectrin-actin network stabilized by Tmod1 (Cheng C, et al. IOVS, 2016; 57(10): 4084-4099).

Administrative Update

Career Center

ISER members can post and view career opportunities on the ISER website. To request a career opportunity be posted on the ISER website, please email your request to the ISER Secretariat at Postings remain live for 90 days, or until the position has been filled. Visit the ISER Career Center for complete details.
Visit ISER Career Center »

Lab Profile

Paulus Lab

Paulus Lab

Outer ring clockwise from top left:
Rachel Levenson, Chao Tian, PhD, Aghapi Mordovanakis, PhD, Anji Li, Wei Zhang, Tapan P. Patel, MD, PhD, Kate Davis, MD, Tyson Kim, MD, PhD, Patrick Li, Alex Addiego, Jose Davila, Patrick Commiskey,
Zizhong Hu, Madison Tarnowski, Arjun Ponduri, Anna John, Haonan Zhang, Gina Yu, Ahmed Almazroa, PhD, Jia Li, Alex Butterwick, PhD

Center photo left to right:
Tapan Patel, Mia Woodward, Tyson Kim,
Haonan Zhang, Jia Li, Yannis Paulus, Aghapi Mordovanakis, Chao Tian, Patrick Li
The Paulus lab at the University of Michigan, Kellogg Eye Center, is a multi-disciplinary group dedicated to improving the vision of patients suffering from eye diseases through applying biomedical engineering, lasers, optics, ultrasound, physics, and mathematical modeling to develop novel retinal imaging systems and laser therapies. We seek to improve early disease diagnosis, improve treatment monitoring, and practice more individualized medicine tailored to each patient through molecular imaging.

We have developed a novel, multimodal molecular imaging system to visualize individual capillaries and neovascularization of the eye using a safe energy level that incorporates photoacoustic microscopy (PAM), optical coherence tomography (OCT), and fluorescence microscopy. Using contrast agents, we evaluate markers for the early detection of choroidal and retinal neovascularization. This work will allow physicians to practice individualized medicine through providing real-time, in vivo molecular information. It will also improve our understanding of the pathophysiology of neovascularization in diseases such as macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy.

The lab is also developing a novel treatment using a combination of nanosecond pulse duration laser with ultrasound to selectively treat blood vessels without damaging surrounding tissue called photo-mediated ultrasound therapy (PUT). The Paulus lab is also developing a non-dilated, high-quality, smartphone-based retinal fundus imaging camera for the screening of diabetic retinopathy and other tele-medicine applications. We welcome collaborations and have numerous interdisciplinary collaborations, both at other institutions and at the University of Michigan in the departments of Biomedical Engineering, Radiology, and Chemical Engineering. You can visit us online at: or contact
If you would like to submit a Lab Profile for a future ISER Eyes on The World issue, please email

ARVO 2017 Meeting Information

ARVO 2017 · May 7–11· Baltimore, MD

ARVO 2017

May 7–11, Baltimore, MD
Join your colleagues in discovering the latest research in all areas of eye and vision science.
  • ARVO 2017 Opening Keynote by Mary-Claire King, PhD, professor of medical genetics at the University of Washington
  • Beckman-Argyros Award in Vision Research Lecture by Jeremy Nathans, MD, PhD of Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine
  • ARVO/Champalimaud Vision Award Lecture by 2016 Awardees Speakers Carol Mason and Carla Shatz
  • Closing Keynote panel entitled: What’s next in the investigation of genetics of age-related macular degeneration?
Register today for early bird discounts! Register for ARVO 2017 by April 28 and save $25 USD.
View ARVO 2017 Program »
ARVO Online Education · Learn more
ISER/BrightFocus 2017 Glaucoma Symposium
Renew your ISER membership - Pay dues online now
ISER Officers:

President – John Penn, PhD
Immediate Past President – Steven Fliesler, PhD
Secretary – Tailoi Chan-Ling, PhD
Treasurer – Christine McGahan, PhD
Vice-Presidents (Europe) – Juana Gallar, MD, 
PhD and Roy Quinlan, PhD
Vice-Presidents (Asia-Pacific) – Frank Lovicu, 
PhD, FARVO and Choun-Ki Joo, MD, PhD
Vice-Presidents (Americas) – Muayyad Al-Ubaidi, 
PhD and Elena Semina, PhD
Young Investigator Representative – Sandra Hammer, PhD

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