It’s been six years since the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) decided to unmoor its annual meeting from Fort Lauderdale, FL, and start rotating around the country. This year’s destination is sure to appeal to many people: Honolulu.
The meeting, set for Sunday, April 29 through Thursday, May 3, will include 11,000 international basic and clinical researchers sharing the latest news in vision research. Attendees can also enjoy beautiful beaches, warm weather, and a vibrant city filled with activities while visiting, of course!
Here are some of the highlights planned for this year’s meeting.
KEYNOTES AND LECTURES
ARVO Alcon Keynote Session
Monday, 5:30 to 6:45 p.m.
Jennifer Doudna, PhD, will deliver the keynote speech, “CRISPR-Cas Gene Editing: Biology, Technology and Ethics.”
As an internationally renowned professor of chemistry and molecular and cell biology at UC Berkeley, Dr. Doudna and her colleagues described a simple way of editing the DNA of any organism using an RNA-guided protein found in bacteria in 2012. This technology, called CRISPR-Cas9, has opened the floodgates of possibility for human and non-human applications of gene editing, including assisting researchers in the fight against HIV, sickle cell disease, and muscular dystrophy.
According to ARVO, gene editing with CRISPR technology is transforming biology. Dr. Doudna will discuss how bacterial CRISPR adaptive immune systems inspire creation of powerful genome engineering tools, enabling advances in both fundamental biology and applications in medicine. She also will discuss the ethical challenges of these applications.
Thursday, 2:15 to 3:45 p.m.
Shoukhrat Mitalipov, PhD, will speak on the topic “Principles of gene repair in human embryos.”
Dr. Mitalipov is director of the Center for Embryonic Cell and Gene Therapy of Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) and a professor in the Division of Reproductive and Developmental Sciences at Oregon National Primate Research Center, OHSU. Dr. Mitalipov’s research interest is to understand the mechanisms of cytoplasmic control of nuclear genome identity and reprogramming of somatic cells to the totipotent and pluripotent states.
Another objective is to develop novel germline gene therapy approaches for the treatment of inherited human diseases. He is investigating novel germ line gene therapy approaches that would allow for the repair of gene defects in mutant gametes or early pre-implantation embryos. This lecture will discuss applications of gene editing and gene replacement strategies in preclinical and clinical studies demonstrating feasibility, efficacy, and long-term safety of germ line gene therapy.
Sunday, 8:15 to 10:15 a.m.
- Proteostasis networks: Challenges and therapeutic opportunities for ocular diseases: Learn the pathways, translational opportunities, and challenges for the management of eye diseases offered by targeting Proteostasis networks.
- Ocular and Systemic Circadian Rhythms: Implications in Vision Research Organizers: Consider how circadian rhythms and diurnal patterns affect the eye and other systemic processes.
Thursday, 8:15 to 10:15 a.m.
- In Galileo’s Footsteps: visualizing immunity: Explore the novel methods that have emerged in recent years that allow clinicians and scientists to directly image immune-mediated events.
- Neuronal Health in AMD and Glaucoma: Lifestyle-based Therapies to Live Long and Prosper: Learn about the involvement of oxidative stress and mitochondria in exercise, epidemiology, and epigenetics, and the biochemistry of diet and nutritional interventions.