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ARVO 2018 says ‘Aloha!’ to Hawaii for annual event

Digital EditionVol. 43 No. 06
Volume 43
Issue 06

Clinical researchers, experts share the latest news in vision research, focusing on the power of genetic therapy

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.


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. 




  • Primate retina and visual brain, 3:15 to 5 p.m.


  • Implementation science in ophthalmology, 8:15 to 10 a.m.

  • 20/20 visual acuity is not enough – again, 11:15 a.m. to 1 p.m.

  • Circadian clocks in retinal health and diseases, 11:15 a.m. to 1 p.m.

  • Targeting mitochondrial dysfunction in retinal and optic nerve disease, 11:15 a.m. to 1 p.m.

  • What’s new in glaucoma imaging? 11:15 a.m. to 1 p.m.

  • Corneal regeneration in health and disease, 3:30 to 5:15 p.m.

  • From optics to electronics: New technologies for improving vision in health and disease, 3:30 to 5:15 p.m.


  • Molecular and cellular insights into lens and cornea regeneration, 8:15 to 10 a.m.

  • The nuts and bolts of novel drug development, 8:15 to 10 a.m.

  • Metabolic regulation of ocular immune responses, 11:15 a.m. to 1 p.m.

  • Vergence eye movements and strabismus, 3:30 to 5:15 p.m.


  • Treatment on the horizon for Fuchs endothelial corneal dystrophy, 8:15 to 10 a.m.

  • Why cancer inflames the eye, 11:15 a.m. to 1 p.m.


  • Retinal lipid and glucose metabolism in health and disease, 11 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.

Breakfast with an Expert

Learn while having bite to eat first thing in the morning! Breakfast with an Expert sessions will be held Wednesday from 6:45 to 8:15 a.m. Here’s the lineup:

  • Van Lansingh, MD, PhD: How to start your international career and contacts

  • Diane Bovenkamp, PhD: Private/non-profit funding opportunities for early-career scientists

  • Philip I. Murray, PhD, FRCP, FRCS, FRCOphth: Effective communication: tips for presenting and publishing

  • Pinakin Gunvant Davey, OD, PhD: Career options after graduate and professional school: academia, industry or hybrid

  • Haiyan Gong, MD, PhD: Transitioning from student to post-doc to faculty

  • Julia Busik, PhD: Your dream experiment just worked! What’s next? How to sell it in papers and grants

  • Katrina Schmid, PhD: Developing your teaching portfolio

  • Randy Kardon, MD, PhD, FARVO: Can I still have it all? How to successfully combine clinical ophthalmology and research and still be fully funded in 2018

  • Thomas W. Gardner, MD, MS: Translational research

  • Mark Radford, MD, PhD, FRANZCO: Thinking outside the box: Alternative careers for the clinician scientist or researcher

  • Maureen G. Maguire, PhD: How do I fit in and thrive? For biostatisticians and epidemiologists in vision research

  • Xiaoying Zhu, OD, MD, PhD, MS, FAAO: Developing a Career as a Clinician Scientist

  • Ann Logan BSc, PGCE, PhD: Setting up spinoffs and conducting commercial research from an academic lab

  • Miller J. Ogidigben, PhD, FARVO: Careers in industry

  • Robert AH Scott MBBS, FRCS(Ed), FRCOphth, DM: Connecting clinical practice with research

  • Tonia S. Rex, PhD: Balancing family and career

  • Jacque L. Duncan, MD: Applying to ophthalmology residency programs

  • David R. Williams, PhD: Maximizing scientific achievement

  • Subhabrata Chakrabarti, PhD: Choosing your niche in research


Cross-sectional Group Sessions

For attendees whose interests are not easily defined by just one section, consider these cross-sectional platform sessions. Check online for times.


  • Visible Light OCT: Get updates on visible OCT’s limitations and future directions.


  • Making good on the promise of genetics for eye diseases: The successes and challenges along the translational pathway: Explore how genetic knowledge is changing management of hereditary eye diseases and how we can overcome the challenges of genomic medicine.


  • Implementing low vision service: This session will focus on providing low vision services in mid- and low-income settings, improving access and reducing barriers to access, and how research can influence policy decisions and service implementation.


Saturday, 6:15 p.m.: ARVO Foundation and Dowling Society Gala at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach. This event will honor individuals and organizations who have shown dedication to the ARVO Foundation.  
Sunday, 6 to 7:30 p.m.: Luau-themed Sunday Social on the Rooftop Garden. Enjoy Hawaiian food, drinks, and music. Cost of $15 includes admission and two drinks.
Monday, 7:30 to 9 p.m.: Student/Trainee Social. Members-in-training are invited to help honor 2018 travel and research grant recipients and meet members of the ARVO Board of Trustees.
Tuesday, 1:30 to 3 p.m. The Annual Women in Eye and Vision Research Luncheon. To be held at the Ala Moana Hotel, this fundraising event for the ARVO Foundation, open to all genders, will feature prominent scientists from around the world as guest speakers.
Wednesday, 8 to 10 p.m. ARVO Classical Concert at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. In this long-time ARVO tradition, members perform classical selections at this free event.
Wednesday, 9 p.m. to midnight: ARVO Karaoke Night. Come out for light snacks, great drinks, and fun at the Sheraton Princess Kaiulani! Admission fee of $10 includes one drink.
Thursday, 10:15 to 11 a.m. Vancouver Welcomes ARVO 2019 Kick-Off Reception. Join ARVO and Tourism Vancouver as they look forward to the 2019 Annual Meeting, April 28-May 2.


Sunday, 1 to 2:30 p.m.

  • Pizza with the experts (for young members)

  • Experimental design for optimal animal research in the age of the “reproducibility crisis”

  • Grant writing: How to get your proposals funded

  • Chinese Ophthalmological Society – molecular biology & biochemistry of lens and retina

Monday, 1:30 to 3 p.m.

  • NIH-CSR: Information and expectations for the peer review of grant applications

  • China-ARVO Networking Forum

  • Civic and community engagement for stronger science: Effective communication strategies

  • Multi-omics, mechanisms and stratification – paradigms for understanding and targeting immune responses in disease

  • Keys to writing manuscripts and determining where to publish  

Tuesday, 1:30 to 3 p.m.

  • Bridging and bootstrapping in today’s risk averse environment

  • Clinician-Scientist Forum: How to become a successful clinician-scientist

  • How to promote vision research to patients and policymakers in different regions of the world  

  • Addressing global blindness and eye diseases through international research

Wednesday, 1:30 to 3 p.m.

  • Understanding the NEI granting process

  • Making ARVO more accessible: Experience from countries with emerging vision-oriented research agenda

  • The path from bench to bedside: Professional development and entrepreneurship

  • Data sharing: Clinical science in the era of artificial intelligence  



Sunday, 1 to 2:30 p.m.

  • Retinal microglia in degenerative diseases: Why function matters

  • A Matter of Life or Death: Regulation of RGC Survival by Glia and Interneurons

  • Update on clinical gene therapy trials for inherited retinal diseases

  • Extracellular Vesicles and the Anterior Segment

  • Toward Guidelines for Mouse Electroretinography

  • Biomarkers and Surrogate Endpoints in Ophthalmic Clinical Research

  • Delivery of therapeutics to ocular tissues

Monday, 1:30 to 3 p.m.

  • Telemedicine and Artificial Intelligence using Deep Learning Systems to Screen and Monitor Diabetic Retinopathy, Glaucoma and Age-related Macular Degeneration using Different Imaging Modalities

  • Phagocytic mechanisms in ocular tissues: from physiological to pathological processes

  • Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplementation for Dry Eye Disease: Data on Efficacy and Safety from the Dry Eye Assessment and Management (DREAM©) Study

  • Managing Patients with Diabetic Macular Edema, Diabetic Retinopathy, Neovascular and Non-Neovascular AMD, and Retinal Vein Occlusion: How to Best Utilize the Latest Data from Clinical Trials

  • Eye and Brain - the interrelationship and pathology

  • Membrane dynamics in RPE health and disease

  • The Lasker/IRRF Initiative for Innovation in Vision Science: Glaucoma and Diabetic Retinopathy

Tuesday, 1:30 to 3 p.m.

  • Objective Quantification of Intraocular Inflammation: Using Newer Technologies to Overcome an Old Challenge

  • Next-Gen Autofluorescence Imaging – Let’s Get Ready

  • Immune tolerance in steady state and ocular surface/corneal diseases

  • Molecular Imaging of the Retina in Health and Disease

  • Optical Coherence Tomography Angiography of the Eye

  • Gene therapy of glaucoma

  • Lipid and Lipid Targeted Therapies for Eye Diseases- past, present and future

  • The Lasker/IRRF Initiative for Innovation in Vision Science: Restoring Vision to the Blind and Amblyopia

Wednesday, 1:30 to 3 p.m.

  • Animal Models of Ocular Trauma

  • Biobanking with a Purpose: Advancing Research in Ophthalmology

  • Regenerative Medicine Wnt Signaling and Retinal Vascular Disease

  • Optical Coherence Tomography and Ophthalmic Surgery: New Visualizations, Functional Analysis, and Enabling Robotic Assistance

  • Patient report outcome measures (PROMs) in clinical glaucoma research: refining current tools, exploring new opportunities and improving means of data capture and analysis

  • Ontology and Common Data Elements for Collaborative Research in Ophthalmology

  • Phagocytosis in the outflow pathway: what we can learn from other ocular tissues

  • Mechanisms and therapies for corneal endothelial dysfunction

Pre-Meeting Education Courses

Several courses will be held on Saturday before ARVO officially kicks off. Separate registration is required for each.

  • Big Data: Principles to Practical Application, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
    Big Data” is a big buzzword in healthcare today. The use of Big Data for improving healthcare outcomes and controlling costs shows significant promise. This course will help participants define what Big Data is, describe the Big Data sets available in vision research, explain the analytic methods behind Big Data, and summarize the potential applications of Big Data.
  • Gene Editing with CRISPR: From discovery to therapy, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
    In the current era of personalized medicine, a large number of genetic variants in patients with various diseases using next generation sequencing have been identified. Recent advances in genetic engineering, genotyping, high-resolution imaging and biomarker testing have made it easier to deliver the right treatments to the right patients at the right time. This course presents an overview of CRISPR technology from the leading experts who have pioneered it in other disciplines, followed by examples in eye and vision science and practical applications.
  • Inherited Retinal Diseases: Divergent Viewpoints of Pathogenesis and Treatment, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
    Inherited retinal diseases are a group of eye disorders caused by an inherited gene mutation and can cause vision loss or blindness. The primary goal of this course is to discuss opposing viewpoints related to the various treatment strategies for inherited retinal diseases. Further, learners will be able to identify and debate different clinical and research topics in the area of inherited retinal diseases. Perspectives on the use of stem cells and gene-directed therapy will be emphasized. In addition, the primary mechanism of retinal degeneration in patients with Stargardt disease will be discussed.
  • Introduction to AMD: Current research and therapeutics, 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
    This course will examine key clinical and pathological findings in AMD. Genetic insights will be highlighted, including the discovery of key biochemical pathways. Potential new therapies that could interrupt these pathways also will be explored.

Mark Your Calendar

Future ARVO Meetings
2019: April 28-May 2 ‒ Vancouver
2020: May 3-7 ‒ Baltimore
2021: May 2-6 ‒ San Francisco
2022: May 1-5 ‒ Denver

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