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At right, Dr. Gustavo Aguirre receives the Proctor Medal from ARVO Board Trustee Steven J. Fliesler

Translational Retinal Research & Therapies Symposium

Penn Vet is proud to announce a half-day symposium on Translational Retinal Research and Therapies on Thursday November 16, 2017, held in honor of Dr. Gustavo Aguirre, recipient of ARVO's 2017 Proctor Medal.
The symposium brings together a group of internationally recognized scientists and clinician scientists to present the latest research in areas of retinal disease gene discovery, disease mechanisms, viral vector development and applications, translational studies in animal models, and clinical applications.

The symposium will provide an ideal opportunity for networking between international authorities in these areas of scientific endeavor and more junior members of the profession.

Thursday, November 16, 2017    
1:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Penn Vet
Vernon & Shirley Hill Pavilion, Main Floor
380 South University Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Refreshments will be provided. Please join us for the cocktail reception following the symposium.

Please register for the symposium here.

Dr. Gustavo Aguirre

Gustavo Aguirre, VMD, PhD

  • Professor of Medical Genetics and Ophthalmology, Penn Vet
  • Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists.
  • Dr. Aguirre works with dog models of inherited eye and retinal degeneration.
  • Lab research focus: model identification, disease gene discovery, establishing disease metrics and defining molecular pathways linking the gene and mutation to the disease, and developing gene-based and other therapies for translational applications.
Dr. William Beltran

William Beltran, DVM, PhD

  • Associate Professor of Ophthalmology, Penn Vet
  • Diplomate, European College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists
  • Dr. Beltran has more than 15 years of research experience in the field of retinal degeneration.
  • Lab research focus: characterizing canine models of inherited retinal degenerative diseases with a specific emphasis on models of ciliopathy (RPGR X-linked retinitis pigmentosa, NPHP5-LCA) and a model of RHO autosomal dominant retinitis pigmentosa (RHO-ADRP).
  • Ongoing projects in his laboratory are aimed at characterizing the link between mutation and photoreceptor cell death, and testing novel treatment modalities such as corrective gene therapy, neuroprotective agents, and the use of optogenetic/optochemical tools, that could ultimately be translated to human patients.
Dr. John Flannery

John Flannery, PhD

  • Professor of Optometry and Vision Science, University of California - Berkeley
  • Associate Director at the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute
  • Research: Focused on understanding the genetic and biochemical underpinnings of inherited retinal degenerations and designing genetic therapies for these blinding conditions.
  • Laboratory group expertise: Developing viral vectors for gene therapy and gene transfer to retinal neurons, epithelia and glia. Developed small animal models of retinal degenerations and treatments for these conditions for over 30 years.
Dr. Alison Hardcastle

Alison Hardcastle, PhD

  • Professor of Molecular Genetics, University College of London.
  • Lab research focus: Inherited eye disease, from gene discovery to defining cellular function through to development of potential therapies. Our molecular genetic, functional and phenotypic studies have continually resulted in new discoveries that influence patient care.
  • We have defined genetic mechanisms of disease and function of disease proteins in the retina, lens, cornea and developing eye, and have harnessed technological advances in next generation sequencing and stem cell biology to address our research questions.
Dr. Samuel Jacobson

Samuel G. Jacobson, MD, PhD

  • Professor of Ophthalmology, Scheie Eye Institute of the University of Pennsylvania
  • Research focus: Human genetic retinal degenerations to decipher the complex retinal response to genetic injury. This clinical research has been accelerated by the longstanding and strong collaboration with Dr. Gustavo D. Aguirre, whose basic science and translational research built the bridge to the clinic.
  • Dr. Jacobson designed the first NEI/NIH-sponsored human clinical trial to treat a childhood-onset retinal blindness, and led a multidisciplinary team that safely and successfully improved patients’ vision.
  • With consortiums of investigators he now is planning or performing treatment trials for many forms of syndromic and non-syndromic retinal degenerations.
Dr. José-Alain Sahel

José-Alain Sahel, MD, PhD

  • Chair, Department of Ophthalmology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
  • Director of the UPMC Eye Center
  • Chair of Ophthalmology, Eye and Ear Foundation
  • Dr. Sahel is known worldwide for his expertise in vision restoration techniques. He has developed several interventions— including stem cell implantation, gene therapy, innovative pharmacologic approaches, and the artificial retina—for retinitis pigmentosa, age-related macular degeneration, vascular eye disease, and other vision impairments that currently are untreatable.
  • Over the past decade he has led pioneering efforts in optogenetic vision restoration, a technique in which cells in the retina are genetically modified to express light sensitive proteins. This therapeutic technique has the potential to help patients who are blind or visually impaired as a result of a genetic defect.
  • Dr. Sahel also brings a strong neuroscience perspective to ophthalmology research, such as exploring the application of brain-computer interface technology.
Dr. Paul Sieving

Paul Sieving, MD, PhD

  • Director, National Eye Institute, NIH
  • Dr. Sieving became director of the National Eye Institute, NIH, in 2001. He came from the University of Michigan Medical School where he was the Paul R. Lichter Professor of Ophthalmic Genetics and the founding director of the Center for Retinal and Macular Degeneration in the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences.
  • Dr. Sieving is known internationally for studies of human progressive blinding genetic retinal neurodegenerations, including retinitis pigmentosa, and rodent models of these conditions.
Division of Experimental Retinal Therapies
Dr. Gustavo Aguirre

Gustavo Aguirre, VMD, PhD

  • Professor of Medical Genetics and Ophthalmology, Penn Vet
  • Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists.
  • Research Areas: Best Macular Dystrophy (BMD), Gene therapy, Inherited diseases, Ophthalmology, Retinal Degeneration, Molecular bases of inherited blindness.
Dr. William Beltran

William Beltran, DVM, PhD

  • Associate Professor of Ophthalmology, Penn Vet
  • Diplomate, European College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists
  • Clinical Specialties: Eye Diagnostics Surgery
  • Research Areas: Ophthalmology, Retinal Degeneration, Retinal remodeling, Gene therapy, Photoreceptor cell death
Dr. Keiko Miyadera

Keiko Miyadera, DVM, PhD

  • Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology, Penn Vet
  • Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists
  • Clinical Specialties: Inherited diseases of the eye in animals
  • Research Areas: Molecular basis of inherited retinal degeneration in dogs