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Priyanka Priyadarshani and Shanu Markand
From left:  Priyanka Priyadarshani and Shanu Markand in the John Nickerson Biostatistics and Bioinformatics (Bioanalysis) Core Laboratory at Emory Eye Center.

May 16, 2016

Researchers Honored at 2016 ARVO Annual Meeting

With 60 scientific papers, posters and symposiums, Emory Eye Center researchers were leading scientific contributors to the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) 2016 Annual Meeting, “Research: A Vision for Hope,” in Seattle, Washington, May 1-5. Their topics ranged from groundbreaking research on ocular melanoma to challenges and discoveries on Ebola and the eye.

”Our participation at ARVO demonstrates the breadth and depth of ophthalmic research accomplished at the Emory Eye Center in both clinical and basic science, says Interim Vice Chair Hans E. Grossniklaus, MD, MBA, director of the Ocular Oncology and Pathology and L.F. Montgomery Pathology Laboratory. “We are moving the ball forward in ophthalmic care in significant ways and are very proud of each and every Emory Eye Center presentation at ARVO.”

The ARVO Annual Meeting is one of the largest and most respected of its kind in the world. It is an unparalleled opportunity for the more than 11,000 eye and vision research scientists from 75-plus countries who attend each year to share discoveries that advance the body of knowledge and translate into clinical treatments for those suffering from debilitating eye diseases and disorders. 

At this year’s meeting, research by Shanu Markand, PhD, was selected as a “Hot Topic.” ARVO awards this distinction to the “newest and most innovative research being conducted in the various specialties.” Markand is a post-doctoral fellow in the laboratory of Emory Eye Center’s Vice Director of Research John Nickerson, PhD.  Her presentation of research findings on myopia, “Ocular parameters changes in the IRBP knockout mouse eye,” at ARVO on May 2, was awarded the 2016 Members in Training (MIT) Outstanding Poster Award.  This competitive award recognized Markand’s work and its presentation as tops in biochemistry/molecular biology.

Myopia is an eye disease where distant objects appear out of focus. It is highly prevalent worldwide and is associated with economic burden. Interphotoreceptor retinoid-binding protein (IRBP) is an important protein for normal vision. Mutations in IRBP gene in humans are linked with severe visual disorders such as retinitis pigmentosa, retinal dystrophy and myopia.

“The purpose of this study was to test if eye size defects and myopia in IRBP mutant mice are due to selective growth of one or more internal compartments of the eye,” Markand says.  “Our data showed a significant increase in the depth of the vitreous chamber in IRBP mutant mice. This indicates the importance of IRBP in normal eye development and myopia. Future studies will aim at understanding underlying mechanisms.”

ARVO “Awards, Fellowships and Travel Grants” were made to Li He, PhD and Steven Yeh, MD.  Dr. He, a post-doctoral fellow in the laboratory of the Center’s Director of Research P. Michael Iuvone, received the Connie Lee Lerea Travel Grant for the abstract, “Characterization of visual function loss in mice with retina-specific disruption of Clock or Arntl genes.”

Dr. Yeh, the 2016 Ludwig von Sallmann Clinician-Scientist Award Recipient, gave lectures including, “Update on uveitis in Ebola virus disease survivors” and “Ebola and the eye: challenges, discovery and the work ahead” at the ARVO symposium, “Outbreaks: The global ophthalmic threat of Ebola, Zika and other viruses.” Dr. Yeh, who is professor of ophthalmology, Vitreoretinal Surgery and Diseases and director of Uveitis and Vasculitis at Emory Eye Center, made international news in 2015 with the discovery of live virus in Ebola survivor Ian Crozier’s eye.

About Emory Eye Center’s Research Program

From its inception in 1964, Emory Eye Center’s scientific research laboratory has been home to award-winning scientists who dedicate their lives to understanding the mechanisms of catastrophic eye diseases that afflict people globally.  Their scientific discoveries have significantly contributed to ophthalmic research knowledge, advancing treatment for patients suffering from eye cancer; hereditary cataract; diabetic retinopathy, age-related macular degeneration and other retinal degenerative diseases; idiopathic intracranial hypertension, and gene therapy. 

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