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Press Release

Columbia University Medical Center and Lighthouse Guild to Hold Conference on New Technologies for the Patients with Vision Loss

Lighthouse Guild
Posted on: 25 Oct 16

PR Newswire

NEW YORK, Oct. 25, 2016

NEW YORK, Oct. 25, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Lighthouse Guild, the leading not-for-profit vision and healthcare organization, will host its 2016 Alfred W. Bressler Vision Science Symposium and Award Luncheon and The Pisart Award Lecture and Reception at the New York Historical Society on October 28-29, 2016. 

Daniel Palanker, PhD, is the recipient of the 2016 Bressler Prize. The Bressler Vision Science Symposium on "Technologies for Restoration of Sight in Retinal Degeneration," will take place on Saturday, October 29, 2016, from 9:00am to 2:30pm.

Pradeep Y. Ramulu, MD, PhD, is the 2016 Pisart Award honoree. The Pisart Award lecture, entitled "Functional and Behavioral Implications of Low Vision," and reception will be held Friday, October 28, from 6:00pm to 8:30pm. 

"Both scientists, chosen by an independent panel of judges from various vision care disciplines, are being recognized for their remarkable contributions to the field of vision science and the significant impact of their research," said Alan R. Morse, JD, PhD, President and CEO of Lighthouse Guild.

"Improving the lives of people who are blind or visually impaired is a core tenet of Lighthouse Guild," Dr. Morse added. "By recognizing leading clinicians and researchers, who are searching for and finding ways to understand visual mechanisms, restore vision, and help those with vision loss, we bring new energy to our shared purpose and help lay the foundation for tomorrow's breakthroughs. We look forward to collaborating with them to help people deal effectively with vision loss."

A technology conference, co-sponsored with the Columbia University Medical Center Department of Ophthalmology and directed by Stanley Chang, MD, K.K. Tse and Ku Teh Ying Professor of Ophthalmology and Former Chair of Ophthalmology at Columbia University Medical Center and Dr. Morse, will be held on Friday, October 28, 2016, from 9:00am to 4:00pm. The conference, is titled,  "New Technologies for the Patient with Vision Loss.  Among  speakers will be Dr. Stephen H. Tsang, MD, PhD, an internationally recognized clinician and geneticist specializing in the treatment of retinal disorders using gene therapy.

2016 Bressler Prize Recipient
Dr. Palanker is a Professor in the Department of Ophthalmology, School of Medicine, and Hansen Experimental Physics Laboratory at Stanford University. A physicist by training and working at the interface of physics and ophthalmology, Dr. Palanker directs one of the most sophisticated multi-disciplinary research programs on electro-neural interfaces, including small wireless photovoltaic retinal implants, allowing for easier implantation and better vision.

Besides his work on retinal prosthetics and neural stimulation for treatment of dry eye syndrome, Dr. Palanker's studies of laser interactions with retinal cells revealed the tissue response mechanisms that lie at the root of cellular repair following laser therapy. This discovery led to the development of the non-damaging retinal laser therapy for the macula.

Every year since 2003, the Bressler Prize has recognized a mid-career vision clinician or scientist whose leadership, research and service have led to important advancements in the understanding of vision loss, treatment of eye disease, or the rehabilitation of people with vision loss.

2016 Pisart Award Recipient
The Pisart Award, established in 1981, recognizes an early-career vision clinician or scientist whose noteworthy, innovative and scholarly contributions to vision science have the potential for substantial influence in the understanding of vision loss, treatment of eye disease or the rehabilitation of people with vision loss.

Dr. Pradeep Ramulu, this year's recipient, is an Associate Professor of Ophthalmology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Dr. Ramulu is a glaucoma specialist in clinical practice.  One aspect of Dr. Ramulu's research focuses on difficulties patients with vision loss have with reading, walking, driving and traveling, including rehabilitative strategies to increase the safety and quality of life for all individuals with glaucoma.

Speakers at the Technology Conference, Friday, October 28

Directors, Stanley Chang, MD, K.K. Tse and Ku Teh Ying Professor of Ophthalmology and Former Chair of Ophthalmology at Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY, and Alan R. Morse, JD, PhD, President and CEO, Lighthouse Guild, New York, NY

George A. Cioffi, MD, Richard Deems Professor of Ophthalmology, Columbia University Medical Center, Edward Harkness Eye Institute, New York, NY

Sarah Farrell, PhD, RN, Health Market Development Executive, Apple Education, Apple Inc., Cupertino, CA

Vivienne Greenstein, PhD, Professor of Ophthalmic Science, Columbia University Medical Center, Edward Harkness Eye Institute, New York, NY

Howard Kaplan, MD, Hudson Retina, Poughkeepsie, NY

Judy Kim, MD, Professor of Ophthalmology, Medical College of Wisconsin, The Eye Institute, Milwaukee, WI

Jeffrey Liebmann, MD,  Bernard and Shirlee Brown Professor of Ophthalmology, Columbia University Medical Center, Edward Harkness Eye Institute, New York, NY

Robert Massof, PhD, Professor of Ophthalmology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Wilmer Eye Institute, Baltimore, MD

David Myung, MD, PhD, Co-Director, Ophthalmic Innovation Program, Byers Eye Institute, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA

Eli Peli, MSc, OD, Professor of Ophthalmology, Harvard Medical School, Moakley Scholar in Aging Eye Research, Schepens Eye Research Institute, Mass Eye & Ear, Boston, MA

Pradeep Ramulu, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Ophthalmology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Wilmer Eye Institute, Baltimore, MD

Laura Sperazza, OD, Director of Low Vision Services, Lighthouse Guild, New York, NY

Stephen Tsang, MD, PhD, Lazslo Bito Professor of Ophthalmology, Columbia University Medical Center, Edward Harkness Eye Institute, New York, NY

Bryan Wolynski, OD, OrCam Technologies, New York, NY

Gerald Zaidman, MD, Director of Ophthalmology, Westchester Medical Center, The New York Medical College, Valhalla, NY

Speakers at Lighthouse Guild's Bressler Symposium, Saturday, October 29

E.J. Chichilnisky, PhD: "Towards Prosthetic Restoration of Natural Visual Code." Dr. Chichilnisky, a systems neurobiologist, explores how the retina of the eye processes and transmits visual information to the brain. His laboratory focuses on the study of retinal ganglion cells – the output neurons of the retina that send visual information to the brain. The goal is to understand retinal signaling, its impact on vision, and the implications for treating vision loss.

Richard H. Kramer, PhD: "Photoswitch Chemicals as Drug Candidates for Restoring Sight." Dr. Kramer is interested in ion channels, the proteins that generate electrical signals, and synaptic transmission, the process that allows a neuron to communicate with other cells, using novel chemical tools that render them sensitive to light. In addition to understanding the functions of ion channels and synaptic proteins, these investigations focus on new therapeutic approaches using light to input information into the nervous system downstream of injury or degeneration sites.

Daniel Palanker, PhD: "Characteristics of Prosthetic Vision with Subretinal Implants."  The primary focus of Dr. Palanker's research is in interactions of electric field (including light) with biological cells and tissues. His lab also studies laser-tissue interactions, including multiphoton molecular dissociation and ionization, as well as dynamics of the cellular response to hyperthermia. The objective is to use these interactions to develop novel surgical, therapeutic and prosthetic technologies.

Thomas A. Reh, PhD: "Reprogramming Cells to Treat Retinal Degeneration."  The overall goal of Dr. Reh's research is to understand the cell and molecular biology of regeneration in the eye. With a focus on the retina, Dr. Reh's lab works at the interface between development and regeneration, applying the principles of developmental biology to design strategies that promote regeneration in the adult retina.

Botond Roska, PhD: "Optogenetics for Restoration of Sight." Dr. Roska's research focuses on how neurons interact to compute behaviorally relevant functions. Using the mammalian retina as a model, his experimental approach is inter-disciplinary, combining physiological, molecular, viral and computational approaches to reveal the structure and function of retinal circuits.

James D. Weiland, PhD: "Epiretinal Prostheses: Mechanisms and Clinical Results."  Dr. Weiland is a key contributor to the development of Argus II, the first FDA-approved retinal prosthesis for those suffering from retinal blindness. Argus II implants bring functional sight to patients experiencing blindness from an inherited form of retinitis pigmentosa. His lab investigates the response of the retina to electrical stimulation at a fundamental level, using techniques such as calcium imaging and functional MRI.

About Lighthouse Guild
Lighthouse Guild, headquartered in New York City, is the leading not-for-profit vision and healthcare organization with a long history of addressing the needs of people who are blind or visually impaired, including those with multiple disabilities or chronic medical conditions. With more than 200 years of experience and service, Lighthouse Guild brings a level of understanding to vision care that is unmatched. By integrating vision and healthcare services and expanding access through its programs and education and awareness, we help people lead productive, dignified and fulfilling lives. For more information, visit

About Columbia University Medical Center
Columbia University Medical Center provides international leadership in basic, preclinical, and clinical research; medical and health sciences education; and patient care. The medical center trains future leaders and includes the dedicated work of many physicians, scientists, public health professionals, dentists, and nurses at the College of Physicians and Surgeons, the Mailman School of Public Health, the College of Dental Medicine, the School of Nursing, the biomedical departments of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and allied research centers and institutions. Columbia University Medical Center is home to the largest medical research enterprise in New York City and State and one of the largest faculty medical practices in the Northeast. The campus that Columbia University Medical Center shares with its hospital partner, NewYork-Presbyterian, is now called the Columbia University Irving Medical Center. For more information, visit or

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SOURCE Lighthouse Guild

PR Newswire

Last updated on: 25/10/2016

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