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  • Writer's pictureShannon Das

ARVO 2019 - Clear Vision Research in Canada

Picturesque view from the conference centre

In the foothills of the picturesque Canadian Rockies, members of the Clear Vision team descended on Vancouver for the largest vision-related conference in the world, ARVO.

For Yvette and Riemke, this was their first ARVO and a chance to experience the great melting pot of ideas from bench to bedside that could open up a new direction for their PhD projects. For Riccardo, Nilisha and new postdoc Shannon, the conference would be an opportunity to meet with old friends, network and potentially drive new collaborations. With unprecedented access to some of the world-leaders in vision-related research, regardless, the stage was stage for a stimulating and inspiring week.

The true value of science lies in our ability to communicate it effectively to any audience. Without a doubt, the opening plenary talk got everyone excited and it wasn’t even strictly a vision-related talk! Professor Randy Schekman, Nobel Laureate, got the ball rolling at ARVO 2019 by describing how the cells in our body package and sort the smallest units of life. He went on to describe how cells can transport these packages between one another to potentially coordinate large-scale responses.

The room was abuzz—well, at least from a Clear Vision perspective. When we think about the retina of the eye, it’s literally cells on top of cells—there’s a good chance they’re always communicating with each other. Randy’s talk validated a lot of the research directions that the lab will be taking over the next year. Watch this space!

Professor Schekman’s devotion to cell biology left everyone on a high and allowed us to settle in at the conference and to start presenting our own research. While Shannon presented the last part of his PhD thesis in understanding cataract development, the other members of Clear Vision presented their work on understanding the genetic and inflammatory processes that cause dry-age related macular degeneration. Everyone’s work was highly regarded and fostered many interesting discussions.

The Clear Vision team now sets its sights on ARVO 2020 in Baltimore, USA!

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