ISER Newsletter Banner
Contact Us Officers
Volume 2, Issue 3 / Summer 2012  

Dr. Steven J. Fliesler

Dr. Steven J. Fliesler

President's Message

As this Newsletter is going to press, we're only a matter of days away from the start of the XX ISER Biennial Meeting in Berlin, Germany (July 21-25). The program has been finalized, and will consist of 93 platform sessions, 4 Plenary Lectures, plus daily poster sessions. Specific platform sessions have been generously underwritten by educational grants from Alcon and ProRetina, while support for Travel Fellowships has been provided by Novartis Pharma GMBH and Santen Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. Additional corporate support for the meeting has been provided by Novartis, Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals, Bausch & Lomb, and Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. I am pleased to acknowledge the support of Abbott Medical Optics, which has provided funding for the Endre A. Balazs Prize. We expect nearly 1,000 attendees from over 30 countries. This is going to be one of the largest ISER meetings on record, and promises to be exciting and very worthwhile from an educational as well a culture perspective. We also will be paying special tribute at the meeting to Dr. Endre A. Balazs, one of the key founders, Honorary President, and a generous benefactor of ISER.

My special thanks go out to the two local Program Committee Chairs-- Prof. Dr. Ernst Tamm and Prof. Dr. Olaf Strauss-- both from the University of Regensberg, Germany. In turn, they helped to coordinate and oversee the efforts of the Section and Session Chairs, who recruited the invited speakers for the platform sessions and also selected additional speakers from the pool of submitted abstracts. Drs. Tamm and Strauss also worked tirelessly with the Kenes staff to coordinate the scheduling of the poster presentations and all of the meeting events, including the Opening Ceremony, Awards Lectures, and the gala Banquet. My most sincere thanks to all who were integrally involved in the planning and execution of this meeting, for their dedicated service to ISER and to the international eye and vision research community.

In the April 2012 edition of this Newsletter, we introduced the 2012 winners of the Endre A. Balazs Prize (Dr. Gerard A. Lutty, Wilmer Eye Institute, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine), the Ernst H. Bárány Prize (Dr. Peter Kador, College of Pharmacy, Nebraska Medical Center), and the Retina Research Foundation's Paul Kayser International Award in Retina Research (Dr. Robert E. Anderson, Dean A. McGee Eye Institute, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center). Each of the recipients of these prestigious prizes will present a corresponding named Plenary Lecture at the Biennial Meeting. I am pleased to announce here (and below) the winner of the 2012 Ludwig von Sallmann Prize, Prof. Dr. Eberhart Zrenner (Institute for Ophthalmic Research, Center for Ophthalmology, University of Tuebingen). Dr. Zrenner will present the Ludwig von Sallman Prize Plenary Lecture at the meeting.

We purposely strive to keep ISER meetings relatively small in size. This format provides a greater opportunity for interaction among attendees, affords more time for people to get to most, if not all, of the posters and platform presentations that are of interest to them, and also allows for a greater percentage to be platform presentations. It is integral to ISER’s mission to facilitate the attendance and participation of students and "Young Investigators" (YIs, per the definition in our Membership guidelines) at our meetings. This year, we were able to fund 21 Young Investigator Travel Awards, in addition to 20 supported specifically by Novartis. We've made it a point to devote a special platform session exclusively to YIs, and most of the platform sessions also include a YI as a speaker. These Young Investigators are the future of eye and vision research, as well as the future of ISER.

For those of you who will attend the 2012 ISER Biennial Meeting, I wish you a most enjoyable and edifying experience. For those of you who were not able to attend, you will be able to access the abstracts from the meeting via the ISER website. Also, we anticipate that the content of the Plenary Lectures may be published as special articles in forthcoming issues of Experimental Eye Research, the official journal of ISER.

Looking to the future, the 2014 ISER Biennial Meeting will be held in San Francisco, CA, USA. Watch future editions of this Newsletter as well as ISER E-blasts for news about that upcoming meeting, which I strongly encourage you to make plans to attend. In the meantime, I wish you all a very happy, healthy, and enjoyable summer.


Steven J. Fliesler, PhD
ISER President

back to top

Congratulations to the 2012 Ludwig von Sallmann Prize Winner: Eberhart Zrenner, MD


Eberhart Zrenner, MD

Prof. Dr. med. Eberhart Zrenner, the 2012 recipient of the Ludwig von Sallmann Prize, is a Professor of Ophthalmology in the Institute for Ophthalmic Research, Center for Ophthalmology, at the University of Tuebingen, Germany. His research interests include: retinal physiology and pathophysiology, neuro-ophthalmology, ophthalmic toxicology, retina implants, electrophysiology and other methods of non-invasive function testing, neurodegeneration and ophthalmogenetics. He also is Principal Investigator of several clinical studies and has developed a subretinal active microphotodiode array (MPDAs) to replace degenerated photoreceptors in blind people (Zrenner et al., Proc Biol Sci. 278:1489-97, 2011), so far tested in 26 study patients in an international multicenter trial. He coordinates 3 EU-Projects.

He has studied electronic engineering as well as medicine at the Technical University Munich, where he obtained his MD degree in 1972. Subsequently worked within the Max-Planck-Society with Eberhard Dodt for 16 years and received a Fogarty fellowship at the national Eye Institute, NIH, Bethesda, MD (1977 and 1978), studying temporal, spatial and chromatic characteristics of retinal ganglion cells via extracellular recordings in monkey retina with Peter Gouras. After acquiring a PD degree he received an associated professorship at the University Eye Hospital in Munich. He became full professor University Eye Hospital in Tuebingen in 1989, now Center for Ophthalmology. There he founded the Institute for Ophthalmic Research and runs a special clinic for hereditary retinal degenerations. He has received numerous grants and awards, two honorary Doctoral Degrees and has published approximately 400 peer reviewed papers.

von Sallmann

Ludwig von Sallmann, MD

The Ludwig von Sallmann Prize

Ludwig von Sallmann was a distinguished international ophthalmologist and ophthalmic investigator who served on the staffs of Vienna, Peking and Columbia Universities and the Ophthalmology Branch of the former National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Blindness at the National Institutes of Health. His wife, Henrietta von Sallmann, established a trust fund to award, in his memory, a cash prize every two years to an individual who has distinguished himself or herself by making a significant contribution to vision research and ophthalmology.

back to top

Lab Profile


Joseph C. Besharse, PhD

Joseph C. Besharse, PhD

Marvin Wagner Professor and Chair
Department of Cell Biology, Neurobiology and Anatomy
Director, Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Biomedical Sciences
Medical College of Wisconsin

Historically, my laboratory studied both the cell biological features of photoreceptor outer segment turnover and its regulation by light and circadian clocks. These two conceptual problems have advanced somewhat independently over time with discoveries in one having little impact on the other. For example, in the 1980s and 1990s we discovered that the retina has its own circadian system using in vitro techniques and that isolated photoreceptor layers exhibit the properties of circadian clocks without directly connecting this to outer segment turnover. Likewise, we made conceptual advances in understanding outer segment assembly with early studies on rhodopsin trafficking, connecting cilium organization and eventually with the concept of intraflagellar transport (IFT) and the discovery of a major role for KIF17 kinesin. This occurred without understanding how the cell biology is temporally regulated. Despite the somewhat independent evolution these areas, the question of how at the molecular level the cell biological events of turnover are temporally controlled remains largely undefined? Our current approach to this problem is an outgrowth of recent work on photoreceptor IFT and the discovery that KIF17 kinesin plays a crucial role. We are currently pursuing two important pieces of the puzzle. The first is that KIF17 serves as an accessory IFT kinesin in photoreceptors and its abundance and phosphorylation state vary dramatically with time of day. The second is that KIF17 plays an important role in regulation of ciliary axoneme dynamics in the distal tip of the outer segment that is directly related to disc shedding. This work utilizes both zebrafish and mouse models to directly address the question of how a molecular motor involved in outer segment trafficking controls outer segment turnover.

Dr. Joseph C. Besharse, PhD
Department of Cell Biology, Neurobiology and Anatomy
Medical College of Wisconsin
8701 Watertown Plank Road
Milwaukee, WI 53226-0509

Phone: 414-955-8063
Fax: 414-955-6517

If you would like to submit a Lab Profile for a future ISER Eyes on The World issue, please email

back to top

ISER XX Biennial Meeting – Berlin, Germany

There are less than two weeks left to register for ISER 2012. Online registration is open until July 16, 2012.

For your convenience, registration can be done via your computer or Smartphone.

Become a member and save!

Registration for the Meeting is currently discounted for ISER members by €95 over the non-member rates. Check out the great benefits you can receive as an ISER member including affordable dues, reduced journal subscription rates, research prizes and great savings on the Biennial Meeting registration fee.



The XX Biennial Meeting of the International Society for Eye Research is accredited by the European Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (EACCME) to provide the following CME activity for medical specialists. The EACCME is an institution of the European Union of Medical Specialists (UEMS),

The XX Biennial Meeting of the International Society for Eye Research is designated for a maximum of (or 'for up to') 24 hours of European external CME credits.

Each medical specialist should claim only those hours of credit that he/she actually spent in the educational activity.

German CME Accreditation
The XX Biennial Meeting of the International Society for Eye Research is accredited by the Deutsche Ärztekammer Berlin. The following credits will be granted to participants: 6 CME points/day.

For more information on accreditation, visit the Biennial Meeting Website


Welcome Reception
Please join fellow attendees, friends and colleagues on Saturday, July 21, 2012 for the Biennial Meeting welcome reception. The reception starts at 18:00 and will be held at the Maritim Hotel Berlin; entrance to the reception is included in your meeting registration. We look forward to seeing you there!

Gala Dinner
On the evening of July 24th the ISER Gala Dinner will be hosted from 20:00 in the "Zur Nolle".

The restaurant Zur Nolle is situated in the subway arcades right at the famous boulevard Friedrichstrasse in the city centre. By foot one can reach most of the breathtaking sights and fall back into history. The spacious room with its 6-meter ceiling height presents a colorful and cozy interior design with the combination of mirrors and Art Deco paintings, red leather and palm trees result in an impressive composition, reminding the Golden Twenties.

Typical Berlin style dishes and drinks are offered in this unique restaurant with original historical atmosphere. Don't miss this great opportunity to meet and mingle with your friends and colleagues.

Space is limited and on a first-come first serve basis so book your ticket early
Tickets Cost: 85€

Click here to book your ticket!

photo of the conference room photo of the conference room photo of the view

back to top