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Volume 3, Issue 1 / Winter 2013  

Dr. Steven J. Fliesler

Dr. Steven J. Fliesler

President's Message

As I write this letter (December, 2012), the United States is allegedly on the brink of a "financial cliff", and about to plunge into an economic nightmare (if you believe the pundits and politicians). There's turmoil around the globe (particularly in the Middle East), Winter storms are hitting the European continent as well as the more northerly portions of North America, while tornadoes are pummeling the Southern U.S., and many people— including vision researchers and other scientists on the East coast of the U.S. — are still living in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, one of the worst natural disasters to hit the U.S. in the past century.
And yet, things could be worse. " 'Tis the season", as the saying goes… perhaps not to be "jolly", but to count one's blessings and be thankful for the good things in our lives, while also never forgetting that there are others far less fortunate who could use a helping hand. If the U.S. is going over a financial cliff, it will not merely impact people (eye researchers and non-researchers alike) in the U.S. — it will have global ramifications. Similarly, our colleagues who are sorting out their lives, some of them dealing with a lifetime of research destroyed, in the wake of Hurricane Sandy are not the only ones affected. Many of them have collaborators at other universities and institutions, in other states, other countries, whose research careers also will be impacted in a negative way by this calamity. Indeed, the progress of science on a number of fronts could be markedly slowed, if not halted, as a result of both the impending man-made financial predicament as well as the recent natural disaster (which, if linked to "global warming", also could be termed "man-made").

Why am I telling you all this? Because I want people to remember that ISER— the International Society (my emphasis) for Eye Research— is a collective of individuals who share common interests, common goals and aspirations, which may go well beyond eye research per se. As members of this collective, we should do whatever we can to help our colleagues who are experiencing particularly harsh realities as a result of the aforementioned man-made and/or natural disasters. So, if you know of a colleague who could use your assistance— whether it's sharing a lab reagent, or some transgenic mice, or a piece of lab instrumentation, or something else that would help to facilitate the person's ability to get back on their feet and recover from these disasters— please consider reaching out to that person and seeing if there is something you can do, to the extent you are able to do so. We may not be able to guarantee "peace on earth", but we most certainly have the ability to extend "good will toward (humankind)".

Meanwhile, 2013 is shaping up to be a very active year for ISER. In May, the ISER Council will hold its annual meeting to address the needs of the Society and plan for our future activities. One of those activities, as mentioned in prior issues of this Newsletter, will be the inaugural Sarasota Symposium, which will take place in Sarasota, Florida, September 29 – October 2, 2013. That symposium's theme -- Molecular Mechanisms in Glaucoma -- will highlight research from multiple laboratories and multiple countries, including fundamental as well as "translational" research. The scientific program for the symposium is shaping up nicely, under the able guidance of several dedicated ISER members, notably Drs. Ernst Tamm (ISER Vice-President, Europe), Tailoi Chan-Ling (ISER Secretary), Takeshi Iwata (ISER Councilor), Dan Stamer (the 2012 recipient of the Lewis Rudin Glaucoma Prize from the New York Academy of Medicine), Michael Fautsch, and Robert Nickells. If you have an interest in glaucoma research, this is one meeting you do not want to miss.

As always, I encourage you to renew your ISER membership for 2013, and also to help us recruit new members— particularly "young" investigators (per our Bylaws' definition). Speaking of Young Investigators, I'd like to congratulate Dr. Mike O. Karl (from the Center for Regenerative Therapies, Dresden, Germany), who is the newly elected (and inaugural) Young Investigator Councilor. We look forward to having Mike's input on Council, representing in particular the interests of other ISER young investigators.

Finally, I'm pleased to announce that Dr. Frank J. Lovicu (University of Sydney, Australia) has agreed to serve as Chair of the Communications Committee. Frank has been serving in another capacity, representing the Pacific Rim constituents on the ISER Membership Committee. Thank you, Frank, for your continued commitment and efforts on behalf of ISER.

In closing, I want to wish you all a very happy, healthy, and prosperous 2013, and I look forward to serving you as President of ISER to advance the mission of this Society.


Steven J. Fliesler, PhD

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Save the Date!

2013 Sarasota Symposium - Sept 29-Oct 2

2013 ISER Sarasota Symposium
September 29 - October 2
Hyatt Regency Sarasota
1000 Boulevard of the Arts
Sarasota, FL 34236

Please join us for innovative scientific programming focused on Molecular Mechanisms in Glaucoma. The ISER Sarasota Symposium will bring together leaders in the field of glaucoma to discuss molecular mechanisms that underlie the pathobiology of the condition. We will employ a Gordon Conference format, anticipating that the intimate setting will encourage informal interaction and will offer ample opportunity to refresh or form new collaborations, develop novel hypotheses, and make new friends.

Important Dates:

  • February 4, 2013 - Early registration and housing opens
  • February 4, 2013 - Abstract submission site opens
  • May 27, 2013 - Abstract submission deadline
  • June 12, 2013 - Notification of abstract acceptance
For more information on the 2013 ISER Sarasota Symposium please visit our website.

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Communications Committee

As a means of promoting more effective networking and communication amongst our membership, a newly formed Communications Committee has been established by ISER. In due course this committee plans to establish and implement the most effective means of disseminating newsworthy items and information to our wider membership. At present we do so by utilizing this quarterly newsletter and e-mail alerts, with more specific details of events, news etc., showcased on our ever evolving website. In time we plan to make more effective use of other media platforms, such as social networking. In this instance, we would like to encourage the membership to contact any one of our committee members, listed below, to let us know how we can do things better. What items do you find the most or least informative/interesting in our newsletter? How can we improve our website to make it more interactive, to better facilitate communication amongst our membership and obtain more information about eye research?

As you may have already noticed, our Eyes on the World newsletter has a new feature providing 'A Young Investigators Perspective'. We would like to invite contributions for this from graduate students and postdoctoral research members or aspiring members of ISER, who would like to share their views, experiences and achievements of work in eye and vision research, their experiences with ISER, the meetings and any other feedback.

We are looking forward to receiving your views and suggestions and working with you to develop our Society.


ISER Communications Committee
Frank Lovicu (
David Hyde (
Michael Elliott (
Luminita Paraoan (

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ISER 2012 Election Results


Mike O. Karl, MD

Congratulations to Mike O. Karl, MD, ISER's newly elected Young Investigator Councilor!

The Young Investigator Councilor is a new position that was incorporated into the ISER Bylaws in 2012:

The Young Investigator (YI) Councilor will work to increase ISER membership, particularly of YIs, and to address the needs of YI members of ISER. The YI Councilor also will assist in the selection of travel awardees, as well as help to organize YI-directed activities at ISER-sponsored meetings as well as other suitable venues. The YI Councilor also will be a de facto member of the ISER Membership Committee.

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Dues Renewal

Please remember to pay your 2013 ISER Dues. Not sure if your dues have been paid? Please login to the My Profile section of the ISER website or contact the ISER office ( to confirm your current status.

Member benefits include:

  • Affordable dues
  • Substantially reduced registration fees for ISER meetings
  • Reduced subscription rate for ISER's official journal, Experimental Eye Research
  • Free color in Experimental Eye Research
  • Publishing opportunities
  • Research prizes

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Lab Profile


The Nanomedicine and Drug Delivery Laboratory at University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus

The mission of the nanomedicine and drug delivery laboratory of Dr. Uday B. Kompella is to enhance drug safety and efficacy by improving drug delivery. This is achieved by two main objectives of the laboratory: 1) understanding molecular and physiological barriers to drug delivery and 2) designing delivery systems to enhance drug bioavailability and persistence. The laboratory has played an instrumental role in understanding ocular physiological barriers including the role of pigmentation, disease state, and interspecies differences in ocular drug delivery. In addition, the laboratory has discovered and tested several novel drug and gene delivery systems including peptide-, lipid-, and polymer-based nano-/micro-systems that enhance and/or sustain delivery. The lab is focused on developing treatments for various ocular diseases including age-related macular degeneration (AMD), diabetic retinopathy, and glaucoma. Further, Dr. Kompella's lab is committed to providing treatments that are commercially viable by working closely with private industry and regulatory agencies in order to overcome barriers in the translation of novel ocular therapeutics.

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

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