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Volume 3, Issue 3 / Summer 2013  

Dr. Steven J. Fliesler

Dr. Steven J. Fliesler

President's Message

We're now officially (as of June 22nd) into Summer. For the majority of us who are "academics", the regular academic year is over, final grades are posted, graduation ceremonies have taken place, and many of us are looking forward to taking some time off for vacation, travel, and other leisurely pursuits.

In May of this year, the ISER Council met just prior to the start of the ARVO Annual Meeting in Seattle, Washington, and engaged in a lengthy (5-hour) discussion of a wide range of agenda items, including: the 2012 Biennial Meeting survey results; planning for the 2014 Biennial Meeting (including contracting a meeting management firm); prospective sites for the 2016 Biennial Meeting; planning for the 2013 Sarasota Symposium; ISER finances (Treasurer's Report); policies and procedures for selecting Travel Award recipients; ISER Research Awards and Prizes; governance structure and upcoming elections; membership issues (including dues and journal subscriptions); Experimental Eye Research update; the ISER Mentoring Program; and proposed new initiatives (e.g., WISER -- Women in ISER, as suggested by Dr. Tailoi Chan-Ling, the current ISER Secretary and a member of the Executive Council). Obviously, space here does not allow for a full report on all of these issues; however, here are a few highlights: The 2012 Biennial Meeting in Berlin was deemed a huge success by those who attended, the 2013 Sarasota Meeting is shaping up to be a great meeting as well, planning for the 2014 Biennial Meeting in San Francisco is well under way, and we are close to signing a management firm to oversee its logistics and operations. The 2016 Biennial Meeting will be held in Tokyo, Japan (exact meeting site to be finalized shortly). The ISER governance structure is currently being streamlined and revamped, per the plan primarily conceived by Dr. M. Christine McGahan (current Treasurer and former Sectary of ISER) and now approved by Council: the historic Councilor positions will be phased out, with geographic representation achieved via three regional Vice-President positions (Europe; the Americas; Asia-Pacific). A Manual of Roles and Responsibilities, describing the ISER organizational structure in more detail (and largely crafted by Ms. Polina Sfard, Client Services Mgr., SF AMS), was reviewed and adopted by Council. Expiring terms (as of Dec. 2013) of current Council Members are as follows: Dr. Paul J. Donaldson (Vice-President, Asia-Pacific); Dr. Allen Taylor (Vice-President, North America); Dr. Claire H. Mitchell (Councilor, North America); Dr. Juana Gallar (Councilor, Europe); and Dr. Steven E. Wilson (Councilor, North America). On behalf of ISER, I wish to sincerely thank all of these individuals for the dedicated service to ISER. A call for nominations to fill the pending vacancies on Council will go out shortly (July, 2013).

I'm happy to report that Experimental Eye Research, the official journal of ISER, continues to do well; the number of regular articles submitted in 2012 was up 8% compared to 2011. The majority of submitted manuscripts are Regular Articles, and the number submitted in the first quarter of 2013 (153 articles) was >31% higher than in 2012. The majority of published articles come from the USA, Europe and Asia. The current rejection rate is 61%, which is consistent with the high quality of the journal. EER is always looking for topically relevant proposals for Special Issues and Review Articles, and is striving to publish 3-5 Special Issues per year as well as one Review Article per issue. If you have an idea for either a Special Issue or Review Article, please send it to me (as Special Issues and Reviews Editor) at along with a brief outline.

As briefly mentioned in a prior issue of this Newsletter (see Vol. 3(1)), ISER has organized a Communications Committee, currently chaired by Dr. Frank J. Lovicu (University of Sydney, Australia). Per the newly revised and adopted ISER Bylaws, "This Committee is charged with assisting the President with producing the ISER Newsletter, promotional materials, updating the website, as well as developing other mainstream media contacts, marketing, etc." Other members of this Committee include: Dr. Michael Elliott (University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, U.S.A.; also, a member of the Membership Committee), Dr. David R. Hyde (University of Notre Dame, U.S.A.; also a Councilor, North America), and Dr. Luminita Paraoan (University of Liverpool, U.K.). Items of interest from this Committee are presented in this issue of the Newsletter. We encourage ISER members to become part of this and other committees; a solicitation to recruit additional committee members from among the general ISER membership will be forthcoming in the near future.

Wishing you all a very enjoyable and prosperous Summer.


Steven J. Fliesler, PhD

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ISER Vice President (Pacific Rim) Receives Cataract Research Award

Prof. Paul Donaldson

Prof. Paul Donaldson

Professor Paul Donaldson from the University of Auckland, New Zealand, is the 2013 recipient of the National Foundation for Eye Research (NFER) Cataract Research Award. NFER is a non-profit organization that encourages research to find the causes of, and to develop non-surgical treatment for, cataract. This international award recognizes promising lens researchers who have conducted significant scientific work towards this important goal. The award, consisting of a plaque and a honorarium, was presented to Professor Donaldson at the Lens Business Meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) annual meeting, held recently in Seattle.

Professor Donaldson is a molecular physiologist with a primary interest in membrane transport processes as they apply to epithelial tissues in the eye. The Molecular Vision Laboratory, that he directs at the University of Auckland, utilises molecular and biochemical techniques to identify and localise transport proteins in combination with electrophysiology and a range of imaging modalities (confocal microscopy, ion imaging, MRI) to measure transport protein function at the cellular and tissue level. His group has adopted the Lens Microcirculation Model first proposed by Professor Rick Mathias as an experimental paradigm to develop testable models to explain the distinctly different regional changes in lens structure and function that produce diabetic cortical cataract and age related nuclear cataract.

The Donaldson group have proposed that a combination of osmotic and oxidative stress induced by hyperglycaemia inappropriately activates volume regulatory machinery in differentiating lens fibre cells causing the distinct damage phenotype observed in the diabetic lens. Hence enhancing ability of the circulation system to regulate lens volume in diabetic patients could prevent the onset of diabetic cataract. In contrast, age related nuclear (ARN) cataract is not associated with cellular damage, but manifests itself as protein aggregation induced by oxidative damage to lens crystallins in the nucleus. In this case they have proposed that the age-dependent failure of the circulation system to deliver nutrients and antioxidants to the lens centre and/or the ability to uptake and utilise these metabolites is the underlying cause of ARN cataract. This physiological failure to provide an appropriate reductive environment in the lens leaves the lens nucleus exposed to oxidative stress causing protein aggregation and ultimately ARN cataract. If correct, then maintaining or enhancing the lens circulation system would appear to be a therapeutic strategy capable of delaying the onset of ARN cataract.

In addition to his leadership of the Molecular Vision Laboratory, Professor Donaldson is the Head of the School of Medical Sciences at the University and Auckland and currently the Vice President (Pacific Rim) of ISER.

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Register Today!

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

Preliminary Scientific Program Online!

All the details about the 2013 ISER Sarasota Symposium are now online.


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.

Register Today!

Have you registered yet? Simply click on the button below to register online -- registration has never been easier!


For more information on the 2013 Sarasota Symposium, please visit our website.

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ISER 2013 Elections

The International Society for Eye Research is currently accepting nominations for the following positions:

  • Vice President (Americas - 1)
  • Vice President (Asia Pacific - 1)

Nominations are open from July 8 - July 31, 2013.

Terms begin January 1, 2014 and end December 31, 2016. You can find descriptions for these positions by following this link.

If you have a qualified candidate in mind that you would like to nominate, or you are interested in nominating yourself, please fill out a Nomination Form. Nominations will be open from July 8-July 31, 2013.

Each potential candidate is required to complete a Willingness-to-Serve form after verifying membership status, or, ISER members may self-nominate by submitting their own Willingness-to-Serve form.

The deadline for receiving nominations and Willing-to-Serve forms is July 31, 2013.

*Remember, to nominate or to be nominated, you must be a paid ISER member. To renew your dues, click here.

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Lab Profile

Dr. Mary E. Marquart

Dr. Mary E. Marquart

Laboratory of Dr. Mary E. Marquart, Associate Professor of Microbiology, University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson, Mississippi, USA

Our focus is to investigate the mechanisms of pathogenesis in bacterial ocular infections in the hopes of contributing to the development of alternative or adjunct therapies to antibiotics. A current project is the analysis of Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus) virulence factors in the cornea and the host response to infection. Along with Staphylococcus and Pseudomonas, streptococci are commonly isolated as causes of bacterial keratitis. Our laboratory showed for the first time in an experimental model that the bacterial polysaccharide capsule was not required to cause keratitis, which challenged the long-held dogma that non-capsular S. pneumoniae were avirulent. Interest in non-capsular pneumococci as causes of disease has grown in recent years due to epidemics of conjunctivitis caused by these organisms. A bacterial factor that we do know is important for corneal virulence is pneumolysin, a cholesterol-dependent protein cytolysin that forms pores in host cell membranes. Pneumolysin not only kills corneal epithelial cells, but can also induce a damaging inflammatory response in the eye. Once the bacteria have produced pneumolysin, killing the bacteria with antibiotics is ineffective against the toxic effects of this protein. We have shown that immunization of rabbits against pneumolysin or topical application of soluble cholesterol can significantly reduce corneal damage during S. pneumoniae keratitis. On the host side of the disease, we recently found that Toll-like receptors are involved in modulating the response to the bacteria and that corneal neutrophil recruitment is in part regulated by TLRs.

Mary E. Marquart
Associate Professor
Department of Microbiology
University of Mississippi Medical Center
2500 North State Street
Jackson, MS 39216 USA
Phone: (601) 815-6934
Fax: (601) 984-1708

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

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