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Volume 4, Issue 1 / Winter 2014  

Dr. Steven J. Fliesler

Dr. Steven J. Fliesler

President's Message

First, I'd like to offer my sincere congratulations to the winners of our most recent election for Vice President: Gerard Lutty, MS, PhD (Wilmer Eye Institute, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, U.S.A.), Vice President- Americas; and Takeshi Iwata, PhD (Institute of Sensory Organs, National Hospital Organization Tokyo Medical Center, Tokyo, Japan), Vice President- Asia Pacific. Dr. Lutty is replacing the outgoing Vice President- Americas, Dr. Allen Taylor, while Dr. Iwata is replacing the outgoing Vice President- Asia Pacific, Dr. Paul J. Donaldson. Both new ISER Council Officers began serving a three-year term on January 1, 2014. I also want to thank Drs. Taylor and Donaldson for their years of service to the Council and to ISER in general.

Second, in follow-up to my comments in the October 2013 ISER Eyes on the World, the ISER Council is still very much interested in receiving comments from our membership as to whether or not we should continue to host "off-year" ISER conferences (i.e., in the odd-numbered years, between the regular ISER Biennial Meetings), and whether those conferences should be along a single theme (e.g., the 2013 conference was on glaucoma), as opposed to having a broader scope relevant to eye/vision research. Please send your comments and suggestions via Email to with the Subject Line heading "ISER - Off-Year Meetings."

Third, the program for the XXI ISER Biennial Meeting (July 20-24, 2014, San Francisco, CA, USA) is shaping up nicely. Most of the section-based platform sessions have been planned; however, as always, we have encouraged the session heads to include a Young Investigator speaker, wherever possible, from among the submitted abstracts. Abstract submission is now open; please see: Please note the new ISER policy regarding abstract submissions: to submit an abstract, you must be a current ISER member (with annual dues paid in full prior to time of abstract submission). In all cases, the submitter will be listed as the primary author and also will be the designated presenter (no exceptions). Each member is only allowed to submit one abstract; however, the member can be listed as a co-author on any number of abstracts submitted by other ISER members. Regarding meeting registration fees: regardless of whether or not you are giving a presentation at the meeting, you must pay a registration fee in order to attend the meeting. Please note that the difference between member and non-member registration fees is greater than the cost of joining ISER! So, if you have not already joined ISER, I strongly encourage you to become a member, in order to take advantage of the significant meeting registration discounts and other benefits of ISER membership. To become an ISER member or to renew your membership, please see:

Finally, I encourage all lab heads to consider submitting a Lab Profile. [For examples, see prior issues of this newsletter.] This is a great vehicle for advertising the research your lab does, as well as for recruiting new students, postdocs, and staff. If interested, please send your lab profile information to:


Steven J. Fliesler, PhD

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AOVSM/ ISER (Nov 3-6, 2013)


The Australasian Ophthalmology and Vision Science meeting (AOVSM) was first held 20 years ago in Hobart, Australia, where it ran as a parallel session of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmology meeting. The meeting is intended to bring visual science and clinical researchers together. Last year, in early November, this meeting, convened jointly by Professors Maddess and Chan-Ling, made its way back to Hobart, only this time badged as a joint meeting with the Australian chapter of the International Society for Eye Research. ISER was well represented at the meeting by not only its Australian members, including ISER Secretary Prof. Tailoi Chan-Ling and Membership Committee members Prof. de Iongh and myself, but we were very fortunate to have our outgoing Asia-Pacific Vice-President, Prof. Paul Donaldson, and incoming Americas Vice-President, Prof. Gerard Lutty, also in attendance (pictured with Prof. Maddess and Chan-Ling). This small forum over four days allowed scientific exchange of the highest quality, covering many different facets of eye research, from lens genomics to diabetic retinopathy, and much more. Staged on the picturesque Hobart foreshore, it provided a relaxed but very engaging meeting, well attended by many young investigators. ISER's presence in such satellite meetings will no doubt help strengthen its mission to facilitate scientific exchange in eye and vision research globally, networking our next generation of vision researchers and clinicians.

Frank J. Lovicu PhD
ISER Communications Committee

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ISER 2014 Biennial Meeting

ISER XXI Biennial Meeting - San Francisco, CA

JULY 20 – 24, 2014

The XXI Biennial Meeting will feature a stimulating scientific program, focusing on key topics in the field of vision research. These topics include:

  • Cornea & Ocular Surface
  • Glaucoma
  • Ocular Imaging
  • Ocular Immunology
  • Ocular Lens
  • Ocular Motility and Strabismus
  • Physiology and Pharmacology
  • RPE Biology and Pathology
  • Retinal Cell Biology
  • Retinal Neuroscience and Development

Meeting highlights include:

  • Stimulating Scientific Program
  • Interdisciplinary Symposia
  • Plenary Lectures
  • Poster Sessions
  • Social Events
  • Generous Time for Informal Interaction & Networking

Abstract Submission

If you wish to submit an abstract you must be a current ISER member. In all cases the submitter will be listed as the primary author and will also be the presenter (no exceptions). Each member is only allowed to submit one abstract; however, the member can be listed as a co-author on any number of abstracts submitted by other ISER members.

Submit abstracts >>

Mark your calendar for the following important dates:

  • November 5, 2013 – Abstract Submission, Early Bird Registration and Hotel Reservations at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco at Embarcadero Open
  • March 5, 2014 – Abstract Submission Closes

Join us in San Francisco to advance your knowledge, discuss and disseminate key scientific breakthroughs, and network with world leaders in the field of eye research. Register now!

We look forward to seeing you in The City by the Bay!

XXI Biennial Meeting Program Chairs:
Suraj Bhat, PhD and David Williams, PhD
Jules Stein Eye Institute, UCLA

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Dues Renewal

Please remember to pay your 2014 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:

  • Substantially reduced registration fees for ISER meetings
  • Reduced subscription rate for ISER's official journal, Experimental Eye Research
  • Free color publishing in Experimental Eye Research
  • Leadership opportunities
  • Research prizes
  • Mentoring program
  • Abstract submission for Biennial Meeting exlusive to members only

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Lab Profile: Dimitris Karamichos, PhD, Assistant Professor

Dimitris Karamichos, PhD

Dimitris Karamichos, PhD

Special Interests

  • Corneal wound healing and the mechanisms of fibrosis and regeneration
  • The role of the transforming growth factor-3 (TGF-β3) in directing fibrosis in the cornea
  • Development of in vitro and in vivo models for the understanding of Keratoconus disease
  • The identification of new markers for the treatment of the Keratoconus disease


  • Postdoctoral Training, University College London, Institute of Orthopaedics, London, UK
  • Postdoctoral Training, UT Southwestern Medical Centre, Department of Ophthalmology, Dallas ,TX, USA
  • Senior Research Associate, Harvard Medical School, Schepens Eye Research Institute, Boston, MA, USA
  • Investigator, Harvard Medical School, Schepens Eye Research Institute, Boston, MA, USA
  • PhD in Tissue Engineering/Molecular Biology, University College London, London, UK
  • MSc in Engineering and Physical Sciences in Medicine, Imperial College, London, UK
  • BEng (Hons) in Electrical and Electronic, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, UK

Research Summary

My research interests are focused on cornea wound healing and cornea dystrophies. Millions of people throughout the world lose their vision due to some kind of cornea injury/trauma. It is my career focus to investigate, research, and understand how specific processes work and develop new therapeutic techniques that can help humans partially or fully restore their vision. One area of interest is the effect of the transforming growth factor-β3 or TGF- β3 on corneal stromal cells and their extracellular environment. We have published several manuscripts that report TGF-b3 s effect on guiding stromal cells towards a non-fibrotic / non-scarring phenotype as well as secreting and assembling an extracellular matrix (ECM) that mimics corneal stroma in vivo. The second area of interest belongs to corneal dystrophies. Corneal dystrophies are rare conditions in which the cornea is altered without the presence of any inflammation, infection or other eye disease. The transparency of the cornea is affected and the individual may or may not see vision disturbance. We are interested on looking into a cornea dystrophy named Keratoconus. The name literally means "conical or cone-shaped cornea" and normally appears at puberty. In keratoconus the cornea becomes stretched and thins at its center. The thinned part of the cornea then bulges creating vision distortion. Keratoconus tends to progress but the rate varies. We have recently published the first in vitro model that may allow the studying of the Keratoconus cells in vitro as well as their signaling pathways and ECM assembly. We have extensive collaborations with multiple institutions, surgeons and academics for ongoing research involving humans with Keratoconus disease.

Recent Publications

Click and for a list of this investigator's publications.

Funding Sources

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

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