Symposium on ‘A World of Vision: Preventing Blindness’

Posted on: 30 April 2013

A host of leading international experts in vision research from Canada, USA, New Zealand and Europe gathered at the Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute last   week to participate in a series of knowledge exchange meetings for the prevention and treatment of blindness.  Brought together by Trinity College Dublin, with the support of  the charity Fighting Blindness and the Health Research Board, these experts  presented the latest developments in vision research at a public awareness symposium; A World of Vision: Preventing Blindness at TCD on April 27th last. Professor of Medical Molecular Genetics, Pete Humphries opened proceedings.

World-renowned geneticist Dr. Robert Koenekoop, from Montreal, Canada presented at the symposium. Dr Koenekoop is Director of the McGill Ocular Genetics Laboratory and Chief of Paediatric Ophthalmology at the Montreal Childrens' Hospital.  He has pioneered a form of oral therapy for the most common form of childhood blindness, a condition called Leber congenical amaurosis (LCA). His discovery has resulted in a successful clinical trial in Canada for this rare degenerative eye condition, which also has applications in some forms of recessive retinitis pigmetosa. 

Professor Keonekoop's work is an example of the many exciting developments which are now taking place in our understanding of the causes of common diseases of visual handicap and into their prevention. 

Other international speakers included Professor Robert Koenekoop, (Canada), Professor Kris Palczewski (USA), Professor Michael Redmond (USA), Professor Shomi Bhattacharya, (UK), Professor Christian Hamel (France), Professor Kevin Foust (USA), Professor Ines Batinic Haberle (USA); Professor Cynthia McMurray (USA) and Dr. Doug Wilson (New Zealand).

From Trinity Dr Matt Campbell spoke on  'Age-related Macular Degeneration: Blindness Among the Elderly' and Professor Jane Farrar  spoke on 'Gene Therapy for Neuronal and Retinal Disease'.