Dr. Applegate joined the University of Texas Health Science Center faculty in 1988 from the School of Optometry University of Missouri – St. Louis where he served as an assistant professor of optometry. He rose through the faculty ranks quickly to become a tenured professor of ophthalmology in 1993. In 2002 Dr. Applegate accepted the College of Optometry, at the University of Houston’s offer to become the first Borish Chair in Optometry. He has served as a feature editor of Journal of the Optical Society of America –A, Applied Optics, and Optometry and Vision Science on several occasions. Dr. Applegate has served on the editorial board of the journal of Optometry and Visual Science and currently serves on editorial board of the Journal of Refractive Surgery, the Journal of Cataract and Refractive Surgery, and Clinical and Experimental Optometry. He is a cofounder of the International Congress on Wavefront Sensing and Aberration-Free Refraction Correction, is widely published in leading journals, consultant, and international lecturer whose NIH funded research interests center on the optics of the eye and early ocular disease detection, treatment, and prevention.
Visual optics, ocular aberrations, cataract, refractive surgery, early disease detection.
Dr. Jan P.G. Bergmanson received his optometric training and PhD at the City University, London. In addition, he obtained a Doctor of Optometry degree from Pennsylvania College of Optometry. Currently, Dr. Bergmanson is Professor of Optometry at the University of Houston College of Optometry (UHCO), where he is the founding Director of the Texas Eye Research and Technology Center (TERTC). He has extensively researched and lectured internationally on subjects of corneal morphological response to contact lens wear, tear and ophthalmic solution effects on the ocular surface, histopathology of ocular tissues damaged by ultraviolet radiation, and the effects of the Excimer Laser on the cornea. In addition to private optometric practice, Dr. Bergmanson, certified in Texas as a Therapeutic Optometrist and as an Optometric Glaucoma Specialist, has provided patient care in several hospital and university clinics. Dr. Bergmanson is a Foundation Fellow of the College of Optometry in United Kingdom, where he remains licensed to practice, and a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry, where he is a Diplomate in the Cornea and Contact Lens Section. He is a member of the Texas Optometric Association (TOA), American Optometric Association (AOA), Association of Contact Lens Educators, and International Association of Contact Lens Educators. He is a council member of the International Society for Contact Lens Research and a lifetime honorary member of the Swedish and Dutch Optometric Associations, to which he also serves as a consultant. Dr. Bergmanson is the recipient of the 1998 British Contact Lens Association Gold Medal Award, the 2002 Texas Optometric Association's Educator of the Year Award, the University of Houston College of Optometry 2003 Cora and J. Davis Armistead Faculty Teaching Award and the 2005 Swedish Optometric Association's Mark of Honor Award.
Research interests include Clinical Trials on new contact lens designs and material and ophthalmic effects on the ocular surface. Over many years, Dr. Bergmanson has maintained a research program on ultraviolet radiation effects on the eye and aidnexa and how to protect these tissues from such harmful irradiation. He is an active researcher in the area of the anatomy of the eye, while maintaining an interest in ocular histopathology. Current research in ocular pathology concerns in particular keratoconus and pterygium.
Dr. Bergmanson is a Diplomate in Cornea and Contact Lenses (American Academy of Optometry). Main clinical interest concerns advanced contact lens care and the diagnosis in treatment of ocular surface disease.
David A. Berntsen, OD, PhD, FAAO completed his Doctor of Optometry degree in 2002 at the University of Houston College of Optometry in Houston, TX. He then completed a Cornea and Contact Lens Advanced Practice Fellowship at The Ohio State University College of Optometry in Columbus, OH. The fellowship program combined a two-year residency with a Master of Science degree in Vision Science, which Dr. Berntsen completed in 2004. He then completed a PhD in Vision Science at Ohio State in 2009.
Dr. Berntsen's research interests include myopia, contact lenses, and aberrations of the eye. He conducted the Study of Theories about Myopia Progression (STAMP), a two-year clinical trial evaluating theories of juvenile-onset myopia progression. He has conducted adult and pediatric studies involving contact lenses and higher-order aberrations of the eye. Dr. Berntsen is the Principal Investigator of the University of Houston clinical site for the Bifocal Lenses In Nearsighted Kids (BLINK) Study, a multicenter randomized clinical trial sponsored by the National Eye Institute. The BLINK Study is a collaborative effort between the University of Houston and The Ohio State University that will determine whether commercially available soft bifocal contact lenses slow the progression of nearsightedness in children.
Injury to the corneal epithelium can occur through mechanical or chemical trauma, as well as through elective refractive surgeries (e.g., LASIK or PRK). Despite our current understanding that neutrophil recruitment to the injured cornea can be important for wound healing, many questions remain regarding the molecular mechanisms regulating neutrophil migration within the corneal stroma. Our research suggests neutrophil migration is influenced by molecular interactions with keratocyte (stromal cell) networks embedded between the stromal collagen lamellae. The hypothesis being evaluated is that PMN motility on keratocytes is regulated by inflammatory mediators (chemokines) and adhesion molecule-dependent interactions. Information gained from these studies will help delineate novel adhesive mechanisms underlying neutrophil migration in the injured cornea and this may define new targets for therapeutic treatment of ocular inflammation associated with injury or infection.
Dr. Cheng earned both her PhD and OD degrees from the University of Houston, College of Optometry. After graduation, she became an associate in a private practice at Sugarland, Texas. She joined the MacGregor Medical Association in 1999 and practiced optometry there until she became a faculty member at the UH College of Optometry in 2002.
Noninvasive functional and structural evaluation of the visual pathways under normal and pathological conditions.
Primary care, contact lenses, occupational color vision, multifocal visual evoked potential (mfVEP), multifocal electroretinogram (mfERG)
Dr. Coates received his PhD in Vision Science from the University of California, Berkeley in 2015, where he studied letter recognition, peripheral visual perception, and crowding, using psychophysics and computational modeling. After postdoctoral appointments in Belgium and Switzerland studying the relationships between crowding, attention, and appearance, he joined the faculty of UHCO in 2017.
His research and teaching interests include spatial vision, color vision, reading, and statistical and psychophysical methods. He is passionate about the use of open source tools for experimentation, analysis, and learning.
spatial vision, color vision, reading, and statistical and psychophysical methods.
My research involves primarily the study of glycosaminoglycans and proteoglycans in the fields of cornea, cancer, wound healing, stem cells, inflammation, development, spinal cord injury and nerve regeneration. This unique interdisciplinary approach aims to decipher the role of glycosaminoglycans in development and pathology. One of our ongoing projects is to unveil the role of hyaluronan (HA) in ocular surface development and pathology using knockout approaches. We have previously shown that umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells synthesize a rich extracellular HA modified glycocalyx that regulates inflammatory cells enabling these cells to survive xenograft rejection. We are currently developing umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells and their hyaluronan rich glycocalyx for treating inflammatory disorders.
I received my undergraduate degree from the Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani, India in 1992 majoring in Electronics Engineering. I then moved to the United States for graduate studies and completed a M.S and Ph.D. degree in 1998 in Biomedical Engineering from Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio. My work, carried out under the mentorship of Dr. John Leigh, primarily examined the interactions between visual-oculomotor and vestibular systems. I did post-doctoral work at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center, Emory University with Dr. Michael Mustari from 1999 to 2002. During this time I learnt the technique of single cell extracellular recording in the awake-behaving monkey and also became interested in examining visual-oculomotor mechanisms in the strabismic primate. I was appointed to the faculty at Emory University in 2002 and received an independent investigator award from the National Institutes of Health in 2004 to study neural circuits mediating binocular coordination of eye movements in the strabismic monkey. I have since maintained continued NIH funding. I joined the faculty of the College of Optometry, University of Houston in 2009. The goal of research in my laboratory is to continue to uncover the disruption of neural processing in various brain areas in the strabismic monkeys. A better understanding of neural mechanisms that are affected in the different forms of strabismus will help develop rationally based therapy.
The focus of research in my laboratory is to investigate disruption of eye movement control in animal models for strabismus (ocular misalignment). Strabismus is a common visual developmental disorder affecting 2?5% of all human infants. Though the exact etiology of strabismus is still unknown, it is clear that disruption of binocular visual information in infancy plays a critical role in development of strabismus. Many seminal behavioral, anatomical and physiological studies have revealed various aspects of visual sensory deficits that are associated with the strabismic condition. By the same token, we know relatively little about disruptions in neural oculomotor (eye movement) circuits, though these structures must also be involved in maintaining the steady-state strabismus. The possible involvement of such structures ranges from altered eye muscle lengths to neural mechanisms that alter eye muscle tone or contractility. Our research is therefore directed towards identifying and understanding the roles of specific areas in the brain that may be involved in producing oculomotor properties describing the strabismus state. Our strategy is to utilize a basic science approach with studies in animal models, incorporating concepts, tools and techniques developed via basic science studies of the oculomotor system. To this end, we use a multi-pronged strategy involving behavioral studies of eye alignment, eye movements and ocular accommodation, MRI studies evaluating extraocular muscle (EOM) structure and single cell recording studies of information processing in neural oculomotor circuits.
Dr. Della Santina received his M.S in medicinal chemistry, Pharm.D. in pharmacy and Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of Pisa. He moved to the United States as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Washington, Seattle under the supervision of Dr. Rachel Wong. Following his postdoctoral training, he was a research faculty at the University of Pisa, Italy and at the University of California, San Francisco before joining the faculty at the College of Optometry, University of Houston in 2021.
His research focuses on investigating the functional, circuit and synaptic rearrangements of the retina following to neurodegenerative diseases, to identify novel cellular targets for early detection and treatment. His research laboratory develops novel computational tools for large-scale recording of neurons and identification of neural circuits, as well as computer vision approaches based on deep learning for the automatic detection of ocular diseases in clinical and smartphone photographs.
Neural circuit and synaptic remodeling in retinal development and degeneration. Retinal physiology via multielectrode array (MEA) and electroretinogram (ERG) recording High-performance computing, machine learning and deep learning applied to image analysis of clinical photographs and microscopy images.
Dr. Frishman received her undergraduate degree from Vassar College in Poughkeepsie N.Y. and her MS and PhD in psychology from the University of Pittsburgh. She did postdoctoral training in visual neuroscience at Northwestern University and the University of California San Francisco where she also was a research faculty member. She joined the Optometry faculty in the College of Optometry in 1990, and she has taught in both the professional and graduate programs. Her research has focused on refining noninvasive electrophysiological approaches for evaluating retinal and anterior visual pathway function in normal subjects and subjects with inherited or acquired diseases that affect visual function.
Dr. Frishman is on the editorial board of Translational Vision Science and Technology (TVST) an academic editor for Plos One, and she was Editor-in-Chief of the journal, Visual Neuroscience (2001-2007), and Documenta Ophthalmologica (2006-2013). She has served on federal grant review panels, the NIH/NEI National Advisory Eye Council, and she is a fellow of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (FARVO), American Academy of Optometry (FAAO) and a board member of the International Society for the Clinical Electrophysiology of Vision (ISCEV).
Retinal physiology, noninvasive evaluation of visual function, analysis and modeling of components of the electroretinogram (ERG), clinical ERG, glaucoma and disease affecting the optic nerve, study of retinal mechanisms of adaptation.
Complete List of Published Work in My Bibliography:
Dr. Wendy Harrison completed her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology at the University of Notre Dame and went on to be the first student to complete a joint OD and MS in Vision Science at Indiana University in four years. Following a residency in Cornea and Contact Lenses, also at Indiana, she completed PhD in Vision Science at the University of California Berkeley. Her research focuses on diabetic eye diseases. She is a member of ARVO, and a fellow in the American Academy of Optometry. Within the academy she is involved in the leadership of the Fellows Doing Research Special Interest Group and the American Academy of Optometry Foundation.
The goal of our research lab is to better understand what happens in the eye in patients with diabetes. Diabetes is the leading cause of preventable vision loss in working aged Americans. It affects both blood vessels and nerves in the retina as well as the front of the eye. We evaluate retinal nerve function with a multifocal electroretinogram and nerve and vascular structural changes with an OCT and retinal photographs. We hope to understand the timeline of changes to structure and function as the disease progresses. We also hope to learn how gender, diet, and health differences play into vision loss in these patients.
Li-Fang Hung, B.Med.., Ph.D., O.D. Research Scientist E-MAIL: Lhung2@uh.edu PHONE: (713)743-2038 Bio Dr. Hung received his B.Medicine degree from Chung-Shan Medical and Dental College in Taiwan. In addition, Dr. Hung received his PhD and OD degree from the University of Houston, College of Optometry. Before he came to Houston, he had two years OBGYN clinical experience in military service, four years residency training in ophthalmology at National Taiwan University Hospital in Taiwan, and two years post-doctoral training in infectious diseases in the Department of Medicine at Stanford University, CA. He is currently working with Dr. Earl Smith OD, PhD as a research scientist on experiments that investigate visual/environmental influences on the development of refractive errors in monkeys. Research Interests Emmetropization and myopia Clinical Interests All eye diseases and vision problems Publications Please see C. V.
Dr. Nange Jin received his M.D. in Clinical Medicine from Yanbian University College of Medicine in China. He earned his Ph.D. in Medical Science with a major in physiology & biophysics at the Seoul National University in South Korea. Afterwards, he received post-doctoral training in the Department of Physiology & Cell Biology at the University of Nevada School of Medicine, Reno. His research now includes the effects of rod-cone coupling plasticity on downstream retinal circuits that control both the image-forming and the non-image-forming visual pathways. Dr. Jin conducted some of this research within Christophe Ribelayga’s laboratory at the University of Texas Health Science Center. Dr. Jin will be joining the department of Vision Sciences as a Research Assistant Professor.
Dr. Manny received her OD and PhD from the University of Houston, College of Optometry. She has been teaching in the clinic and classroom since 1981. Prior to earning her PhD she worked part-time in a private practice. Her clinical expertise is pediatric eye care with an emphasis on children under the age of 6 years and those with special needs. As a clinician scientist she has served as the principal investigator for a variety of multi-center clinical studies funded by the National Eye Institute as well as industry. These studies included clinical trials looking at the development, progression and treatment strategies for nearsightedness (myopia) (COMET, COMET2, ACHIEVE, CLIP), large collaborative observational studies of myopia (CLEERE, COSMICC), and collaborations with the Pediatric Eye Disease Investigator network (PEDIG) studying different treatment options for amblyopia and strabismus. Other research interests include improving screening methods used to identify infants and preschool children with vision problems or at risk for vision problems. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Optometry, and serving as a Vice chair of PEDIG (2014-2016).
Development of Vision, Anomalies of Binocular Vision, Refractive Error, and Vision Screening
Infants and Preschool Children, Children with Special Needs
Dr. Marsack completed a BS in Computer Engineering at Texas A&M University, a MS in Biomedical Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin and a PhD in Physiological Optics and Vision Science at The University of Houston, College of Optometry. Currently, he conducts research investigating the optical and visual performance associated with custom corrections for highly aberrated optics of the eye. He was a two-time recipient of the American Optometric Foundation Ezell Fellowship.
Optical aberration of the eye, custom and pseudo-custom correction of optical aberration, visual performance, metrics predictive of visual performance.
Cherlyn Ng was born and raised in Singapore, where she went on to earn her BSc in neuroscience and PhD in x-ray crystallography from the National University of Singapore. Drawing upon her earlier experiences with audio/visual production, she received postdoctoral training in computational modeling, psychophysics and developed a deep interest in visual perception. Her current interests focuses on how the brain processes and represents sensory information, with particular emphasis on binocular vision. However, traditional psychophysics does not distinguish between percepts that arise from neural mechanisms and visual limitations that are caused by the imperfect optics of the eyes. She addresses this conundrum by coupling psychophysics with adaptive optics technology. This method removes optical limitations by correcting for the optical aberrations in the eyes so that percepts brought about by the neural mechanisms can be measured in isolation. These measurements serve the eventual purpose of building a unified model that explains how the brain chooses between selecting and balancing information from the two eyes.
I am an assistant professor of vision science at the University of Houston College of Optometry. I received a Master’s Degree in Experimental Psychology from the University of Helsinki, and Ph.D. in Neuroscience advised by Dr. Simo Vanni jointly from the University of Helsinki and the Low Temperature Laboratory of Helsinki University of Technology, Finland. I completed postdoctoral training at the Moran Eye Center of the University of Utah under the guidance of Dr. Alessandra Angelucci. My postdoctoral work with Dr. Angelucci elucidated the neural circuit basis of receptive fields of primary visual cortex neurons in non-human primates. Part of my NIH K99 training was completed under the guidance of Dr. John Reynolds at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies where I worked with awake, behaving marmoset monkeys. My laboratory utilizes electrophysiology, optogenetics, and behavioral techniques in awake and behaving marmosets to elucidate the roles of recurrent connections between cortical areas in visual computation and perception.
Dr. John O’Brien is a native of Maryland growing up just outside the nation’s capital in a thriving community of naturalists, scientists, and government servants. He earned his B.A. in Biochemistry at Bowdoin liberal arts college in Brunswick, Maine and his Ph.D. in Biochemistry at the University of California San Diego. He also completed post-doctoral work at the University of Illinois at Chicago in vision research. There he cloned connexins that form electrical synapses in retinal neurons, setting the stage for a large fraction of the research he has performed since then. In 1998, Dr. O’Brien joined the faculty of University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston in which his lab conducted research on retinal electrical synapses. Dr. O’Brien has published extensively on the topic of retinal neuroscience and continues to receives funding to further research in this area from National Institutes, such as the National Eye Institute. We are happy to welcome Dr. O’Brien as a Professor for the Department of Vision Sciences.
Lisa Ostrin received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Fine Arts at the University of Texas at Austin. She then completed the combined OD/PhD program at the University of Houston College of Optometry in 2006. Following graduate work focused in accommodative physiology, she went to John Hopkins University for post-doctoral research in low vision and retinal prosthetics. From there, she worked as a Clinician Researcher at the University of California Berkeley School of Optometry, with a focus on myopia and associations with glaucoma. She has returned to the University of Houston as an Assistant Research Professor to continue her work in myopia and glaucoma. Dr. Ostrin is a fellow of the American Academy of Optometry and a recipient of the American Optometric Foundation Ezell Fellowship.
My research interests include environmental and behavioral influences on circadian rhythm and eye growth. Light exposure has a close link with numerous aspects of human physiology and has been implicated in several different pathological processes including myopia development, circadian rhythm disturbances, mood disorders, cancer, and metabolic disorders. The intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells (ipRGCs) are an inner retinal photoreceptor type that respond directly to short wavelength blue light, and are responsible for non-image forming functions including circadian rhythm entrainment and pupil size. Ongoing projects in the lab include 1) measuring and correlating light exposure with ipRGC activity, circadian rhythm patterns, melatonin levels and refractive error, 2) determining the effects of blue light emitting devices (computers and hand held electronic devices) on ipRGC function and sleep/wake patterns, and 3) developing devices to continuously and objectively measure behaviors related to eye growth.
Dr. Patel graduated from the Southern College of Optometry, Memphis Tennessee in 2002, after which he completed a residency in Family Practice at Northeastern State University Oklahoma College of Optometry. He completed his graduate work at the University of Houston, earning a PhD in 2012, and has been on the faculty since. His current research is on improving structural measures of the optic nerve head, retinal nerve fiber layer and macula regions using optical coherence tomography, and investigating the relationship between these structural measures and visual function. He also teaches students in the classroom, laboratory and clinical settings.
Optical coherence tomography, structure-function relationships in glaucoma, algorithm development for early detection of optic nerve pathology.
Complete List of Published Work in My Bibliography:
Visual quality is limited by a host of factors, including imperfections (or aberrations) in the optics of the eye and the health of various cell types in the retina used to detect light and process this information for subsequent delivery to the brain. Using psychophysical, optical and functional imaging techniques, my primary goal is to better understand how the eye's optics and structure of the retina and optic nerve head affect vision in normal and diseased eyes. After completing my BS degree in Optics from the University of Rochester in 1997, I continued my graduate work in Optics at the University of Rochester's Institute of Optics under the advisement of David Williams. My graduate research focused on constructing a clinical wavefront sensor to measure the optical quality of a large population of normal and postoperative laser refractive surgery eyes, and on investigating the sources of aberrations induced in conventional and customized LASIK (laser in-situ keratomileusis) procedures. In collaboration with Ian Cox (Bausch & Lomb) and Scott MacRae (University of Rochester), I examined changes in the eye’s optical quality after cutting a corneal flap and after performing a laser ablation, how aberrations were induced due to static shifts of the pupil (such as changes in pupil center location with dilation), and characterized dynamic eye movements that occur during surgery. I also assisted in the design of the Rochester Adaptive Optics Ophthalmoscope, an instrument capable of both imaging individual photoreceptors and of conducting visual psychophysics in living human eyes.
Upon receiving my PhD in Optics in 2004, I conducted my postdoctoral work with David Williams at the Center for Visual Science (University of Rochester) in the area of high-resolution retinal imaging using adaptive optics. Adaptive optics is a relatively new technology that can measure and correct for the eye’s aberrations, leading to substantial improvements in image quality when a subject looks through an adaptive optics system. Conversely, the same instrument can provide an extremely sharp view of a subject’s retina with the capability of imaging individual cells in a living eye. As a postdoc, I contributed to the construction of a fluorescence adaptive optics scanning laser ophthalmoscope (AOSLO) that can noninvasively acquire in vivo reflectance and fluorescence images of individual photoreceptors, ganglion cells and retinal pigment epithelium cells. In September 2006, I joined the faculty at the University of Houston’s College of Optometry.
Our lab’s main goals are to learn more about the mechanisms responsible for the development and progression of retinal diseases (such as glaucoma and photoreceptor-based degenerations) and how the retina develops in the normal eye. To this end, we have built a dual deformable mirror, fluorescence AOSLO to image single cells in living eyes, thereby allowing us to conduct experiments that could only otherwise have been done in excised tissue. These experiments are often complimented with the use of other clinical and research-based imaging techniques (such as spectral domain optical coherence tomography) and visual function examinations (including perimetry, electroretinography, etc.) to investigate structure-function relationships. Several projects in the lab revolve around imaging retinal and optic nerve head structures in normal and glaucomatous eyes, as well as in eyes with color vision deficiencies and retinal disease. For example, through our currently funded NIH R01 grant , we seek to better understand the relation between in vivo changes in lamina cribrosa and optic nerve head geometry, axonal damage and vision loss in glaucoma. We also conduct engineering research, often to help facilitate our scientific goals, in areas such as optimal methods for controlling deformable mirrors and non-traditional methods of wavefront sensing and adaptive optics correction. Our AOSLO provides the opportunity to non-invasively monitor normal and diseased retinal structure and function on a cellular level in the same eyes over time. The ability to see cellular structures in vivo could enhance our ability to better diagnose retinal diseases and track the efficacy of potential treatments.
My research focus is to understand ocular homeostasis and to characterize the host response to environmental stress and disease progression using mass spectrometry-based omics tools. These tools include crosslinking mass spectrometry, proteomics, lipidomics, metabolomics, and glycomics. Using these tools, we are mapping the proteome-wide interactions (interactome) of the ocular surface at a molecular level. Specifically, my research interests are: 1) to characterize the ocular homeostasis at the proteome, metabolome, and microbiome level with a focus on tear film; 2) to determine the effect of environmental stress on ocular homeostasis with a focus on contact lens wear; 3) to understand the molecular mechanisms involving contact lenses related complications with a focus on infection and dry eye, and 4) to develop novel contact lens-based ophthalmic therapeutics
Rachel Redfern received her bachelor's degree in biology from Texas A&M University and then her OD/PhD from the University of Houston, College of Optometry. In 2006, Dr. Redfern received the Institutional Ruth Kirschstein National Research Post-doctorate Award and the ARVO/Alcon Early Career Clinician-Scientist Research Award. Dr. Redfern is a member of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, the American Academy of Optometry and the Tear Film and Ocular Surface Society. She is also a past William C. Ezell Fellow.
Her laboratory is interested in ocular surface inflammation/infection, the impact of contact lenses (e.g. scleral gas permeable lenses) on normal and diseased eyes and the functional and anatomical changes that occurs in the meibomian glands with age and disease. They perform human subject, animal and in vitro studies. Dr. Redfern’s laboratory is NIH funded to examine the impact of toll-like receptors on the production of damaging cytokines and matrix metalloproteases and beneficial antimicrobial peptides on the ocular surface.
Dr. Ribelayga received his M.S. (1995) and Ph.D. (2000), both in Neuroscience, from the University Louis Pasteur in Strasbourg, France. He then did post-doctoral work at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) (1999-2005). During this time, he used techniques of single cell recording in the retina to examine how circadian clocks within the retina control the light responses of retinal cells. He joined The Ohio State University (OSU) School of Medicine in Columbus, OH as a Research Assistant Professor (2005-2009) and subsequently moved to The University of Texas at Houston (UTHealth) McGovern Medical School as an Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology. Dr. Ribelayga was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure in 2016 and awarded the Bernice Weingarten Endowed Chair in Ophthalmology in 2019. Dr. Ribelayga joined the University of Houston College of Optometry (UHCO) in 2021, where he is Professor of Physiological Optics and Vision Science. His work has long focused on two areas of research: 1) the role of circadian clocks in the development, maintenance, and function of retinal cells, and 2) the functional architecture of the network of coupled photoreceptors, its plasticity, and the impact of this plasticity on retinal circuit processing and visual perception. Although Dr. Ribelayga’s research accomplishments are primarily in basic science, his work may have important clinical relevance and has been continuously supported by NIH.
Dr. Richdale joined the University of Houston College of Optometry in 2017. She was previously an Associate Professor and founding director of the Clinical Vision Research Center, and established the Myopia Control Clinic at the State University of New York College of Optometry. Dr. Richdale teaches and conducts research primarily in cornea and contact lenses and her work has been supported by federal, private and industry grants. She currently serves as Co-Chair of the Contact Lens Assessment in Youth (CLAY) study group. Dr. Richdale received her OD, PhD, and Cornea and Contact Lens Advanced Practice Fellowship from The Ohio State University.
Contact lenses, presbyopia, accommodation, anterior segment effects of diabetes and obesity
Cornea and contact lenses, presbyopia, myopia control, multifocals, orthokeratology
Eric Ritchey, OD, PhD, FAAO is a 2001 graduate of The Ohio State University College of Optometry. After graduation, Eric completed a 2-year Advanced Practice Fellowship in Cornea and Contact Lenses at Ohio State, where his research focused on overnight orthokeratology and extended wear contact lenses. Following fellowship, Eric served as a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Missouri-Saint Louis College of Optometry before beginning his PhD training at Ohio State. During his PhD training, Eric’s research in the laboratory of Dr. Andy Fischer focused on the mechanisms behind refractive error development. After completing the PhD, Eric joined Johnson and Johnson Vision Care as a Principal Research Optometrist in the Emerging Technologies Group, where he worked on contact lens technologies to control myopia progression. After 4 years in industry, Eric decided to return to academia and will teach Ophthalmic Optics to 2nd year optometry students. Eric’s clinical interests are in specialty contact lens fitting, anterior segment disease and ocular prosthetics. His research activities will focus on myopia development and contact lenses.
Dr. Abirami Santhanam received her doctorate degree in Biochemistry at the National Taiwan University, Taiwan. She got the opportunity to work with Dr. Steven Wilson from Cleveland Clinic on corneal wound healing and regeneration during her postdoctoral career and has contributed to the understanding of the role of growth factors and receptors in corneal development that are important to treat the pathophysiological conditions that affect the cornea after surgery, infection, or trauma. She established the Laser capture-based microdissection technique on the cornea to understand the role of stromal proteins. Then she got the opportunity to work with Dr. John O’Brien on retina regeneration. The regenerative power of Zebrafish combined with single-cell transcriptome analysis provided an excellent system to understand the exciting molecular mechanisms of regeneration in the retina. She has established a Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) model in the zebrafish to understand the regeneration of rod cells that are degenerated in human RP conditions. Currently, her lab is in the process of identifying the key factors that turn on and regulate this regeneration that can be translated into the mammalian system to turn on regeneration successfully. Her long-time research interest is to contribute more towards the understanding of the complex controls and molecular mechanisms in signal transduction pathways involved in vision restoration.
Retina regeneration, Microglia in regeneration, vision restoration, cornea wound healing
Dr. Kaitlyn A. Sapoznik received her Doctor of Optometry from Illinois College of Optometry in 2013 and then completed a one-year ocular disease residency at Indiana University School of Optometry in Bloomington, IN. Following her residency, she completed her Ph.D. in Vision Science at Indiana University. Her research uses high-resolution retinal imaging techniques like adaptive optics retinal imaging to better understand retinal microvascular remodeling in aging and disease with an emphasis on diabetic retinopathy. Dr. Sapoznik was awarded the Vision Impact Institute Ezell Fellowship for two-consecutive years.
Scott Stevenson received his PhD in Experimental Psychology from Brown University in 1987 for studies of visual suppression during eye blinks. He was an NRSA post-doc at UC Berkeley School of Optometry for three years, and then joined the research faculty there. Dr. Stevenson joined the faculty at UH in 1995.
Dr. Stevenson’s research concentrates on the visual control of eye movements, with emphasis on visually driven eye movement reflexes, such as for the control of eye alignment. Dr Stevenson is also active in the development of eye trackers based on high magnification retinal imaging in a broad collaboration involving researchers at a number of other institutions.
Dr. Stevenson teaches in courses on Vision Science, Perception, Optometry, Eye Movements, and Matlab for Vision Science.
Dr. Stevenson serves on the Editorial Board for Vision Research, and is a member of the Vision Sciences Society.
Vergence eye movements and binocular coordination, stereoscopic depth perception, modeling of binocular image matching processes.