ARVO keynote speakers to explore worldwide vision research collaborations

Rockville, Md. The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) announced today that the ARVO/Alcon Keynote Session at its 2006 Annual Meeting will feature Paul Sieving, MD, PhD, Director of the National Eye Institute (NEI), National Institutes of Health (NIH), in Bethesda, Md., and Gullapalli N. Rao, MD, President of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB), and Chairman of the Board for the LV Prasad Eye Institute in Hyderabad, India. Both speakers will discuss efforts underway to establish global partnerships in vision research. The ARVO/Alcon Keynote Session will be held on Sunday, April 30 at 5:15 p.m. at the Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The ARVO/Alcon Keynote Session is sponsored by the ARVO Foundation for Eye Research through a generous grant from Alcon Laboratories.

Dr. Sieving has led NEI to increase the opportunities for international collaborations around the world. ARVO and NEI held a series of workshops in India and the United States to foster research collaborations between the two countries, which culminated in the signing of the United States-India Statement of Intent for Collaboration on Expansion of Vision Research. Dr. Sieving recently convened an NEI workshop in April 2006 on "Collaborative International Research Opportunities" to consider the role of NEI in meeting worldwide needs and research opportunities, by marshalling collaborative efforts on an international scale. Dr. Sieving came to the NEI in 2001 from the University of Michigan, where he was a Professor of Ophthalmology, Neuroscience, and Bioengineering. He is well known for studies in the genetics basis of retinal and macular degenerations and for the basic biology of retinal neurodegenerations that lead to vision loss and blindness. He currently continues research and clinical studies of therapeutic interventions to ameliorate progressive vision loss from these conditions.

Dr. Rao received his basic medical education in Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, and completed his postgraduate training in ophthalmology at the All India Institute for Medical Sciences, New Delhi. He came to the United States in 1972, where he trained at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, and later at the University of Rochester School of Medicine. He continued to practice and teach in Rochester until his return to India in 1986. His areas of specialization include diseases of the cornea, eye banking and corneal transplantation, and community eye health. He has been actively involved in the development of numerous collaborations between the United States and India and, in his role as President of the IABP, he leads the global initiative to eliminate avoidable blindness by the year 2020.

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Established in 1928, ARVO is a membership organization of more than 11,300 eye and vision researchers from over 70 countries. The Association encourages and assists its members and others in research, training, publication and dissemination of knowledge in vision and ophthalmology. ARVO's headquarters are located in Rockville, Md. For more information, logon to the Association's Web site, www.arvo.org.


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