The Keynote Speakers

Yolanda Diebold
Davide Filingeri
Helen Gleeson
Jerry Niederkorn
Brian Otis
Greg Sawyer

Yolanda Diebold

Yolanda DieboldDr. Yolanda Diebold is Associate Professor of Ocular Pathophysiology at the University of Valladolid (UVA, Spain). She obtained her Ph.D. in ocular Cell Biology in 1997. In  1998 she was appointed NATO Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in Prof. Darlene A. Dartt Laboratory at the Schepens Eye Research Institute-Harvard Medical School (Boston, MA, USA), where she got expertise in animal models of ocular immune-based diseases. Since 2000, when she started her academic career at UVA, until now she has been  working in the Ocular Surface Inflammatory Disease Program at the Institute for Applied Ophthalmo-Biology (IOBA), led National and International projects, and served as National and International Reviewer for different research-related agencies and scientific journals.

Currently, Dr. Diebold leads the Nanomedicine Applied to Inflammatory Ocular Surface Diseases Laboratory at IOBA-UVA. She has published 54 papers in peer-reviewed specialized journals and book chapters.

Keynote presentation:

The Role of the Conjunctiva in Ocular Surface Inflammation: Nanotechnology-Based Therapeutic Approaches
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Davide Filingeri

DavideF_photoDavide Filingeri is a Vice-Chancellor’s University Lecturer within the Environmental Ergonomics Research Centre at Loughborough University (UK). Previous to this role, Davide was a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the University of California Berkeley (USA), and a Research Fellow at the University of Sydney (Australia).

Davide holds a PhD in environmental physiology and sensory neuroscience. His research focus on understanding how the human body interacts with our surrounding thermal environments, both physiologically (e.g. body temperature regulation) and perceptually (e.g. temperature, wetness, and touch sensations), and on how neurological diseases (e.g. Multiple Sclerosis) alter these mechanisms.

Davide’s recent research has contributed to the development of the first neurophysiological model of human skin wetness perception. The presence of wetness on the skin, and on other body parts (e.g. eye), is a critical determinant of comfort. In clarifying the neural mechanisms underlying wetness sensing, this model supports novel approaches to improve wetness-related comfort in humans.

Keynote presentation:

Why wet feels wet? A neurophysiological model of human skin wetness sensitivity
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Helen Gleeson

Helen Gleeson photo.docxI moved to Leeds in 2015 after spending the majority of my career at the University of Manchester. My research concerns self-ordering and self-assembling materials, particularly liquid crystal phases. I’m an experimentalist and use a variety of approaches to understand liquid crystal structures – I aim to determine how the nanoscale properties of complex molecules affect their macroscopic physics. An important part of my research is to understand how liquid crystals can be used for novel applications. My most recent work on devices has led to the invention of switchable contact lenses in which the voltage-induced change in refractive index of the liquid crystal lens element causes a change in focus, equivalent to putting on reading glasses! Liquid crystals are intriguing and fun with much scope for both challenging fundamental physics and inventive new devices.

Keynote presentation:

A vision for switchable contact lenses
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Jerry Niederkorn

Dr. Jerry Niederkorn_photo-croppedEducation: B.A. Biology (Central Methodist University); MS Biology (University of Central Missouri); Ph.D. Zoology University of Arkansas.  Employment: Veteran (U.S. Army 1968-1970). Microbiologist for Missouri  Division of Health (1972-1974). Faculty member at University of Texas  Southwestern Medical Center (1977 – Present). J. Wayne Streilein Endowed Professorship (2002); George A. and Nancy P. Shutt Professor of Medical Science (1995-present); Royal C. Miller Chair in Age-Related Macular  Degeneration (2011 – present). Professor and Vice-Chairman for Research. Awards: Alcon Research Institute Award (1992). NIH merit award (NCI grant 1995-2003). Research to Prevent Blindness Special Scholars Award (Olga Keith Wiess)(1985). Research to Prevent Blindness Senior Scientific Investigator Award (1991 and 1999). Research Grants: Continuous funding as PI for 3 NIH RO1 grants for 29 years. NCI RO1 funding for 35 consecutive years. Research Interests:  Ocular immunology and immune regulation. Immunobiology of uveal melanoma.  Immunobiology of corneal transplantation. Immunobiology and pathobiology of Acanthamoeba keratitis.

Keynote presentation:

In a Pig’s Eye: The Story of Acanthamoeba Keratitis
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Brian Otis

BrianOtis_photoDr. Brian Otis is Chief Technology Officer at Verily Life Sciences and a Research Associate Professor at the University of Washington, Seattle. He received a B.S. in electrical engineering from the University of Washington, Seattle, and a M.S. and Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. He joined the faculty of the University of Washington in 2005 where he founded a chip design research lab that develops tiny, low power wireless chips for a variety of applications (neural recording, implantable devices, wearable on-body wireless sensors, environmental monitoring, etc). He has previously held positions at Intel Corporation and Agilent Technologies and joined Google Inc in 2012. He was a founder of Google [x]’s smart contact lens project and leads the medical device efforts at Verily Life Sciences. He has served as a member of the Technical Program Committee of the International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) and Associate Editor of the Journal of Solid State Circuits (JSSC). His research interests include low power SoC design, exploring limitations of power and size of wireless systems, and the realization of novel biomedical devices.

Keynote presentation:

The Curious Case of the Imperceptible Data
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Greg Sawyer

W_Gregory_Sawyer_photoProfessor W. Gregory Sawyer is a Distinguished Teaching Scholar and Research Foundation Professor at the University of Florida, and is also the N. C. Ebaugh Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.  He received his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering in 1999 from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; his MS and PhD theses were in the area of tribology.  He has published over 150 journal publications and has over 6000 citations.  His research interests have led to many adventures, from operating remote experiments on the International Space Station to conducting experiments in vivo on a cornea. He is currently leading the Soft Matter Engineering Center, which includes developing manufacturing technologies for tissue engineering with faculty integrated across the colleges of Medicine, Engineering, and Science.

Keynote presentation:

Corneal Cell Friction: Survival, Lubricity, Tear Film, and Mucin Production over Extended Duration In Vitro Studies
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