OpAL - an Initial Training Network combining physics, optics and biology
OPAL is an Initial Training Network (ITN) funded by the European Commission's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) under the Marie Curie Actions. The duration of the project is 48 months, starting from April 2011. It brings together 6 partners from four different countries.
Combining the expertise of five University-based European laboratories, two industrial partners, and a high-ranking international advisory board, this training network will provide a platform to train young natural scientists at the interface of physics, optics and biology. Despite extensive research on the optics of the eye and the neuronal processing of the optical image that is projected on the retina, a number of basic questions are surprisingly unclear.
Training activities will include complementary skills courses, lab exchanges, external schools and network meetings. The proposed research projects will elucidate the limits of visual performance, using state of the art technology. They will have direct implications for optical correction strategies (spectacles, refractive surgery, etc.) and for the understanding how different mono- and polychromatic aberrations limit vision and sensitivity in low light environments. In addition, the research will improve the understanding of the cues that drive accommodation and emmetropization, the mechanisms by which neural processing in the eye can "sharpen" degraded, aberrated or defocused retinal images, and how visual performance is affected by diurnal factors.