October 18, 2013

Frank Schaeffel, OPAL coordinator, appointed as Guest Professor at the Central South University in Changsha, China

Professor Frank Schaeffel, Head of the Section of Neurobiology of the Eye at the Institute for Ophthalmic Research (IOR) in Tuebingen, Germany was appointed as a Guest Professor and Honorary Consultant at the 2013 Changsha Myopia Conference by the President of the Central South University from Oct 2013 to October 2018.

More information on the Website of the Institute for Ophthalmic Research Tübingen, Germany

September 26, 2013

ERC Advanced Grant awarded to Pablo Artal, OpAL Partner 02

In its sixth and last Advanced Grant competition under the EU's FP7, the European Research Council (ERC) is awarding Prof. Pablo Artal from Murcia in Spain to the topic:

"SEECAT: Seeing through cataracts with advanced photonics"

“Cataracts is the opacification of the crystalline lens of the human eye. It is one of the leading causes of blindness. The current solution is to perform surgery to replace the natural lens by an artificial intraocular lens, an operation that is quite successful, but not possible in several cases. We will work on a totally new approach that would enable patients to “see” through a cataractous eye. We will use advanced photonics techniques for creating images through the cataractous lens. Opto-electronics glasses would be developed to restore vision in some patients. Since light trajectories are reversible, doctors could also see the patient's retina through the turbid eye. This innovative project could present immediate and significant benefits to millions of people worldwide.”

More information on the ERC-Website or at the website of the Lab of Pablo Artal

March 25, 2013

Edwin H. Land Medal 2013 awarded to Pablo Artal, OpAL Partner 02

The Edwin H. Land Medal was established in 1992 by the Optical Society of America (OSA) and the Society for Imaging Science and Technology (IS&T) to honor Edwin H. Land, the inventor of instant photography and to recognize his unique career as scientist, technologist, industrialist, humanist, and public servant. This medal recognizes pioneering work empowered by scientific research to create inventions, technologies, and products.

Pablo Artal is being awarded this medal for his scientific contributions to the advancement of diagnostic and correction alternatives in visual optics.

More information can be found at or at 

David Williams - Champalimaud Awardee 2012

David Williams

David Williams, Member of the OpAL Advisory Board was awarded $630,000 Prize for 'Major Breakthrough' in Vision Science

David Williams, a faculty member of the University of Rochester's Institute of Optics, director of its Center for Visual Science, and dean for research in Arts, Science, and Engineering, will receive the António Champalimaud Vision Award at a ceremony in Lisbon, Portugal. The ceremony, chaired by the president of Portugal, will recognize Williams' work on adaptive optics technologies as a "major breakthrough in the understanding and/or the preservation of vision." Williams is widely regarded as one of the world's leading experts on human vision.

David Williams is member of the Advisory Board of the FP7 funded project Optical and Adaptational Limits of Vision (OpAL) an Initial Training Network combining physics, optics and biology.Frank Schaeffel, Coordinator of OpAL, stated that it is a great honor for the colleagues within this network and sends his congratulations to William for this prestigious award.

Linda Lundstroem, Peter Unsbo, Susana Marcos, European Vision Awardee 2012 Frank Schaeffel, Harilaos Ginis, Champalimaud Vision Awardee 2012 David R. Williams, Gregor Esser, Thomas Wheeler-Schilling, Michaela Bitzer

In awarding the prize, the jury stated that Williams and his research group have "revitalized the field of physiological optics, producing year after year truly beautiful, technically brilliant and groundbreaking work."

The prize is shared with the developers of optical coherence tomography (OCT), another method of imaging the retina that has improved the diagnosis and clinical management of retinal disease. Williams said he was delighted to share the award as "together these two technologies make it possible for us to image the retina with unsurpassed resolution and move us further down the path to understanding of retinal disease." Williams, the William G. Allyn Chair of Medical Optics, called the discoveries in adaptive optics "the work of many graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and collaborators over two decades. It is great for our whole community that the achievements and potential of adaptive optics for vision is showcased with this award," he said.

The Champalimaud Award is given in even numbered years and awards one million euros for contributions to vision research, by far the largest amount of any award in the fields of vision science and ophthalmology. Williams will be taking half of the prize, about $630,000 toward future research.

Adaptive optics was first developed by astronomers so that telescopes could see more clearly through the Earth's atmosphere. The technologies that Williams and his group developed apply these techniques to the eye and make it possible to image individual retinal cells, down to individual cone photoreceptors in the living human retina, by looking through the pupil. The techniques Williams' group developed can not only modify the light leaving the eye to obtain better pictures of the retina, they can also modify the light going into the eye to obtain better vision. This can improve vision in patients with contact lenses, intraocular lenses, and laser refractive surgery. For example, the methods Williams' group developed are used in many of the LASIK procedures conducted worldwide today.

The jury added that the discoveries of Williams and his colleagues have "demonstrated the potential of optical methods, for both the investigation and the improvement of normal and pathological visual function. They have set the stage for current approaches to vision correction and have opened up new possibilities for imaging retinal structures in the living eye."

September 21, 2012

Election of the members of the OpAL Supervisory Board

During the 1st Annual Meeting the following persons were elected as members of OpAL's Supervisory Board:

  • Frank Schaeffel
  • Sigrid Diether
  • Linda Lundström
  • Gregor Esser
  • Simon Winter (ESR partner 03)
  • Aiswaryah Radhakrishnan (ESR partner 04)

July 30, 2012

Marie Curie Prize
November 05-06, 2012 in Nicosia, Cyprus

On the occasion of the Cyprus Presidency of the EU a two-day conference will take place in Nicosia, Cyprus, on November 05-06, 2012. The Marie Curie Actions team of the European Comission invites all current and former fellows from FP6 and FP7 (the 6th + 7th Framework Programme) to participate in this year's Marie Curie Prize contest.

The competition will be held in three distinct categories:

  • Communicating Science
  • Innovation and Entrepreneurship
  • Promising Research Talent

The application process will be based on nomination by a peer (colleague, professor, employer, host institution) who has the capacity to judge the fellow.

Nomination deadline: August 31, 2012.

More information about the Marie Curie Prize and the application process can be found on the respective Marie Curie Prize website.

March 21, 2012

Marie Curie Actions satellite event at ESOF 2012,
July 10 and 11, 2012 in Dublin, Ireland

The Marie Curie Actions satellite event at ESOF 2012 (Euroscience Open Forum), which takes place on July 10th and 11th 2012 in Dublin, will offer Marie Curie fellows special opportunities to broaden their career perspectives and further exploit their potential. The conference will include training sessions on how to access EC funding including presentations on Horizon 2020; patenting and how to write successful grant proposals. The main theme of the 2012 conference is communicating research and there will also be a series of workshops on the various aspects of communications including social media networking and speaking confidently to a non-scientific audience. Participants will also play an active role through poster sessions and short presentations on their research.

More information:

March 21, 2012

11th Aegean Summer School in Visual Optics,
June 26 - 28, 2012, Crete, Greece

This Summer School is an international course organized annually since 2002 by the Institute of Vision and Optics, University of Crete, with guest speakers, pioneers in their field and with a plethora of participants from all around the world. This year, the scientific program will cover many aspects of basic and advanced research on Visual Optics and will focus on Keratoconus with an emphasis on:

  • Modern Contact Lenses for Keratoconus and
  • Non surgical treatment of Keratoconus

A specialized workshop on Contact Lenses fitting of Keratoconus will also be organized (limited number of attendees).

More information:

March 21, 2012

Aegean Cornea XI Meeting, June 29 - July 1, 2012 in Rethymno, Crete

More information:

March 21, 2012

ARVO 2012, May 6 - 10, 2012, in Fort Lauderdale, USA

Translational research bridges scientific discoveries and the treatment of vision disorders. The 2012 ARVO Annual Meeting, May 6 – 10 in Fort Lauderdale, Forida, is the world's largest gathering of international eye and vision researchers. The Meeting will promote collaboration between basic and clinical scientists while exploring how basic research translates to effective prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

More information:

January 24, 2012

ERC Advanced Grant on "Bio-inspired optical corrections of presbyopia"

Presbyopia ERC project - Susana Marcos from Visual Optics and Biophotonics on Vimeo.

The Presbyopia project proposes new alternatives to treat presbyopia, an ocular condition affecting people from 45 years of age, including multifocal corrections and accommodating intraocular lenses.

Susana Marcos, OpAL Partner 04, receives ERC Advanced Grant on "Bio-inspired optical corrections of presbyopia". 

With a budget of just over €660 million, the European Research Council (ERC) is funding 294 top researchers in the fourth competition for its coveted Advanced Grants. These established scientists will perform ground-breaking 'blue sky' research over the coming five years across Europe. Open to all domains, the grants are worth up to €3.5 million each. The demand for ERC funding is still on the rise; the number of applications increased by 13% compared to the last Advanced Grant call. The projects selected cover a wide array of topics, for instance new treatments of visual impairment (presbyopia) and a better use of sustainable fuels for automotive and aeronautic engines. 

For further information, visit the ERC webpage (press release, PDF, 60 kByte)