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

18. October 2013

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.

This appointment includes visits, lectures and consulting at regular intervals. As in other places in China, the interest in research in myopia is extremely high, and the funding currently very good. Frank Schaeffel has long standing research expertise in the various research topics in myopia (since 1985). He also gave a key note lecture at this meeting about the biological mechanisms of myopia. The deputy director of the Section of Neurobiology of the Eye, Dr. Marita Feldkaemper, was also invited to the meeting and the celebration and gave a lecture about the biochemical, genetically and pharmacological aspects of myopia.

The research topics of Frank Schaeffel's lab in Tuebingen are to gain a better understanding of how visual experience and genetic factors affect eye growth and the development of myopia. We are studying these questions in chicken and mouse models, but also in human subjects. When animal models wear spectacle lenses or diffusers in front of their eyes, they develop myopia (eye grows longer, with negative lenses and diffusers ) or hyperopia (eye remains shorter, with positive lenses). The predictable effect of these visual perturbations on eye growth permits to study the underlying retinal image processing, i.e. how defocus is detected and quantified over time. Furthermore, one can learn how the output of retinal image processing merges into the release of growth signals from the retina that reach the retinal pigment epithelium where they may be converted into other signals that pass through choroid to the sclera.