Our mission is to serve as the catalyst for vision research, and our
highest priority is to foster interactive, interdisciplinary, and translational
studies of how the visual system functions in health and disease.

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Major Study on Age-Related Macular Degeneration Shows that L-DOPA can Significantly Delay Onset of the Disease

November 4th, 2015

In a study released today, researchers from a variety of institutions - including the Marshfield Clinic, whose director, Dr. Murray Brilliant, is the lead author of the study - have announced that patients who use the drug L-DOPA, commonly used for Parkinson's Disease and other movement disorders, are "significantly less likely to develop Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD)," and that "if they do develop AMD, it is at significantly later ages." The study, whose co-authors include McPherson ERI members Joseph Carroll of the Medical College of Wisconsin, and Scott Hebbring of the Marshfield Clinic, is a potentially major development in the search for treatments for this common disorder. READ MORE

Murray Brilliant
Murray Brilliant
Joseph Carroll
Joseph Carroll
Scott Hebbring
Scott Hebbring

Picture of Gillian McLellan and Bucky Badger Picture of David Gamm and Bucky Badger

McPherson ERI researchers investigate vision across species.  Gillian McLellan (Ophthalmology) is shown here checking out the eyes of a rare human/Mustelidae hybrid at a Badger hockey game in November.   The creature, fully recovered, later posed with McPherson ERI Director David Gamm.

A New Study from McPherson ERI Members & Collaborators Shows That Patients Taking the Drug L-DOPA are Significantly Less Likely to Develop Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD)  Read more

November 2015

McPherson ERI Vision Science Poster Session Draws a Crowd
Guest Lecturers Bring Neuromagic to the HSLC

November 2015

McPherson ERI's annual event showcasing vision-related research was held on Tuesday, November 3rd, drawing more than 100 participants to the atrium of the Health Sciences Learning Center.

Picture of Judges at Poster Session Picture of Science Poster Session Picture of Speakers


Following the poster session, Drs. Susana Martinez-Conde and Stephen Macknik (Professors at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in New York City and founders of the new discipline of neuromagic) gave the annual MERI Distinguished Guest Lecture.  Their talk focused on the cognitive neuroscience of illusions, and was an absorbing introduction to their studies.   

At the poster session, Maggie Maes (advisor, Rob Nickells) was given the Best Student Presentation Award, Visual Science for her poster Bax oligomerization kinetics and its role in ganglion cell death.  Pawan Shahi (advisor, Bikash Pattnaik) and Li Xuan Tan (advisor, Aparna Lakkaraju) were each awarded honorable mentions for their poster presentations.  

Fall 2015 Walsh Research Travel Awards

October, 2015

The McPherson ERI Research Committee is pleased to announce two award recipients—one graduate student and one postdoctoral researcher— from among a strong and diverse field of fall semester 2015 applicants:

Mitra Farnoodian, graduate student (Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences, SMPH; Nader Sheibani, mentor), will attend the April 2016 Experimental Biology conference in San Diego, CA. Her poster presentation is entitled High glucose promotes the pro-migratory phenotype of retinal pigment epithelial cells through increased oxidative stress.

Jacqueline Fulvio, postdoctoral researcher (Psychology, L&S; Bas Rokers, mentor), has just presented at the October 2015 annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in Chicago. Her presentation was entitled The neural correlates of 3D motion perception.

Congratulations to both award recipients, who will be invited to speak in the McPherson ERI seminar series during the 2016-17 academic year.

Dr. Alice McPherson Receives 2015 Distinguished Alumni Award

September 2015

Dr. Alice McPherson was presented with UW-Madison's Distinguished Alumni Award, the highest honor given by the Wisconsin Alumni Association, at the Chancellor's Luncheon on Thursday, October 15th.  In announcing the award, the WAA cited Dr. McPherson's establishment of the Retina Research Foundation, along with her "impressive" support for the University of Wisconsin (including her critical assistance in establishing the McPherson Eye Research Institute.)  While in Madison, Dr. McPherson also visited McPherson House, the learning community at the School of Medicine and Public Health that is named for her. 

Congratulations to Dr. McPherson!

Member Highlight: Nader Sheibani, Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences

July 2015

Nader Sheibani

Nader Sheibani, Professor in the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences and holder of the Retina Research Foundation Alice R. McPherson Research Chair, focuses on developing strategies to counter the abnormal growth of blood vessels that is at the heart of AMD (age-related macular degeneration) and diabetic retinopathy – two of the leading causes of vision impairment.  Sheibani and his lab associates take a variety of approaches, with the goal of discovering multiple routes to reduce blood vessel growth.  Read more

WIMR Conference Room Named in Honor of Sandra and Monroe Trout

June 2015

In recognition of their extraordinary support for the McPhersonGamm and Trouts picture ERI, the 9th floor conference room in WIMR (within the Mandelbaum & Albert Family Vision Gallery) has been named in honor of Sandra and Monroe Trout. Dr. and Mrs. Trout are distinguished patrons of the arts and sciences who have endowed faculty positions within the McPherson Eye Research Institute, including the Sandra Lemke Trout Chair in Vision Research. The Trouts have established a career in philanthropy; their generosity has benefited many educational institutions, including Morehouse School of Medicine, Bloomfield College, Westminster College, Dickinson School of Law, UC-San Diego, and the University of the Cumberlands.  In 2010 they endowed and established the Trout Museum of Art in Appleton, Wisconsin, presenting the museum with their private art collection. The naming of the Trout Conference Room took place at the spring Advisory Board meeting of the McPherson ERI, and was warmly greeted by board members in attendance.

Dan and Ellie Albert Student Vision Research Awards

June, 2015

Dan and Eleanor AlbertMedical students Preshita S. Date and Minh T. Nguyen have each been awarded inaugural Dan and Ellie Albert Student Vision Research Awards, supported by the Dan and Ellie Albert Fund in conjunction with the Shapiro Summer Research Program. Date will work with Drs. Barbara Blodi and Amitha Domalpally on a project involving Spectral-Domain Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT); Minh Nguyen will work with Drs. David Gamm and Divya Sinha on the Generation of an NRL-/- Hpsc Line to Enrich for Cone Photoreceptors. The Albert Student Vision Research Awards will be given annually with submissions next accepted late in the fall semester (exact dates will be posted); current SMPH medical students are eligible for the award, which support work in vision research.

Spring 2015 Walsh Research Travel Awards

June, 2015

McPherson ERI/David G. Walsh Research Travel Awards provide funds for graduate students and postdoctoral researchers from MERI members' research groups to attend research conferences to present vision-related work. The McPherson ERI Research Committee is pleased to announce two outstanding award recipients. Congratulations to both award recipients, who will be invited to speak in the McPherson ERI seminar series in the next academic year.

  • Clint Jensen, graduate student (Psychology, Letters and Science; Vanessa Simmering, mentor), will attend the 2015 Jean Piaget Society Conference in Toronto, Canada. His presentation is entitled, From General to Specific: A Developmental Exploration of the Influence of Conceptual Knowledge in Visual Recognition.
  • Kimberly Toops, postdoctoral researcher (Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, SMPH; Aparna Lakkaraju, mentor), will attend the annual meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) in Denver, CO. Her poster presentation is entitled, Complex anomalies in late endosome and lysosome trafficking in stressed retinal pigment epithelial cells.

Winter 2015 Walsh Research Travel Awards
January, 2015

Brian Allen and Caitlin MacNair, graduate students from McPherson ERI members' research groups, have been chosen from an excellent and diverse field of applicants to receive McPherson ERI/David G. Walsh Research Travel Awards. These awards provide funds to attend research conferences, in order to present vision-related work and advance educational and professional development opportunities. Congratulations to both award recipients, who will be invited to speak in the McPherson ERI seminar series during the 2015-16 academic year.

  • Brian Allen (Psychology, Letters and Science, UW-Madison; Bas Rokers, mentor) will attend the November 15-19, 2015 annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience (SFN) in Washington, DC. His talk is entitled, Altered white matter in early visual pathways as a result of amblyopia.
  • Caitlin MacNair (Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, SMPH, UW-Madison; Rob Nickells, mentor) will attend the annual meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) in Denver, CO in May 2015. Her poster presentation is entitled, Pannexin 1 expression in macroglia modulates activation of these cells after optic nerve crush.