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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8th Annual McPherson ERI Vision Science Poster Session Draws a Crowd 

The McPherson ERI's annual poster session, held on Tuesday, October 4th in the atrium of the School of Medicine and Public Health, attracted close to 100 McPherson ERI members and affiliated researchers.  37 MERI members, including many trainee members, displayed their current research in a wide range of vision science fields.

Professor JoAnn Kuchera-Morin, Director and Chief Scientist of the AlloSphere Research Facility and Professor of Media Arts & Technology and of Music at the University of California, Santa Barbara, gave the annual McPherson ERI Lecture following the session, speaking on "Harnessing Sight and Sound to Explore Complex Information.”  The image below shows how the Allosphere, the building-size display tool that Kucera-Morin developed at UC/Santa Barbara, is used to display complex data in a visual format (in this case, Kuchera-Morin and her group are using the immersive/interactive visual/aural computational platform to interact with MRI data of a real human body).

Picture of Kuchera-Morin and her group 


Researchers awarded grant to improve treatment of AMD

A multidisciplinary group of researchers is building a model of the retina that will help doctors better diagnose and develop treatments for age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Kristyn Masters and Pam Kreeger, both associate professors of biomedical engineering, in conjunction with Aparna Lakkaraju, an assistant professor with the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences...Read more


Gamm team and collaborators awarded NEI grant to reverse blindness

A UW-Madison research team of half a dozen McPherson ERI colleagues, along with collaborators at Johns Hopkins University, has been selected as one of six groups to receive funding from the National Eye Institute with the goal of restoring vision by regenerating photoreceptor cells.  Read more....


Aparna Lab

Macular degeneration prevention advances with Lakkaraju team's new paper 

July 2016

The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has published a new paper by Li Xuan Tan, Kimberly Toops, and Aparna Lakkaraju which pinpoints how immune abnormalities in the retinal pigment epithelium can cause macular degeneration.  The paper also notes that drugs commonly used to treat depression can counteract these abnormalities and protect the retina.  Read more....


Picture of Pawan Sinha

Capacity Crowd Hears Pawan Sinha Give 2016 McPherson Endowed Lecture

April 2016 Lecture Available to View Watch the Lecture

The McPherson Eye Research Institute celebrated its 10th Anniversary with the 4th Annual Endowed Lecture on Thursday, April 28, 2016. Pawan Sinha, PhD, Professor of Vision and Computational Neuroscience in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT, spoke about "Learning to See Late in Childhood." His lecture focused on Project Prakash - an initiative restoring sight to blind children - and on his associated research, tracking visual learning and brain plasticity through a combination of behavioral and brain imaging studies.

Picture of Alice McPherson at lecture Pictue of Pawan Sinha at lecture podium Picture of Lecture Audience

4th Annual McPherson ERI Endowed Lecture Flyer


1st Annual Biopharmaceutical Development Workshop: Focus on Ocular Therapeutics

March 2016

Waisman Biomanufacturing and McPherson Eye Research Institute held this day long workshop on March 17, 2016 at The Wisconsin Institute for Discovery, Madison, WI (8:00am - 6:30pm). The development of cell therapies for ocular diseases from basic research to clinical studies was presented and discussed including: the development of cells for drug screening applications, development of cell and gene therapies for eye indications, and strategies to address pre-clinical development and regulatory challenges for eye indications. 


MERI-at-a-Glance Highlights the Range of McPherson ERI Research Interests

February 2016

MERI-at-a-Glance successfully took place on February 19th at the Wisconsin Institute of Discovery (WID), where eight short research talks were presented. Vision-related findings and interests were shared from cataracts and glaucoma, viral gene delivery to therapeutic stem cell interventions, and computational optics to toddlers and TV. These McPherson ERI members presented at MERI-at-a-Glance:

Ariel Alperstein, Trainee member (Chemistry; Zanni Lab)
Are cataracts an amyloid disease?

Curtis Brandt, PhD (Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences)
Innate and adaptive ocular immune responses to viral gene delivery vectors

Shaoqin “Sarah” Gong, PhD (Biomedical Engineering; Wisconsin Institute for Discovery)
Use of biomaterials in treating eye diseases

Heather Kirkorian, PhD (Human Development & Family Studies)
Watching TV through toddlers’ eyes

Donna Peters, PhD (Pathology and Laboratory Medicine)
Role of integrin dysregulation in glaucoma

Divya Sinha, PhD, Trainee member (Waisman Center; Gamm Lab)
Utilizing human pluripotent stem cells to develop disease models and devise therapeutic interventions for retinal degenerative diseases

Ahna Skop, PhD (Genetics; Life Sciences Communication)
The inside Skop: science as art

Andreas Velten, PhD (LOCI: Laboratory for Optical and Computational Instrumentation)
Improving multiscale scene understanding beyond conventional imaging using Computational Optics