Let the countdown begin for May as ‘month of ARVO’ and Annual Meeting
The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) will hold its annual meeting for 2021 in a virtual format from Saturday, May 1, to Friday, May 7. Because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, ARVO will present its sessions on the Pathable online platform.
Although 3 COVID-19 vaccines have been granted emergency use authorization by the United States Food and Drug Administration, the pandemic continues to affect in-person meetings. In December, ARVO announced plans to move its 2021 annual meeting to a fully virtual format. The event had originally been scheduled for early May in San Francisco, California.
According to Julene Joy, CAE, ARVO’s chief marketing and communications officer, the theme of the 2021 ARVO annual meeting is “Revolutionary Eye and Vision Research.”
“Innovation and advanced technologies have fostered significant discoveries in eye and vision research in the last decade rivaling those in any discipline,” Joy said. “The theme of the 2021 ARVO annual meeting is the next revolution of clinically translating these discoveries to restore and preserve vision.”
Joy noted that while virtual conferences can result in long hours, ARVO is alleviating some of that stress with the “Month of ARVO.” Events will include:
According to Joy, all meeting content and materials will be accessible until Wednesday, June 30, 2021.
In a virtual setting, Joy said, attendees can still expect the meeting they know and look forward to every year. “Poster and paper presentations, keynote addresses, award lectures, and special events like ARVO’s Got Talent, the ARVO Foundation Gala and the WEAVR Luncheon are adapting to meet the moment,” she said. “Attendees can also expect to still be able to engage with a lively exhibit hall and explore new products and information from our impressive list of exhibitors. Live chat and exhibitor demonstrations will ensure that nothing is missing in the virtual experience.”
The ARVO staff, led by Executive Director Iris M. Rush, CAE, has met the challenges associated with hosting a virtual event amid the pandemic.
“ARVO’s Board of Trustees was quick to prioritize the health and safety of our members, and the decision to go fully virtual was made well in advance, allowing plenty of time for members and staff alike to prepare,” Joy said. “ARVO staff has worked closely with leadership, stakeholders, vendors and our platform provider, Pathable, for months to ensure that we are still providing a premier annual meeting experience with all the features, networking, and learning that our attendees have come to expect.”
Here are some highlights from this year’s program, including keynotes and lectures:
ARVO/ALCON KEYNOTE SERIES
As in years past, ARVO/Alcon Keynote Lectures will bookend the opening and closing days, offering a chance for attendees to focus on key points of the meeting theme and find out how research continues to affect the way they treat patients.
Saturday, May 1, 9 AM to 10 AM
Jonathan Kipnis, PhD, BJC investigator, Alan A. and Edith L. Wolff Distinguished Professor of Pathology and Immunology; professor of neurology, neuroscience and neurosurgery; and director, Center for Brain Immunology and Glia (BIG) at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri, will present the opening keynote. Kipnis’ research focuses on the interactions between the immune system and the central nervous system. As part of its work, his team has detailed how human brain function relies, in large part, on the mechanisms of the immune system and how immune molecules (cytokines) play a key role in neuromodality. The work of the team can have an impact on Alzheimer disease, autism, and multiple sclerosis.
Kipnis is a graduate of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel. At the institute, he was a Sir Charles Clore scholar and received a distinguished prize for scientific achievements awarded by the Israeli Parliament, the Knesset. In 2018 he received an NIH Director’s Pioneer Award to explore in more depth neuro-immune interactions in healthy and diseased brains.
Friday, May 7, 9 AM to 10 AM
Delivering the closing keynote address at the ARVO virtual conference is Helen Blau, PhD, the Donald E. and Delia B. Baxter Foundation Professor of Stem Cell Biology, and director of the Baxter Laboratory for Stem Cell Biology at Stanford University School of Medicine.
Blau’s work centers around stem cells, and her focus has been on nuclear reprogramming and the demonstration of the plasticity of cell fate using cell fusion. During her career, she has served on the Ellison Medical Foundation Scientific Advisory Board and the Harvard Board of Overseers.
Blau is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Medicine, the National Academy of Sciences, and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
BASIC CLINICAL LECTURE
According to ARVO, the 2021 Basic Clinical Lecture will be presented to clinical researchers from a basic perspective. Titled “Transcriptional Dynamics in Eye Development and Disease,” organizers include Elfride De Baere, Carlo Rivolta, and Stephany Hagstrom. Speakers include Anand Swaroop, PhD; Sandro Banfi; Janey Wiggs, MD, PhD; Timothy Cherry, PhD; Seth Blackshaw, PhD; and Magdalena Renner. The panel will discuss some advances in RNA biology in the eye and transcriptional misregulation as a cause of different eye diseases. The speakers also will shed light on diagnostic strategies and the role of RNA molecules as biomarkers and as targets for novel therapeutic approaches.
ARVO FOUNDATION GALA
The 2021 ARVO Foundation Gala will be held virtually from 7 PM to 8 PM Sunday, May 2. The event will be open to all ARVO 2021 registrants at no additional fee to attend. ARVO will host its first AR-VO’s Got Talent competition during the event. The grand prize winner and runner-up videos will be announced and aired during the event. ARVO officials will score the videos and share the highest-scoring entries on the annual meeting virtual platform, Pathable. Votes for the top videos will be accepted from April 15 to May 2.
Sunday, May 2, 9 AM to 11 AM
Monday, May 3, 9 AM to 11 AM
Wednesday, May 5, 9 AM to 11 AM
Friday, May 7, 10:30 AM to 12:30 PM
Sunday, May 2, 3:45 PM to 5:30 PM
Tuesday, May 4, 12:30 PM to 2:15 PM
Wednesday, May 5, 5 PM to 6:45 PM
Thursday, May 6, 9 AM to 10:45 AM
Thursday, May 6, 3:30 PM to 5:15 PM
VICE PRESIDENTIAL SESSION
The featured speakers during this symposium include Ruth Ashery-Padan, PhD, Ales Cvekl, PhD, Cheryl Gregory-Evans, PhD, Melinda K. Duncan, PhD, Neil Lagali, PhD, and Christopher Riemann, MD. During this session, the panelists will discuss the roles of PAX6 in tissue development and attempts to relate these functions with the progressive eye diseases experienced by aniridia patients as they age.
CROSS-SECTIONAL GROUP SECTIONS
For ophthalmologists whose interests cannot be simply defined in a single section, the cross-sectional platform sessions offer a range of options. These will include:
The virtual 2021 Women in Eye and Vision Research (WEAVR) Luncheon will be held from 1:15 PM to 3:15 PM Monday, May 3. The event, which will include a keynote address, will be open to all ARVO 2021 registrants.