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News for Supporters and Friends

2018 SPRING EDITION

HearUP – To Make Sure Nobody Falls Through the Cracks by Carrie Fogel

For millions of people around the world, untreated hearing loss impacts their ability to communicate and to interact successfully in the workplace and with loved ones. No group of people regardless of age, ethnicity, or race are immune to hearing loss and untreated hearing loss can negatively impact quality of life and health outcomes. The problem of unrecognized and untreated hearing loss is what drives Dr. Catherine Palmer, Director of Audiology at UPMC and Associate Professor in the Departments of Otolaryngology and Communciation Science and Disorders at the University of Pittsburgh, and her team of professionals, to seek new and improved ways of intervening before hearing loss becomes debilitating. “It’s not just about hearing better; it’s about helping people to hear so they can communicate, which allows them to maintain their overall health and functionality,” states Dr. Palmer.

University of Pittsburgh Audiology student, Kara Magliocca, at the Squirrel Hill Clinic.

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In This Issue A New Frontier in Bionic Vision for Macular Degeneration

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The Myers Family – The Legacy Continues

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Using Math, Science, and Cutting-Edge Technology to Restore Vision and Improve Lives 4 Longtime Friend and Donor – Nancy McDonald

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Spanning the Globe for Specialty Surgery

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Louis J. Fox Center for Vision Restoration – Targeting the Holy Grail of Vision Science

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Pittsburgh CREATES – a Kick Off event

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ntreated hearing loss is linked to social isolation, depression, increased falls, and cognitive decline, as well as many other psychosocial and health challenges. Untreated hearing loss is especially problematic for individuals pursuing education, or trying to secure employment. Many individuals with hearing loss are not able to seek treatment in a traditional medical setting because of accessibility or affordability of hearing health care, which is why Dr. Palmer and her colleagues are taking their show on the road. Rachel Fryatt, an audiology student studying with Dr. Palmer was looking for ways to bring audiology services to those in need, and identified the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship program, a University of Pittsburgh Chapter, as the perfect vehicle to create the program she envisioned. The Schweitzer Fellowship supports students who want to create positive change for vulnerable populations by helping them to live healthier lives and in turn creates healthier communities. Ms. Fryatt, with Dr. Palmer’s guidance, saw that there was a way to treat hearing loss in underserved populations here in our own community, and forged a partnership with the Birmingham Clinic in the South Side to provide hearing tests and hearing aid fittings, along with providing other assistive listening devices. With the help of Dr. Elaine Mormer, the Clinical Coordinator for the University of Pittsburgh Audiology Program, this clinic has become a training site for the University of Pittsburgh Audiology students. This not only serves the community, but future audiologists are exposed to methods of providing care to some of our most vulnerable patients. The program, now known as HearUP (Hearing Education and Resources for Underserved Populations), sees a full schedule of patients during it’s monthly day of service at the Birmingham Clinic, and has been well-received by individuals in need of audiology services. A recent recipient of care stated, “I feel so much safer now that I can hear what is happening around me. I’m not exhausted from trying to make sure I hear people talking to me at work. I’m not always worried that I’m going to lose my job.” Continued on page 5


A New Frontier in Bionic Vision for Macular Degeneration by Paul Stabile and Arvind Suresh

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he next big thing in vision restoration technology is actually quite small. About 2x2 mm -- the size of a pinhead -- and as thick as a human hair to be more precise. Called PRIMA, developed by Dr. Daniel Palanker, from Stanford University, and Dr. José-Alain Sahel, Chairman of Ophthalmology at University of Pittsburgh, this bionic retinal implant system is coming to Pittsburgh as part of a clinical trial soon to start at the University of Pittsburgh and UPMC. The bionic vision system was developed by Paris-based Pixium Vision, a company spun out of research at the Institut de la Vision in Paris. Pixium’s co-founder Dr. José-Alain Sahel, who also founded the Institut de la Vision. The company has already been engaged in clinical trials in Paris since December 2017 and recently received approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to begin the clinical feasibility study here in Pittsburgh.

Pitt and UPMC were chosen as the first and only US site to participate in this 36-month early feasibility study designed to evaluate the safety and performance of this new visual device. The trial will involve five patients who have lost central vision due to end-stage atrophic Dry Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD). Joseph N. Martel, MD, Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, will implement the new artificial visual system at UPMC. A unique collaboration forged by Dr. Sahel among the University of Pittsburgh and three French Institutions: University Pierre et Marie Curie of the Sorbonne Universités, the Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (Inserm), and the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) has made this study possible.

Joseph Martel, MD, will be the first physician in the United States to implement the new artificial vision system. How does it work? The system itself consists of the wireless miniature chip implant, special eyeglasses, and a small portable computer. The eyeglasses have a miniaturized camera that captures information from the outside world and sends it to a computer, which is worn by the patient. The computer processes the information and translates it back to the glasses which then transmits it through the eye via infrared light to the implant. The chip, designed to recognize this laser, converts the information into a pattern of electrical impulses that are is sent to the brain. The patient learns to interpret these impulses through training after the chip is implanted. How is this different from other implants? While this is not the only retinal implant being developed, PRIMA differs from existing technologies in dramatic ways. Other implants require a wire from the patient’s body to the chip, but this implant does not. The chip also has many more electrodes – 378 to be exact – than other implants, which is expected to vastly improve what the patient is able to see after training. What does this mean for patients? The new implant and procedure is the hope of the future for more patients with dry-AMD and other eye diseases. If successful, it will likely lead to further trials for patients with retinitis pigmentosa or other degenerating age-related eye diseases.

José-Alain Sahel, MD, Chairman, Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Pittsburgh and Founder/Director of the Institut de la Vision in Paris, holding the retinal implant. Photo credit: Tim Betler/UPMC 2

For more information on the Bionic Visual System, please call or email Paul Stabile at the Eye & Ear Foundation, 412-864-1450 or paul@eyeandear.org.


The Myers Family – The Legacy Continues by Heather Chronis

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o become chairman of a department in a medical school is the penultimate moment in a physician’s career. It is the attainment of the highest honor a hospital or medical school gives within a department and is the recognition of outstanding medical prowess and leadership. Very few physicians attain this honor and for the select few who realize this achievement, it is because medicine is their life’s calling. The rarity of having multiple department chairmen in a family is minute, but to have three generations of chairmen is beyond a statistical probability. Eugene N. Myers, MD, FACS, FRCS Edin (Hon.), Distinguished Professor and Chairman Emeritus of the Department of Otolaryngology at the University of Pittsburgh is from a family for whom medical excellence is a legacy of multiple generations. His father, David, was a Chairman of Otolaryngology at Temple University. In addition, his maternal grandfather, maternal uncle, and paternal uncles were all doctors. Dr. Myers earned his Doctor of Medicine degree in 1960 from Temple University School of Medicine. Following his residency at the Massachusetts Eye & Ear Infirmary, Harvard Medical School, he served from 1968-72 as an Assistant Professor of Clinical Otolaryngology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and became Professor and Chairman of the Department of Otolaryngology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in 1972. While serving in that leadership position, he increased the size and quality of the school’s Department of Otolaryngology, to a status that it is widely considered one of the leading programs in the world. In 2006, Dr. Myers was named Distinguished Professor and Emeritus Chair. During his tenure at the University of Pittsburgh, Dr. Myers trained countless otolaryngology surgeons, including twenty-four of whom are now chairman of their respective departments both in this country and abroad. One of these surgeons is his son, Jeffrey N. Myers, MD, PhD, FACS, who was recently

named the Alando J. Ballantyne Distinguished Chair of Head and Neck Surgery, Department of Head and Neck Surgery, Division of Surgery at The University of Texas - MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. He received his medical and doctoral degrees from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and he then completed his residency training in Otolaryngology at the University of Pittsburgh. He subsequently completed fellowship training in Head and Neck Surgical Oncology at the University of Texas - MD Anderson Cancer Center and has been on their faculty since that time. He has established an important NIH funded laboratory, studying the biologic mechanisms of metastatic cancer. Dr. Jeffrey Myers also served as the President of the American Head and Neck Society, following in the footsteps of his father, who also served as President from 1988-1989. “I wish that my Dad was still here to help to celebrate Jeff’s appointment at MD Anderson. It’s the most prestigious Chair in our specialty. Jeff and my Dad spent a great deal of time together during Jeff’s 12 years as a student at the University of Pennsylvania. They had long conversations-mostly about medicine and I can see in Jeff the remarkable enthusiasm for taking care of patients that my Dad had his entire life. Of course, it’s easy to recognize, since I was influenced in the same way. I am quite sure that having three generations of Department Chairs in one family is quite unique and we’re very proud of it. Jeff’s eldest son, Keith, is in his second year at Temple University School of Medicine, so perhaps we have yet another Chair in the pipeline,” remarked Dr. Eugene N. Myers. The standard of medical excellence that was set by the Myers family many years ago continues today, with not only Dr. Jeffrey N. Myers, but countless head and neck surgeons across the globe due to the world class training and education that Dr. Eugene N. Myers made the standard of the Department of Otolaryngology at the University of Pittsburgh. The next generation of head and neck surgeons have greatly

David Myers, MD

Eugene N. Myers, MD

Jeffrey N. Myers, MD benefited from the standard of excellence that began with Dr. David Myers, continued with Dr. Eugene N. Myers, and now is exemplified by Dr. Jeffrey Myers, as the family tradition has always been to provide world class patient care and lead their fellow surgeons in mastering these innovative and life changing procedures. In fact, it is with this world class patient care in mind, that Dr. Eugene N. Myers directed a substantial gift from the Myers Family Foundation to the Eye & Ear Foundation to help train and educate head and neck surgeons through the Pittsburgh CREATES project.

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Using Math, Science, and Cutting-Edge Technology to Restore Vision and Improve Lives by Carrie Fogel

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ome meetings change your life”, says Ryad Benosman, PhD, one of the newest faculty members in the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Pittsburgh. For Dr. Benosman, a 2008 meeting in Paris, altered the trajectory of his career as a researcher in mathematics and engineering. As a Professor in the Robotics Institute at the Universite Pierre et Marie Curie in Paris for many years, he was comfortable in the stable academic setting that was afforded. During his time in Paris, Dr. Benosman began to question how the brain works together with mathematics, which, he notes are two areas of research that typically do not intersect or work together, as no mathematical theory could explain the brain. He had a feeling that computers could do better in mimicking how the brain works, and that an understanding of this process could improve the way that computers function. “They speak two different languages, but ultimately could be working toward the same end,” according to Dr. Benosman. Dr. Benosman knew that to make these connections, he needed to become wellversed in other scientific disciplines, so he

Ryad Benosman, PhD 4

began studying with his Paris colleagues in biology, neurosciences, physiology, and other fields to put everything together. This task, what Dr. Benosman labeled, ‘crossing the desert’, was not one he went about quickly; in fact, it took approximately ten years to merge concepts from mathematics and engineering to be able to mimic neurological and biological patterns and architectures to create a new field called neuromorphic event driven computation. “Everything was a concept until 2007; I had pieces of the puzzle, but I needed to be able to put them all together in an application. Then, I met with José [Sahel] in 2008, where I shared some of those ideas that I wanted to accomplish and what I would need to achieve success. Dr. Benosman remembers Dr. Sahel listening carefully, and after he finished sharing his big picture goals, Dr. Sahel offered him the chance to pursue them in the context of Ophthalmology. Dr. Benosman began assembling his team, and they set to work building cameras, retinal prosthetics, and other neurovisual stimulation devices. By 2015, Dr. Benosman’s research team expanded from 6 scientists to 45, and would be responsible for many of the therapeutic devices that are currently in clinical trials in Paris. “We built generations of implants from the technology spun out from my laboratory, and started work in optogenetic stimulation, in which some of the DNA in cells are replaced and activated through light.” Most importantly, Dr. Benosman said, was his ability to formulate a new method of computing information using time as a key component. His multidisciplinary background helped him to see that the way traditional engineering understood the functions of the brain was not, for many reasons, biologically plausible. Being uniquely positioned at the intersection of many different scientific fields has allowed Dr. Benosman to achieve success in applying mathematical concepts to solve human problems. The attention that Dr. Benosman and his laboratory attracted during this period of

exploration with Dr. Sahel resulted in three or four offers to move his work to universities in the United States, but none were tempting enough until 2016, when Dr. Benosman learned that Dr. Sahel was planning to move to the United States. Intrigued, he agreed to visit Pittsburgh on the way home to Paris from a conference in Telluride, Colorado, to determine if it would be a good fit for his work and the direction in which he wanted to go. Little did he know that his visit was actually an interview, and he had to acquire a new suit in one day in rural Colorado. But, Dr. Benosman was impressed by the breadth of resources offered at the University of Pittsburgh and neighboring Carnegie Mellon University, where he is now jointly appointed as a faculty member. “My natural terrain is to be between mathematics and robotics, which fit with CMU, but I needed the medical connection offered by the University of Pittsburgh to bridge the gap between science and medicine. The science and the opportunity to work together with medical colleagues in Pittsburgh is so good, I knew I wanted to be here,” stated Dr. Benosman. Already, Dr. Benosman is taking advantage of new opportunities available to him in Pittsburgh, collaborating with experts in other areas of science, such as Neurobiology and Pediatric Ophthalmology. He recently received an award from the Shear Foundation to support his work in Machine Learning, with the hope that these funds will allow him to investigate the ability that computers can have to process large amounts of patient data to aid in formulating precise medical diagnoses. That support, Dr. Benosman said, is very valuable in funding high-risk research, which is often based on intuition and not certain deliverables that are promised. “It just takes one idea to make everything fall into place, and I think I know what the next step is.” To learn more about Dr. Benosman’s research, contact Carrie Fogel at 412-864-1451 or carrie@eyeandear.org.


Longtime Friend and Donor – Nancy McDonald by Heather Chronis

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un is rarely the first thing that comes to mind when donors discuss why they give to the Eye & Ear Foundation. For Nancy McDonald, that is one of the top reasons for donating to research in the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Pittsburgh. “When I first met Nils Loewen, MD, Ophthalmologist and Director of the Glaucoma and Cataract Service, and Jeffrey Gross, PhD, the E. Ronald Salvitti, MD Endowed Chair in Ophthalmology Research and Director of the Louis J. Fox Center for Vision Restoration, both from the Department of Ophthalmology, their engaging personalities led me to learn more about their research. They bring joy to every interaction and I feel happy every time I am in their presence,” states Mrs. McDonald. When Mrs. McDonald first visited the Eye and Ear Institute with her late husband, William, it was at the suggestion of Dr. Dunbar Hoskins, a leading expert on glaucoma, author of the definitive medical text book on the subject and a close friend of the

couple. “Bill and I were moving back to my hometown of Pittsburgh from San Francisco and we needed a glaucoma specialist for Bill. Dr. Hoskins told us to immediately make an appointment at Eye and Ear Institute with the glaucoma specialists, as they were among the nation’s best experts in ophthalmology for this disorder.” Following her husband’s passing, Mrs. McDonald began to learn more about the research within the Department of Ophthalmology by touring the laboratories and attending Eye & Ear Foundation events, including the Joseph Soffer Memorial Lecture, which offered both camaraderie and education on Ophthalmology. Eventually, she focused her attention on Dr. Loewen’s glaucoma research and Dr. Gross’ zebra fish laboratory, which studies retinal regeneration. In July, she attended the official signing ceremony at the French Embassy in Washington, D.C. which established the collaboration between the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Pittsburgh and the Sorbonne University in Paris.

Nils Loewen, MD, PhD and Nancy McDonald “These two guys are fun to be around and I love talking to them about everything that they are doing in their research,” states Mrs. McDonald. It was her first tour of the Dr. Gross’ zebra fish lab that really sparked her interest in donating to the Eye & Ear Foundation. “We all want a cure for the worst eye maladies, but that requires money to recruit the most talented researchers and clinicians. None of this happens without donor support.” The Eye & Ear Foundation is profoundly thankful for donors such as Mrs. McDonald who are committed to supporting the outstanding work of the Departments of Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology at the University of Pittsburgh.

Continued from page 1 “Improved communication through improved hearing, Dr. Palmer says, improves peoples’ chances of becoming employed, and in the case of immigrants and refugees, to integrate more easily into an unfamiliar society and to learn a new language.” Even though the clinic only offers appointments with an audiologist once per month, the clinics are equipped with the necessary supplies to service assistive devices and hearing aids, so that patients do not have to go without their devices. The program at Birmingham Clinic was so successful in its first year that, once the original project period was completed, two more of Dr. Palmer and Dr. Mormer’s students were accepted into the Schweitzer Fellowship to not only continue the work at the Birmingham Clinic, but to expand to a second site at the Squirrel Hill Health Center. This clinic is the

first place immigrants and refugees receive care when they are welcomed to Pittsburgh. The clinic at the Squirrel Hill Health Center operates on the same day as the Birmingham site, but with evening hours, so that patients who are unable to schedule a visit during the day are still able to be seen. Support from the Eye & Ear Foundation has helped to offset the expenses of providing no-cost care to the individuals accessing the two clinics. Portable testing equipment has been purchased and patients who qualify for hearing aids, receive them at no cost. The HearUP project is supported by John and Mary Nice, who became interested in the work that Dr. Palmer and her team were doing to reach more patients and provide hearing assistance to those in need but who may have limited resources.

Even though the clinic only offers appointments with an audiologist once per month, the clinics are equipped with the necessary supplies to service assistive devices and hearing aids, so that patients do not have to go without their devices.

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Spanning the Globe for Specialty Surgery by Heather Chronis

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he first encounter with Gadi Ronen was with a 3D translucent model of his skull and tumor. He followed soon after to meet his surgeons, Carl Snyderman and Paul Gardner, Co-Directors of the UPMC Center for Skull Base Surgery. The model was created by Stratasys, a company in Israel where Mr. Ronen is employed as an industrial engineer. Once the model was completed, Stratasys sent an employee to Pittsburgh with the 3-D skull to ensure that Dr. Snyderman received the final product intact. Gadi Ronen tackled his battle with a sinus cancer in the same fashion he handles everything in his life – with intense research and the support of family and friends. When Mr. Ronen was advised that his cancer had reoccurred and that surgery was his remaining option, his physician recommended the best surgeon to perform this intricate surgery, Dr. Carl Snyderman and the Center for Skull Base Surgery in the Department of Otolaryngology at the University of Pittsburgh. Mr. Ronen then consulted with a friend, an ordained rabbi, who operates an ambulance company in his home country of Israel and ‘matches sick people with the best hospitals and doctors in the world’ [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Avraham_Elimelech_Firer]. “He told me that the only person that I should see is Carl Snyderman, MD. I scheduled an appointment with Dr. Snyderman and left immediately for Pittsburgh,” states Mr. Ronen. The UPMC Center for Skull Base Surgery was the first such center in North America and pioneered many of the techniques used today, including minimally invasive surgical procedures for the removal of sinus cancers and brain tumors. Depending on the location of the tumor, Dr. Snyderman and his colleagues can surgically remove it through the nose, avoiding extensive facial incisions and opening of the skull. In Mr. Ronen’s case, the tumor was behind his nose, but close to the eye and major vessels to the brain. During the ten-hour surgery at UPMC in October, Dr. Snyderman and Dr. Gardner

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were able to completely remove the tumor through the nose. The 3D model provided by Mr. Ronen was helpful in planning the surgery and visualizing its relationships to major vessels and nerves. 3D visualization and printing technology is revolutionizing surgery, especially in complex areas such as the base of skull. Surgeons can now create 3D images of tumors and important anatomical structures prior to surgery to study their relationships and plan the best surgical approach. 3D models can be printed on site prior to surgery for use as visual aids or for surgical training. (see below for a discussion of 3D printing technology). The 3D model provided by Mr. Ronen now sits on Dr. Snyderman’s desk in the Center for Skull Base Surgery as a reminder, not only of how far Mr. Ronen traveled to receive surgery, but also how far new technologies have advanced the care of patients with tumors in “impossible” locations.

For more on Pittsburgh CREATES, please see the article on the back cover.

Figure 1: 3D model provided by Stratasys demonstrates the recurrent tumor (pink) as it would be viewed through the nose and sinuses.

3D printing, or additive manufacturing, is a process of making three dimensional solid objects from a digital file. In the case of the above article, the 3D skull model was created from an MRI. The creation of a 3D printed object is achieved using additive processes. In an additive process, an object is created by laying down successive layers of material until the object is created. Within the Department of Otolaryngology, Pittsburgh CREATES is also using 3D printing technology, not only to model anatomical structures for surgical training, but to also develop new enhancements to surgical devices with our corporate collaborators. Additionally, the CREATES team has access to other advanced additive manufacturing processes at the Swanson School of Engineering, allowing them to 3D print materials, such as titanium.  This permits them to rapidly prototype and test new concepts that are realistic and have many of the material properties of a final product.

Figure 2: 3D model created at UPMC of a tumor (translucent) and its relationships to major arteries (red) and veins (blue) in the upper neck and base of skull.


Louis J. Fox Center for Vision Restoration – Targeting the Holy Grail of vision Science by Heather Chronis

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ince 2008, the Louis J. Fox Center for Vision Restoration within the Department of Ophthalmology and the McGowan Institute at the University of Pittsburgh has been an internationally recognized leader for its innovative research and clinical translation of regenerative medicine-based therapies. The research at the Fox Center is focused on optic nerve regeneration and whole eye transplantation research, two of the most promising areas in ophthalmic research. By dedicating its world-renowned scientists, along with the financial resources of the Fox Center to these two puzzles, a framework emerges for finally conquering these two ocular maladies in an expedited fashion. Through the philanthropy of Mr. Louis J. Fox, the Fox Center was the first national, comprehensive, multi-disciplinary research and clinical program dedicated to ocular regenerative medicine. “Optic nerve regeneration and whole eye transplantation have been a focus of the Fox Center for the last few years, but with Dr. José-Alain Sahel taking over the helm of ophthalmology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, we now move forward in these areas with great energy and determination. If the efforts of the Fox Center and its collaborative partners are successful, it will be a landmark achievement in the fields of ophthalmology and spinal cord disease and trauma. This would be one of the most meaningful achievements for people, such as myself, who have suffered visual impairment or total loss,” states Louis Fox. To this end, the Director of the Fox Center, Jeff Gross, PhD, and the E. Ronald Salvitti, MD Endowed Chair in Ophthalmology Research at the University of Pittsburgh is actively recruiting top scientists for the laboratories at the Fox Center. In January 2018, the Department of Ophthalmology welcomed Takaaki Kuwajima, PhD, as an Assistant Professor. Taka, as he is known

Louis J. Fox and his horse, Joys Juliet, competing in the 2017 U.S. Nationals Arabian and Half-Arabian National Championship Horse Show. to his colleagues, comes to Pittsburgh from Columbia University’s Motor Neuron Laboratory and is one of the world’s leading optic nerve regeneration researchers with a focus on restoring the visual pathway after injury. In July 2018, Issam Al Diri, PhD will arrive from St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, TN, also appointed as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Ophthalmology. Issam brings expertise in the epigenetic regulation of gene expression during retinal development, regeneration and ocular diseases and will complement the

strong programs in retinal biology and disease within the Department of Ophthalmology. In addition to the ground-breaking research being conducted in Pittsburgh, the Fox Center hosts annual international symposiums to assemble scientists from around the world to share and collaborate on research advances. The next symposium will be held in October 2018, with the goal of identifying fundamental aspects of regeneration that could advance approaches aimed toward regenerating the optic nerve. 7


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If you no longer wish to receive our newsletter, please submit requests to our mailing address, or email optout@eyeandear.org The official registration and financial information of the Eye & Ear Foundation may be obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of State by calling toll free, within Pennsylvania, 1-800-732-0999. Registration does not imply endorsement. The Eye & Ear Foundation of Pittsburgh is a nonprofit 501 (C)(3) organization. Our mission is to support the research and academic efforts of the Departments of Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology at the University of Pittsburgh. Donations to support our research initiatives can be made online at eyeandear.org or by returning the enclosed envelope. For more information on the Foundation, our research, or the articles in this newsletter, please contact Katherine Troy, Director of Operations, at katherine@eyeandear.org or 412-864-1300.

Pittsburgh CREATES – a Kick Off Event by Heather Chronis

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ittsburgh CREATES (Collaborative for Research, Education and Technology Enhancements for Surgery) is a surgical innovation and educational platform developed by the Department of Otolaryngology at the University of Pittsburgh and a cornerstone fundraising project for the Eye & Ear Foundation. CREATES is groundbreaking collaboration between medical, industry, and community partners on innovating less invasive surgical procedures for patients around the world.

Simulated surgery with the DaVinci robot in the Pittsburgh CREATES lab.

On March 26, 2018, over 75 guests, including University of Pittsburgh leadership, community officials, business partners, and members of the Eye & Ear Foundation Board of Directors attended the CREATES Kick Off celebration, which spotlighted the revamped Eye and Ear Institute’s first floor space allocated to Pittsburgh CREATES. Under the leadership of Jonas T. Johnson, MD, Chairman of the Department of Otolaryngology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, the evening provided an opportunity to hear from University of Pittsburgh and UPMC leadership on the project, including John Innocenti, President of UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside Hospital, representatives from UPMC Enterprise, partners from industry, as well as the two surgeons leading the charge of CREATES, Uma Duvvuri, MD, PhD, Medical Director, and Carl

Jonas T. Johnson, MD, Chairman of the Otolaryngolgy at the University of Pittsburgh, speaking at the Pittsburgh CREATES kick off event. Snyderman, MD, both of the Department of Otolaryngology, along with tours of the new innovation space with Max Fedor, Executive Director of CREATES. To learn more about Pittsburgh CREATES, including information on tours, please contact Heather Chronis at heather@eyeandear.org or 412 864 1452.

Profile for Eye & Ear Foundation of Pittsburgh

EEF Sight + Sound: Spring 2018  

EEF Sight + Sound: Spring 2018