The European Research Council has awarded one of the 2011 ERC Advanced Grants to Susana Marcos, Professor of Research and Director of the Institute of Optics (Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Spain). It is the first time that one of these prestigious grants has been awarded to Vision Science research.
The Presbyopia project proposes new alternatives to treat presbyopia, an ocular condition affecting people from 45 years of age, including multifocal corrections and accommodating intraocular lenses.
Prof. Susana Marcos has developed pioneering research in visual optics, ranging from developments of novel imaging instrumentation for eye research and ophthalmology to the understanding of basic ocular mechanisms, and the evaluation and development of vision correction alternatives. Susana Marcos is the recipient of numerous International awards including the Adolph Lomb Medal (Optical Society of America), ICO Prize (International Commission for Optics), European Young Investigator Award (European Commission), Doctorate Honoris Causa (Ucranian Academy of Science and Technology). She is a Fellow of the Optical Society of America and the European Optical Society, and serves on various boards of International journals and societies, including the Association of Research in Vision Science and Ophthalmology.
The awarded ERC Grant (Bio-inspired optical corrections of presbyopia) aims at developing new alternatives for the correction of presbyopia (the age-related loss of ability to focus near and far objects, a condition affecting over 209 million people in Europe, 44% of the European population) based on a better understanding of the contributions of optics and neural adaptation, and on the accommodative mechanism of the crystalline lens.
"The ERC Advanced Grant to Prof. Susana Marcos in Madrid is a tremendous personal success, but as well an inspiring support for the whole scientific community of Vision Research and Ophthalmology", comments Dr. Thomas Wheeler-Schilling, CEO of the European Vision Institute. Our warmest congratulation goes to Susana for her great achievement.
Already in the year 2010 Susana and her work on imaging techniques to measure ocular structure and optical properties was featured on the web portal ‘The Gateway to Vision Research’. Beside her scientific excellence, Susanna is a great team-player and valued colleague.
The focus of Prof. Susana Marcos research is the development of non-invasive techniques to evaluate the optical and structural properties of the eye, and their application in the advancement in the understanding of biological mechanisms of the visual system (i.e. myopia development, accommodation and presbyopia), the early diagnosis of ocular conditions and the evaluation and optimization of ocular surgery and treatments (i.e. refractive surgery, cataract surgery, collagen cross-linking, contact lenses).
The European Research Council's (ERC) mission is to encourage the highest quality research in Europe through competitive funding and to support investigator-initiated frontier research across all fields of research, on the basis of scientific excellence. The ERC complements other funding activities in Europe such as those of the national research funding agencies, and is a flagship component of the 'Ideas Programme' of the European Union's Seventh Research Framework Programme (FP7).
Being 'investigator-driven', or 'bottom-up', in nature, the ERC approach allows researchers to identify new opportunities and directions in any field of research, rather than being led by priorities set by politicians. This approach ensures that funds are channelled into new and promising areas of research with a greater degree of flexibility.