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ZEISS Scientific Poster Award at the Young Researcher Vision Camp 2013

This year’s poster awards go to Anna Stoeckl (1st prize), Tiago Ferreira (2nd prize) and Anahit Hovhannisyan (3rd prize) – Congratulations!

from left to right: Arne Ohlendorf (Carl Zeiss Vision), Anna Stoeckl, Tiago Santos-Ferreira, Anahit Hovhannisyan, Siegfried Wahl (Carl Zeiss AG), Thomas Wheeler-Schilling (EVI)

Poster sessions are important to network and interact with your colleagues. You can present your work to them and you may have some interesting discussions with scientists and get interesting ideas from others. Sometimes a poster session is better than an oral presentation due to time constraints in the latter. During a typical oral presentation you will have between 8 and 15 minutes, while a poster session lasts normally for a few hours, allowing for more in-depth discussions. Due to the kind support by ZEISS the three winners are:

First Prize

1st place ZEISS Scientific Poster Awardee Anna Stoeckl

Sensitivity to motion and higher-order visual processing in nocturnal and diurnal hawk moths

Anna Stöckl 1, David O’Carroll 2 and Eric J. Warrant 1
1 Lund Vision Group, Biology Department, University of Lund, Sweden
2 Discipline of Physiology, School of Medical Sciences, The University of Adelaide, Australia

The majority of the world’s animals are active in dim light and many of them use their visual sense to navigate in their environment. How has their brain circuitry been optimised to maximise performance under conditions of very unreliable visual signals? In theory, visual performance can be increased by pooling signals from neighbouring visual channels, called spatial summation. Alternatively, signals can be integrated over longer periods of time, called temporal summation. In order to see if these processes are implemented in insect brains, we study the visual motion circuitry of hawk moths. This group of fast-flying insects, in which closely-related species are active under completely different light conditions, is renowned for their impressive visual abilities. A comparison of the nocturnal Deilephila elpenor and the diurnal Macroglossum stellaratum showed that even though the nocturnal species was sensitive to lower light levels than the diurnal one, spatial and temporal summation was present in the visual circuitry of both. Moreover, we identified a class of neurons as a potential location of spatial summation, and therefore will focus future research on these neurons.

About The First Author And ZEISS Scientific Poster Awardee Anna Stoeckl

One year ago, my passion for vision science has brought me to the Vision Group at Lund University in Sweden, where I investigate the adaptations of insect brain circuits to vision in dim light as my PhD project. After studying in Heidelberg and Munich in Germany, where I mainly worked with vertebrates - studying retina regeneration in fish, retinal ganglion cell coding in amphibians and made an exciting detour to the electric sense of weakly electric fish - I very much enjoy exploring new terrains, both geographically and in science.

Contact:
Anna Stoeckl
Lund Vision Group
Biology Department
University of Lund
Sweden
E-mail: Anna.Stockl[at]biol.lu.se

Second Prize

2nd place ZEISS Scientific Poster Awardee Tiago Santos-Ferreira

Transplantation of cone-like photoreceptors into the mouse retina

Tiago Santos-Ferreira, Kai Postel, Marius Ader
DFG-Center for Regenerative Therapies

In our poster we address the possibility of "cone" photoreceptor transplantation. A cone-like photoreceptor reporter line was developed and further characterized in detail (genotype, RNA, histology and function). Indeed, the reporter line behaves as a pure cone retina. Using previous published reports, we identified CD73 as a cell surface antigen for cone-like cells. Established sorting techniques were further used to enrich cone-like cell population in order to address its ability to be transplanted and integrated into a host retina. Indeed, cone like cells can integrated into wild-type, cone degenerating and rodless retinas. Moreover they express cone specific markers and their low integration rates are not limited by the presence of CD68 positive cells (macrophages and monocytes). In conclusion, we demonstrate as proof-of-principle that cone-like cell transplantation is feasible, opening new ways for future clinical applications.

About The First Author And ZEISS Scientific Poster Awardee Tiago Ferreira

I believe to be a very friendly and enthusiastic person, social and prompt for collaboration with my colleagues. I always try to be helpful and kind to people. I am very easy going and I am also always available to listen and give advises to them. Regarding my attitude to my work, I am very serious and passionate about what I am doing (that's why i am a hard worker), but I also like to enjoy my life beside the bench!

Contact:
Tiago Ferreira, PhD Student,
Retinal Regeneration, AG Ader
Technische Universität Dresden
DFG-Center for Regenerative Therapies Dresden
Cluster of Excellence
Fetscherstraße 105
01307 Dresden, Germany
E-Mail: tiago.ferreira[at]crt-dresden.de

Third Prize

3rd place ZEISS Scientific Poster Awardee Anahit Hovhannisyan

Effect of Jimpy Mutation on Retinal Structure and Function

A. Hovhannisyan (1), B. Benkner (1), A. Biesemeier (2), U. Schraermeyer (2), T. A. Münch (1)
(1) Centre for Integrative Neuroscience (CIN), Tübingen, Germany;
(2) Institute for Ophthalmic Research, Tübingen, Germany

The demyelination disease I am working on, in humans known as Pelizaeus-Merzbacher disease, is very poorly investigated on the neuronal level. Nothing is known about how the visual system is affected. For this project I have used a mouse model for the disease, the Jimpy mutant, and wild type mice to characterize the effect of demyelination on function and morphology of the retina.

I have found that the protein effected by the mutation, proteolipid protein (PLP) is expressed in the optic nerve. In the retina, there was no evidence for PLP expression on the protein or mRNA level. The mutation did not affect axon count nor axon morphology in the optic nerve.
The sizes of some cell bodies in the retina was changed, and the numbers of rod bipolar cells, horizontal cells and astrocytes was increased in Jimpy mice. Physiological recordings with microelectrode arrays didn’t show any significant changes of ganglion cell response properties. In addition, optokinetic reflex measurements indicate that the visual system of Jimpy mice is functional.

This finding suggests that the Jimpy mutation might influence retinal signal processing only slightly. More detailed characterization of ganglion cell response properties have to be performed to find out if signal processing in Jimpy retina is indeed affected. 

About The First Author And ZEISS Scientific Poster Awardee Anahit Hovhannisyan

I am a 3th year Ph.D student in Centre for Integrative Neuroscience (CIN) in Tübingen, Germany. I have got my Bachelor and Master degrees in Biophysics in the department of Biophysics, Faculty of Biology, in  Yerevan State University in Yerevan, Armenia. During my master theses I have worked on rats retina by investigating light induced damage and looking for a treatment by using Tauret. After my master theses it was clear for me that I want to continue my scientific life by investigating retina and finding out how different diseases are affecting it, investigate physiological mechanisms of the diseases and work on the treatments against them.

Contact:
Anahit Hovhannisyan
Centre for Integrative Neuroscience (CIN)
Ottfried-Müller-Strasse 25
72076 Tübingen
Germany

Carl Zeiss AG in brief

The Carl Zeiss Group is an international leader in the fields of optics and optoelectronics.

In fiscal year 2011/12 the company's approximately 24,000 employees generated revenue of nearly 4.2 billion euros. In the markets for Industrial Solutions, Research Solutions, Medical Technology and Consumer Optics, ZEISS has contributed to technological progress for more than 160 years and enhances the quality of life of many people around the globe.

The ZEISS Group develops and produces planetariums, eyeglass lenses, camera and cine lenses and binoculars as well as solutions for biomedical research, medical technology and the semiconductor, automotive and mechanical engineering industries. ZEISS is present in over 40 countries around the globe with about 40 production facilities, over 50 sales and service locations and service locations and approximately 20 research and development sites.

Carl Zeiss AG is fully owned by the Carl Zeiss Stiftung (Carl Zeiss Foundation). Founded in 1846 in Jena, the company is headquartered in Oberkochen, Germany.

Find more information on the website of Carl Zeiss AG

The European Vision Institute

The European Vision Institute serves as a European Alliance for the Promotion of Vision Research and Ophthalmology for the benefit of the whole community.

Presently in Europe the notable accomplishments of Vision Research and Ophthalmology in respect to publications, clinical and basic research and patient care are sold under worth to our colleagues in other areas of the life sciences, the political decision makers and the general public. An active communication process to clarify the importance and illustrate the success stories of our research-and clinical activities in all their rich facets must foster and increase the support from the public and private sector.

The main aspect is to significantly increase the competiveness and visibility of Vision Research and Ophthalmology on a European level by the following objectives:

  • Identification of Vision Science and Ophthalmology as a specific area with special needs and particular diseases with significant impact on workforce, aging and quality of life.
  • Increased and sustained political awareness for Vision Science and Ophthalmology
  • Promotion of funding possibilities and consulting/coordination services for members of the alliance
  • Information and dissemination activities; better communication between the major stakeholders in the field
  • Sustained promotion of young people
  • Fostering technology transfer and innovation in Vision Science and Ophthalmology
  • Develop innovative ways of private-public partnerships

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