On the afternoon of April 10th, the Nanqiang Academic Lectures had witnessed four renowned international scholars’ coming. The four professors were Steven J. Fliesler, The State University of New York (S.U.N.Y), University at Buffalo; YunZheng, Le, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Cente; Andrew J. Quantock, Cardiff University and Donald C. Hood, Columbia University. They were specially invited to celebrate the 98th Anniversary of Xiamen University(XMU) at the invitation of Prof. Han Jiahuai, dean of School of Medicine, XMU and Prof. Li Wei, vice dean of School of Medicine, XMU. The lectures were held in the Academic Report Hall of Chengyi Building of Xiang’an Campus of XMU. Professor Liu Zuguo, director of Eye Institute of XMU, and more than 130 teachers and students attended this lecture.
As the first speaker, Professor Steven first expressed his support for “science without borders” and the profound friendship with Chinese people, then expressed his sincere gratitude to everybody present. After that, a wonderful academic report entitled “Retinal Degenerations: The Isoprenoid Connection” was given. The report mainly introduced the pathogenesis and treatment of Smith-Lemli-Opitz Syndrome (SLOS). SLOS is a congenital disease caused by genetic mutations. The mutation of this gene can cause abnormal accumulation of 7-dehydrocholesterol and decrease of cholesterol (CHOL) level, which leads to degeneration of retinal pigment epithelial cells. By using the SLOS rat model, professor Steven found that, compared to dietary CHOL supplementation alone, combined dietary supplementation with CHOL + antioxidants (vitamins E and C, plus sodium selenite) performed better outcomes in preserving retinal structure and function. These proof-of-principle findings provide a translational, pre-clinical framework for designing clinical trials using CHOL-antioxidant combination therapy as an improved therapeutic intervention over the current standard of care for the treatment of SLOS.
The second speaker was Professor Yunzheng, Le. The title of his report is “VEGF is a master regulator for neuronal integrity in diabetic retinopathy and hypoxic retinal diseases.” The report describes the main therapy for age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and diabetic retinopathy (DR), anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (anti-VEGF) treatment. The main cause of AMD and DR blindness is hypoxia. Hypoxia stimulates the upregulation of Müller glial cell (MG)-derived VEGF, which will lead to blood-retinal barrier breakdown and accelerate retinal degeneration. Professor Le determined the neuroprotective effect and mechanism of VEGFR2 by investigating the MG viability of conditional VEGFR2 knock out mice and thus affirmed the therapeutic effect of anti-VEGF strategy.
Professor Andrew from Cardiff University, UK, whose topic is “Cell-independent extracellular matrix configuration in early corneal development.” Here, Professor Andrew's team innovatively used FIB SEM combined with SBF SEM to examine the microanatomy of the embryonic chick cornea and performed 3D reconstruction of which. Then they have observed the orientation and structure of early corneal stroma. His findings provide a chance to figure out the mechanisms involved in deposition of superimposed collagenous lamellae, which is essential for optical transparency.
The last appearance was Professor Donald, whose report is about “Using OCT to improve our understanding and detection of glaucoma”. He mainly introduces the use of optical coherence tomography (OCT), a commonly used clinical technique in ophthalmology, to diagnose early glaucoma. The study included a large number of patients with mild glaucoma, suspected glaucoma, and healthy eyes. By contrast, Professor Donald found that the incidence of optic disc depression and visual field defects in patients with early glaucoma was higher than that of suspicious glaucoma or healthy control group. This conclusion provides a new diagnostic idea for frontline clinicians.
The lectures of the professors were rigorous and detailed, which fully demonstrated the latest developments in ophthalmology, and provided new ideas and directions to study and prevent eye diseases for basic research teachers and clinical frontline doctors. The lectures were so wonderful and interesting that it aroused the great enthusiasm and active discussion of the teachers and students. The audience burst into a burst of applause from time to time. After the lecture, Professor Liu Zuguo presented the Nanqiang lecture commemorative card for the four professors and took a group photo.c
Steven J. Fliesler, Ph.D. (State University of New York at Buffalo): SUNY Distinguished Professor；
Meyer H. Riwchun Endowed Chair Professor of Ophthalmology, and Vice-Chairman/Director of Research, Department of Ophthalmology (Ross Eye Institute), University at Buffalo (S.U.N.Y.).He is mainly studied diseases in the retina and choroid. In 2009, he was awarded the Silver Member of the Visual and Visual Research Association (FARVO); in 2016, he was awarded the Veterans Affairs Research Professional Scientist Award and the International Society of Ophthalmology Research Special Award. He is currently the editor or editor of many journals such as Experimental Eye Research, Journal of Lipid Research, Lipids and Lipid Metabolism in the Eye. He has published 122 papers in internationally renowned SCI journals, edited and participated in the compilation of 29 monographs, and published 233 abstracts.
Yun-Zheng Le, Ph.D. (University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center): Chairman of the Diabetes Research Center of the Harold Hamm Diabetes Center at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. The main research direction is diabetes and retinal diseases. In 1998, he won the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Outstanding Research Award. In 2007, he won the Outstanding Contribution Award for Visual Studies in Washington, DC, and won the Top 10 in China Diabetes Research Award in 2016 (ranked 7th). He has published more than 72 SCI papers in Diabetologia, Molecular and Cellular Biology, and Diabetes, and has participated in 5 books.
Andrew J. Quantock, Ph.D. (Cardiff University): Chairman of the Research Committee of CITER (the Cardiff Institute of Tissue Engineering and Repair), Chairman of the UK Alumni Association of the Japan Association for the Advancement of Science, and member of the British Senate. His main research interests are ophthalmology and tissue engineering and repair. He has hosted and organized several high-quality academic conferences, such as the Cardiff University Corneal Conference, Cardiff University-Kyoto Prefectural Medical University Joint Conference, and the Association of Visual and Ophthalmology (ARVO) Symposium. He has been invited to give lectures and posters at international academic conferences such as Harvard University, Duke University, Kyoto Prefectural Medical University, and the World Corneal Congress and ARVO (Annual Meeting of the Society for Visual and Ophthalmology). As an author or correspondent, he has published many high-quality academic papers in internationally renowned journals such as Nature Protocols, British journal of ophthalmology, Biomaterials, Progress in Retinal and Eye Research, and has accumulated more than 120 papers.
Donald C. Hood (Columbia University): the chief editor of IOVS, Professor of Psychology and Professor of Ophthalmology at Columbia University, and elected Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His research interests include retinal and optic nerve diseases. He has served in the editorial board of well-known magazines such as Translational Vision Science & Technology, Progress in Retinal and Eye Research. He has published more than 300 academic papers and books.