Latest research into common eye problem, nystagmus to be presented at University of Leicester

As part of the University of Leicester's 50th Anniversary celebrations, a world leader in eye disorders is to give a talk on 'Dancing Eyes' on Monday 30th June 2008 at 5.30pm.

This Special Frank May Lecture will be given by Professor Irene Gottlob, Head of the Ophthalmology Group in the University's Department of Cardiovascular Sciences, who will outline the latest research into the common eye problem, nystagmus.

In her talk, Professor Gottlob will explain the discovery at the University of Leicester (in collaboration with Cambridge University) of the first gene for congenital idiopathic nystagmus.

The condition, involuntary movement of the eyes, gives the impression of dancing eyes. Professor Gottlob commented: "Nystagmus has been under-researched for a long time in Ophthalmology, and although it is a fascinating subject, it is poorly understood.

"It can be associated with poor vision and reduced quality of life, especially because it can create the illusion of movement of the environment.

"This lecture will highlight research including the epidemiology, visual and social function, novel treatments, and recent advances in the genetics of nystagmus."

The Frank May Prize lecture and the Biennial Medical Science Lecture were established in the 1990s and will continue after Dr May's retirement. Professor Gottlob's lecture is the last of the special celebratory lectures Dr May has supported over many years.

Dr Frank May, MBE, has been an active and enthusiastic supporter of the University of Leicester since the late 1970s, serving on Court, Council and a range of committees. In addition to sponsoring the Frank May Lectures, he has supported the University in numerous spheres, including the Richard Attenborough Centre, the Holocaust Centre, History of Art and Film and the Leicestershire charity Medisearch.

In 1992 the University awarded him the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws, and in 2005 he was made an Honorary Distinguished Fellow, the highest honour the University can bestow. He was awarded the Freedom of the City in 2001.

He first came across Professor Irene Gottlob through his work as a trustee of Medisearch. He explained: "Professor Gottlob asked for a sum of money to kick-start some research. I was most impressed because, although we were being asked all the time for kick-start funding, Irene had asked for a very small sum and in quite a humble way. I think we played a part in helping her start her work on nystagmus.

"She seemed the perfect person to give this 50th Anniversary lecture. She's internationally known and well-respected by ophthalmologists all over the world."

Professor Gottlob is an enthusiastic teacher of clinical and research students and trainees. She greatly enjoys teaching and has been named academic role model for students and trainees by the BMA.

Her main areas of research are amblyopia, the regulation of eye movements and their disorders, in particular nystagmus, and the genetics of neuro-ophthalmic diseases.

She is the author of more than 120 peer reviewed research papers and book chapters, section editor of the British Journal of Ophthalmology and on the editorial board of other scientific journals.

Professor Gottlob graduated from the Medical School of the University of Vienna, Austria, where she also completed her training in Ophthalmology. She spent three years of research in the physiology of the visual system at the University of Vienna and then at the Max-Planck Institute for Physiological and Clinical Research in Bad Nauheim, Germany.

During this time she became greatly attracted to the study of the connection between the eyes and the brain. She then undertook clinical and research fellowships in Paediatric Ophthalmology, Neuro-Ophthalmology and Oculoplastic Ophthalmology at the world famous Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia, USA. She obtained the Habilitation (Univ. Doz title) at the University of Vienna in 1990.

Before she was appointed in 1999 as Professor and Chair in Ophthalmology at the University of Leicester, she was Head of Department of Strabismus and Neuro-Ophthalmology at St. Gall, Switzerland. s Head of Department of Strabismus and Neuro-Ophthalmology at St. Gall, Switzerland.

http://www.le.ac.uk

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