speaker presenting to faculty in a room

Researchers share advances in vision research during BME Summer Workshops @ Michigan meeting

The goal of the BME Summer Workshops @ Michigan series is to establish the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor as a place to gather, learn, and network

More than 65 researchers participated in the first BME Summer Workshops @ Michigan meeting on August 11-12. The Biomedical Engineering Department partnered with Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences to co-host the workshop on imaging and therapy in vision research, which featured 25 speakers highlighting their latest research. The small-group setting provided a forum for the exchange of technical information, allowing attendees to engage in dialogue with presenters. 

“The goal of the BME Summer Workshops @ Michigan series is to establish the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor as a place to gather, learn, and network – each year – in the summer, when the weather is so wonderful – on important research topics in BME,” said Mary-Ann Mycek, Interim Chair and Professor of Biomedical Engineering. “I want to thank our colleagues at U-M Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences in the Kellogg Eye Center for committing to co-host the 2023 workshop with us and for developing the exciting agenda. I am especially grateful to Professors Gary Xu and Xueding Wang for co-organizing this year’s workshop.”

“The speakers did a great job of interacting with everyone in both departments,“ said Gary Xu, U-M Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Ophthalmology departments and a co-organizer of the event. “The interaction between the external speakers and internal researchers is very important. When we can talk personally to other researchers, we can gain a greater understanding of different perspectives, helping us all to move forward in our research.”

“I think this event showcases the engineering powerhouse that Michigan really has here,” said Juliette McGregor, Assistant Professor of the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at the University of Rochester. Professor McGregor was one of several invited speakers from outside U-M to present. “There has been material ranging from the genetic modification of new animal models, to some of the more sophisticated imaging approaches, and then discussion about robotic-assisted surgery. It’s been great to hear from speakers here as well as invited speakers from around the country. This has really had a workshop feel, where you can try to help each other and share common issues and experiences, in addition to showcasing what you do,” McGregor said. 

“The co-organizers did a great job of highlighting outstanding research, both at U-M and around the country,” said Joseph Izatt, the Michael J. Fitzpatrick Distinguished Professor of Engineering, and Chair of BIomedical Engineering at Duke University, and an invited presenter. “The size of the event was nice,” he added. “I think that the mix of internal research with a few invited outside guest speakers worked out well.”

“I would like to see this as a yearly event for all of us to come together,” said Dorsa Ghaffari, a postdoctoral researcher in the lab of Jim Weiland, U-M Associate Chair for Research in Biomedical Engineering and Professor, Biomedical Engineering and Professor, Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences. ”I like the small-group format because this setting helps you feel more comfortable to ask follow-up questions and interact more with the speakers.”

Jeanpaul Passo, an incoming PhD student who will also be in Professor Weiland’s lab, agreed with Ghaffari, and added that this exchange of ideas helps researchers approach issues in different ways. “It’s refreshing to see what other lab groups are working on and how they are approaching various topics. The smaller setting also has a community feel, so it’s easier to have your voice heard in the discussion.”