https://ouvision.ouhsc.edu/Vision-Science-Trainees Parent Page: Vision Science Trainees id: 19532 Active Page: Vision Sciences Training Programid:27030

OU Vision Sciences Training Program

The OUHSC Department of Ophthalmology Vision Sciences Training Program (T32 EY023202) currently trains Post-Doctoral researchers in a multidisciplinary program focused on diseases of the eye. The second 5-year funding period began in August 2021 and is mentored by 21 OUHSC and OMRF vision research faculty, including several who are funded by the National Eye Institute. 

Please click the dropdown boxes below for more information about our program. If you are a post-doctoral researcher interested in vision science and would like to find out more about our Vision Sciences Training Program, please contact Dr. Michelle Callegan (michelle-callegan@ouhsc.edu) for more information.


Training Program

OUHSC Vision Sciences Training Program

The purpose of the Vision Sciences Training Program is to provide fundamental training in the discipline of vision science to pre-doctoral students and postdoctoral fellows that wish to pursue vision-related careers in research, academia, or biotechnology. Our community of 21 vision scientists participating in this training program hold primary and adjunct appointments multiple departments located at OUHSC. Four of our scientists’ laboratories are located at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation (OMRF). There is a long and impressive history of collaborative interactions between these investigators and institutions that provides an intellectually stimulating atmosphere that encourages graduate students and fellows of multiple scientific disciplines to meet, interact, and collaborate.

Currently, the National Eye Institute is funding a position for one postdoctoral trainee per year. Our program runs from approximately August to July, with submission of a competitive F32-style grant proposal due in May/June. All postdoctoral trainees supported by the Vision Sciences Training Program must complete the following:

  1. If they have not already taken it as part of their degree, postdoctoral trainees must take Molecular and Cellular Aspects of Vision (CELL/OCNS 6321), a course taught by Vision Science preceptors. The course consists of eleven 80 minute lectures on basic aspects of ophthalmology, including ocular anatomy, structure/function, immunity, animal models, and other subjects in local areas of research. The final lecture includes instruction on F application preparation in anticipation of transforming their T32 proposals into NIH fellowship proposals. 

  2. Trainees must attend weekly Departmental Seminar Series of their home department and Vision Club seminars whenever they are held. Seminars are held in the Fall and Spring Semesters at various times and days of the academic year and the series include nationally and internationally recognized speakers from other institutions within the U.S. and abroad. Trainees have the opportunity to network with the speakers while transporting and having lunch or dinner with them.

  3. Trainees must present an oral presentation at the Annual OU Vision Workshop, which provides a forum for update of work and progress in research in an informal setting with the Vision Science Training Faculty and clinician-scientists in the Department of Ophthalmology. The Workshop always includes an internationally recognized Vision Scientist who gives a formal research lecture in their specialty area and an informal professional development talk to the trainees. The Workshop provides both scientific and social interaction networking for the trainees with the training faculty and high impact vision scientists.

  4. Trainees are strongly encouraged to present their research results at national and international meetings. Each trainee is funded a sum to travel and present at a national vision research meeting, preferably ARVO. Trainees can compete for travel awards at local meetings, at our Vision Workshop, or in programs in their home departments. Travel funds are provided by the Vision Workshop/Department of Ophthalmology to the most deserving trainees based on the quality of the presentation and science (two awards of at least $1000 each). Additional travel funds are available through the Annual OUHSC Graduate Research Education and Technology (GREAT) Symposium, a weeklong event held in late Spring. 15-20 travel awards ranging from $1,000-$1,500 each are available to the best presentations by graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. Funds for these awards originate from a variety of sources including vendors, the Graduate Dean’s Office, the Provost’s Office, Office of Research Administration, and OMRF. Through these venues, the vision science trainees have opportunities to present their research in a competitive, yet friendly atmosphere.

  5. Trainees are required to participate in various clinical experiences designed to expose them to clinical cases and translational research. A) Trainees can rotate with ophthalmologists in their clinics to observe patient presentations as well as discuss with the physician case presentations, pathology, and treatments. The time commitment will vary from year to year based on physician participation. Each experience will be one-on-one with the physician to maximize the learning process. We anticipate at least four sessions with each session lasting 3-4 hours per trainee. B) Trainees attend Grand Rounds on Mondays at 8 AM. Ophthalmology residents and fellows present clinical cases of interest. Presenters take the audience from initial presentation to diagnosis, provide didactic clinical pearls, and highlight basic research. The research faculty are asked to assist with presenting if the case is in within the focus of their research. C) The Great Debate is held when faculty are available. This exciting collaborative competition pits two teams consisting of a vision science trainee (basic science component) and 2-3 PGY2/PGY3 residents and clinical fellows (clinical component) against one another in a debate about a controversial topic in ophthalmology. The teams must work together to research and give a timed presentation on a topic, provide rebuttals, and convince the audience (ophthalmologists, basic scientists, and other trainees) to vote for the most convincing side.

Research Units

OUHSC Vision Sciences Training Program Research Units

The Research Units associated with this Vision Science Training Program include an innovative and productive group of vision scientists whose disciplines provide a basis for collaboration in a nurturing environment. The research interests and teaching expertise of the faculty are in four sub-disciplines of vision science that include: 1) Inflammation / Infection, 2) Cell Stress & Structure, 3) Neuro-Genetics, and 4) Signal Transduction. There is a sufficient number of faculty in each sub-discipline for excellent in-depth understanding in knowledge and technique development for the pre-doctoral students and postdoctoral fellows. Furthermore, there is a culture of cross-disciplinary interactions among students, fellows, and faculty to further underscore the community of vision scientists at OUHSC and OMRF. The faculty is drawn from a number of departments including Ophthalmology, Cell Biology, Microbiology and Immunology, Neuroscience, Pathology, Pharmaceutical Sciences, and Physiology at OUHSC, and Immunology, Genetics, Vascular Biology, and Aging Programs at OMRF.

 

Mentoring Faculty

OUHSC Vision Sciences Training Program Mentoring Faculty

Faculty

Primary Appointment or Membership

Agbaga, Martin-Paul

Cell Biology / Ophthalmology

Axtell, Robert

OMRF (Arthritis and Clinical Immunology)

Bennett, Lea

Ophthalmology

Bhatti, Faizah

Pediatrics

 Cai, Jiyang

Physiology

Callegan, Michelle

Ophthalmology / Microbiology and Immunology

Chen, Yan

Ophthalmology

Conley, Shannon

Cell Biology

Ding, Xi-Qin

Cell Biology

Elliott, Michael

Ophthalmology

Freeman, Willard

OMRF (Genes and Human Disease)

Fuller, Kevin

Ophthalmology / Microbiology and Immunology

Griffin, Courtney

OMRF (Cardiovascular Biology)

Le, Yun

Medicine / Endocrinology

Lee, Darren

Ophthalmology

Ma, Jian-xing

Physiology

Pereira, H. Anne

Pharmaceutical Sciences

Plafker, Scott

OMRF (Aging and Metabolism)

Rajala, Raju

Ophthalmology

Sherry, David

Cell Biology

Summers, Jody

Cell Biology

Alumni

OUHSC Vision Sciences Training Program Alumni

 

Trainee

Initial Position

Start Date

Current Position

Stuck, Michael

Graduate

2014

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Massachusetts Medical School

Royer, Derek

Graduate/Postdoctoral

2014/2016

Assistant Professor of Biology, East Texas Baptist University

Ma, Hongwei

Postdoctoral

2014

Assistant Professor of Cell Biology, OUHSC

Wilkerson, Joe

Graduate

2015

Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Utah

McKay, Tina

Graduate

2015

Research Fellow, Schepens Eye Research Institute, Boston

Pulliam, Daniel

Postdoctoral

2015

Laboratory Specialist at Diagnostic Solutions, Kingman AZ

Reagan, Alaina

Graduate

2016

Postdoctoral Fellow, Jackson Laboratories

Masser, Dustin

Graduate

2016

Field Application Scientist, Roche Sequencing and Life Science, Indianapolis

Larabee, Chelsea

Graduate

2016

Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Oxford UK

Kooker, Christopher

Graduate

2017

Gurley, Jami

Postdoctoral

2017

Postdoctoral Fellow, Dean McGee Eye Institute

Quinn, James

Graduate

2018

Postdoctoral Researcher, La Jolla Institute for Immunology, San Diego

Montgomery, Micaela

Graduate

2018 

Scientific Editor

Livingston, Erin

Graduate

2018

Senior Scientist, EyeCRO, Oklahoma City OK

Zeigler, Jadith

Postdoctoral

2018

Instructor of Biology, Oklahoma City Community College

Lightfoot, Jorge

Postdoctoral

2021

Postdoctoral Fellow, Dean McGee Eye Institute