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Vision science center eyes creative approaches

By Dave Jones on December 12, 2008 in University

When UC Davis began implementing a “center” strategy for achieving excellence in the neurological sciences, the first such center was the Center for Neurosciences in 1986, followed by the Center for Mind and Brain in 2006.

The Center for Visual Sciences, established in 2007, is the third such center—with the primary goal of fostering collaboration among clinical and research scientists.

At noontime seminars and evening research group meetings, CVS members discuss progress in the vision community and promote the sharing of common resources as part of an overlying effort to tackle major vision illnesses affecting the world community.

Director Marie Burns said centers like this are even more important given today’s funding climate and the federal government’s new emphasis on innovation.

“Our goal is to cross traditional academic boundaries and get people thinking about creative and new approaches to their research, and how it fits in to the larger picture,” Burns said.

While expertise is focused within the medical fields and biological sciences, the center also includes faculty with backgrounds in mathematics, chemistry and biomedical engineering.

As a result, research goes beyond biomedical approaches to vision, as scientists use nanotechnology and mathematical modeling of image recognition in the hope of developing clinical applications for vision-related illnesses.

Since its founding, the Center for Visual Sciences has hosted more than a dozen guest speakers and visiting professors from the UC system and elsewhere.

In addition, the center works with graduate programs to provide travel awards to vision-related conferences to promote the next generation of vision researchers. In this light, the center welcomes involvement of any researcher interested in vision.

The center maintains a Web site with information on faculty, news updates and a revolving calendar of events. The Web site is expanding to include modern technologies such as streaming video feeds of meetings and events for center members.

On the Net

Center for Visual Sciences:

Christopher Kessler is the Web site and operations administrator for the Center for Visual Sciences.

Media contact(s)

Dave Jones, Dateline, 530-752-6556,