Day 1 :
University of Valencia, Spain
Time : 09:05-09:30
Maria Dolores Pinazo Duran received her medical degree and gained PhD at the University of Valencia (Spain), this latter on lead to the subject of developmental neurodevelopment and toxicology of the visual system, mainly the effects of drug and alcohol exposures. She is the foundational member of the Spanish Society of Developmental Biology and from the Spanish Glial Net. She is active member of various professional societies and reviewer of international journals. She is the founder and managing Director of the Ophthalmology Research Unit “Santiago Grisolia” in Valencia. Currently, she is the General Research Coordinator of the Health Department Valencia- Univ. Hosp. Dr. Peset (Valencia-Spain).
Mitochondria control pivotal functions in the cells and tissues, among them the cell cycle, apoptosis, iron/sulfur cluster assembly, generation of reactive oxygen species, calcium homeostasis and biosynthesis of many cellular metabolites. Therefore, mitochondrial changes may induce a wide range of pathological situations such as loss of membrane potential, increase in reactive oxygen species, elevations in oxidized proteins, loss of mitochondrial DNA and/or programmed cell death, all these potentially leading to senescence-associated manifestations. A failure to properly control mitochondrial activity may subsequently convert an essential physiologic process such as the oxidative phosphorylation into a dangerous pathologic disorder regarding the eyes and vision. There is growing knowledge on the role of mitochondrial dysfunction and reactive oxygen species in ocular diseases, including glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration. With the scientific evidence reviewed herein, it can be reached most accurate viewpoint as to how the oxidative stress and mitochondrial failure can interplay to build a solid pathogenic theory in glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration.
University of La Laguna, Spain
Time : 09:30-09:55
Jacob Lorenzo-Morales completed his PhD in the University of La Laguna in 2001 and held his Postdoctoral positions at the University of Edinburgh until December 2011 when he was granted a Ramón y Cajal Tenure Track Fellowship by the Spanish Government. His work has been focused on Free-Living Amoebae infections, mainly Acanthamoeba keratitis. He has published more than 60 papers in reputed journals in the parasitology and tropical medicine fields. He has been the Scientific Secretary in the last two editions of the International free-living amoebae meetings (FLAM 2009 and 2011), invited speaker at the symposium of free-living amoebae of the International Congress of Parasitology 2014. In November 2013 he was awarded the Individual Award for Young Canary Islands Citizens by the Canary Islands Government in recognition of his research career.
Acanthamoeba species are also the causative agents of a sight threating infection of the cornea known as Acanthamoeba keratitis (AK) mainly affecting contact lens wearers. Interestingly, AK is increasingly being recognized as a severe sight-threatening ocular infection worldwide. Current diagnosis of AK is challenging, and the available treatments are lengthy and not fully effective against all strains. Moreover, the pathogenesis of Acanthamoeba is still under study, and the identification of the key factors involved in this process should be useful for the development of fully effective therapies. The current lack of available effective treatment is mostly due to the existence of a highly resistant cyst stage of Acanthamoeba. Together with common misdiagnosis of AK in most cases and a lack of a consensus for AK diagnosis, AK is becoming an emerging disease presenting an increased number of cases year after year worldwide. Therefore there is a need for a fast and reliable diagnostic tool and for novel effective therapeutic agents against these pathogens. Our laboratory is developing novel therapies based on the use of siRNAs in order to validate different cellular targets in these amoebae and to search for a chemical substitute or further develop aRNAi-based technology. Moreover, we have recently established a novel therapy based on statins which was elucidated using siRNAs approaches.