Colloquia & Guest Speakers

Optical Tools to Study Structure and Function of the Human Retina

Dr. Austin Roorda, University of California, Berkeley

Thursday, September 15, 2016
8:30 a.m.

Goergen Hall, Room 101

Joint BME, CVS and Optics Colloquium


Adaptive optics is a set of techniques to measure and compensate for aberrations in optical systems. Used in an ophthalmoscope, AO enables direct imaging of single cells in a living human eye. But understanding vision requires far more than just a sharp image. I will describe the techniques we have developed in my lab to image, track and target these cells with light. It is a platform on which we can do experiments that aim to reveal the complex neural circuits in the human retina that form the early stages of human spatial and color vision. We are currently working on two approaches: One is to use the system for visual psychophysics - where we infer the properties of the neural circuits from subjective responses to stimulation of one or more cones. A second approach is underway to couple in an optical probe that uses high speed interferometry to objectively measure functional activity of individual neurons in the human retina.


Austin Roorda received his Ph.D. in Vision Science & Physics from the University of Waterloo, Canada in 1996. Since that time, Dr. Roorda has been pioneering applications of adaptive optics and ophthalmoscopy, including mapping of the trichromatic cone mosaic while a postdoc at the University of Rochester, designing and building the first adaptive optics scanning laser ophthalmoscope at the University of Houston, tracking and targeting light delivery to individual cones in the human eye at UC Berkeley, and being part of the first team to use AO imaging to monitor efficacy of a treatment to slow retinal degeneration. Since January 2005, he’s been at the UC Berkeley School of Optometry where he is a member of the Vision Science and Bioengineering graduate programs. He is a Fellow of the Optical Society of America and of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology. Notable awards are the Glenn A. Fry award from the American Academy of Optometry (2009) a John S. Guggenheim Fellowship (2014) and the Alcon Research Institute award (2016). In 2015, Dr. Roorda led one of the teams that was awarded the first round of funding though the National Eye Institute’s Audacious Goals Initiative aimed at ‘/Restoring vision through regeneration of the retina/’. His team’s project involves the development of a novel system to measure function of individual retinal neurons in human eyes using adaptive optics, eye tracking and phase-resolved OCT.

Location:Goergen 101

Refreshments will be served.