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Eight Students Welcomed to 2017 Summer Research Training Program

New England College of Optometry, NECO, recently welcomed eight students into the 2017 Summer Research Training Program. Funded by a a research training grant from the National Eye Institute of the National Institutes of Health, T35, the program runs from May through August, 2017.

The Summer Research Program is led by director Dr. Jane Gwiazda and designed for first year optometry students from NECO, as well as other colleges of optometry across the nation. It is intended to encourage optometry students to pursue careers that include research.  The 2017 program welcomes Jacqueline Albert from SCO-Ketchum and Lucia Yang from SCCO as well as NECO students Alex Hentschel, Zhongliang Ju, Enian Kallamata, Spencer Traxler, Gabriella Velonias, and Hannah Yoon.

During the summer research training program, participating students will gain research experience in the laboratory of a mentor during the summer and spend a minimum of 320 hours doing research. Weekly seminars will be held to introduce the students to all aspects of research. This year’s topics include:

  • Dr. Chris Taylor, NECO: Experimental Design and Statistical Analysis
  • Dr. Arthur Lage: Animal Care
  • Dr. Paul White: IRB
  • Dr. John Basl, Northeastern University: Ethical Conduct of Science
  • Dr. James Akula, Children's Hospital, Boston: Small-eyed Myopia: A Peculiar Consequence of Retinopathy of Prematurity
  • Dr. Srinivas Pundlik, Schepens Eye Research Institute, Mass Eye and Ear: A Wearable Collision Warning Device for the Blind and Visually Impaired
  • Dr. Jae-Hyun Jung, Schepens Eye Research Institute, Mass Eye and Ear: Prism Field Expansion/Visual Prostheses
  • Dr. Susana Marcos, Instituto de Optica, Madrid: Photo-activated Techniques in Eye Treatments

At the end of the program, the T35 students will present their findings to the other trainees and mentors and any other interested faculty and students.

2017 T35 Student Research Summer Training Program participants:

By participating in the T35 research program, these accomplished OD students experience hands-on research early in their academic careers, which leads many of them to obtain both an OD and MS degree in their four years at NECO.  This early research exposure complements their clinical and didactic training, and helps to ensure that they will provide evidence-based eye care in the future.

Dr. Jane Gwiazda, Summer Research Program Director

Student Research Fellow: Jacqueline Albert, SCO-Ketchum
Research Mentors: Alex Bowers, PhD

Student Research Fellow: Alex Hentschel, NECO
Research Mentor: Frances Rucker, MSc, PhD, MCOPTOM

Student Research Fellow: Zhongliang Ju, NECO
Research Mentor:  Eli Peli, OD

Student Research Fellow: Enian Kallamata, NECO
Research Mentor: Fuensanta Vera-Diaz, OD, PhD

Student Research Fellow: Spencer Traxler, NECO
Research Mentor: Anne Fulton, OD

Student Research Fellow: Gabriella Velonias, NECO
Research Mentors:  Fuensanta Vera-Diaz, OD, PhD

Student Research Fellow: Lucia Yang, SCCO
Research Mentor: Haiyan Gong, MD, PhD

Student Research Fellow: Hannah Yoon, NECO
Research Mentor: Frances Rucker, MSc, PhD, MCOPTOM

About New England College of Optometry

New England College of Optometry, NECO, is an independent graduate college of optometry that educates students for careers in eye care delivery, research and education. For over 120 years, the New England College of Optometry has been educating optometrists and leaders in the field. Originally founded in 1894 as the Klein School of Optics, NECO prepares the next generation of eye care providers, educators, leaders, and innovators through a rigorous curriculum and extensive clinical experiences.   Through a vast network of clinical affiliations, our students put patient care first, providing vision care to children, older adults, the homeless, and individuals with disabilities through our mobile eye clinic, satellite clinics in schools, homeless shelters, community health centers, and VA medical centers.

Media Contact: Ingrid Hoogendoorn, Director of Communications
phone: 617-587-5722