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Former Gov. Paterson to deliver keynote address at Upstate’s Center for Vision Research 25th anniversary celebration Oct. 21

Former New York Gov. David Paterson will deliver the keynote address at a symposium celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Center for Vision Research at Upstate Medical University. The symposium will be held Friday, Oct. 21 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Everson Museum of Art, 401 Harrison St., Syracuse.

Paterson is the first legally blind person to serve as governor of a U.S. state. Paterson served as governor of New York from March 17, 2008 to Dec. 31, 2010. He is also the first African American to serve as governor of New York.

Paterson will deliver his remarks at 5:45 p.m.

William Brunken, PhD, professor and vice chair for research, ophthalmology and visual sciences and director of the Center for Vision Research, said Patterson’s voice is important to hear.

“As a Center devoted to understanding vision and looking for cures for blindness, we are pleased to have David Patterson as our keynote speaker,” Brunken said. “His message at overcoming obstacles throughout life is an important one for us all to hear.”

Paterson, who also serves as Distinguished Professor of health care and public policy at Touro College in Harlem, and is the author of Black, Blind and In Charge: A story of Visionary Leadership and Overcoming Adversity.

In addition to Patterson’s presentation, the symposium will feature presentations by researchers from across the country, including individuals from Upstate Medical University, National Institutes of Health, Harvard Medical School, University of California at Berkeley and Washington University, among others.

Presentations will report on progress using genetics to improve glaucoma treatments, optic nerve injury, retinal disease, neuronal degeneration, the role circadian rhythms in vision and translational vision science and an examination of the future funding for vision research, among other issues.

Over the past quarter century, Upstate’s Center for Vision Research has increased its funding support from the NIH and Research to Prevent Blindness, attracted numerous faculty, several of who have been honored with national awards, and moved its operations to the Upstate’s Neuroscience Research Building featuring expansive laboratory space.

Also, being highlighted at the symposium is the Lions Club, District 20-Y1 that has created a special relationship with the Center for Vision Research that has led to generous support of the CVR research effort of more than $1 million.

Center for Vision Research faculty include William Brunken, PhD; Francesca Pignoni, PhD; Andrea Viczian, PhD,; Michael Zuber, PhD; Reyna Martinez-De Luna, PhD; Huaiyu Hu, PhD; Peter Calvert, PhD; Barry Knox, PhD; Eduardo Solessio, PhD; Dan Tso, PhD; Audrey Bernstein, PhD; Preethi Ganapathy, MD, PhD; Samuel Herberg, PhD; William Spencer, PhD; and Robert Fechtner, MD.

While the focus of the center’s current research is on “discovery science,” namely, the fundamentals of cell and molecular biology, “the Center for Vision Research remains committed to the development of new and advanced treatments for blinding disease,” Brunken said.

For more information on the symposium, go to https://www.upstate.edu/cvr/symposium/