Retina International World Congress 2024 Speaker Spotlight: Professor John G. Flannery

Our Retina International World Congress (RIWC24) takes place from the 5th – 8th June 2024 in the Dublin Royal Convention Centre, in the heart of Dublin city centre.

Our Scientific Committee has been working relentlessly to secure an impressive lineup of outstanding speakers to shed light on this research area so as part of our Meet the Speaker series, we are delighted to announce one more distinguished speaker.

Professor Flannery is Professor of Optometry and Vision Science, at the Dept of Molecular & Cell Biology, School of Optometry & Assoc. Director, at Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute, at University of California, Berkeley.

Headshot of Prof. John Flannery on a blue background image. Text: Retina International World Congress. Dublin Royal Convention Centre, Dublin, Ireland. RIWC24. DUBLIN: Targeting the Cure. JUNE 5-8, 2024. PROF JOHN G. FLANNERY, Professor, Dept of Molecular & Cell Biology, Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute, University of California, Berkeley. At the bottom of the image, there are the Fighting Blindness and Retina International logos.

The expertise of Prof. Flannery laboratory group is directed toward developing therapeutic approaches for retinal degenerative diseases through the study of the normal retinal functions as well as its pathological states.

We are delighted to have Professor Flannery with us at the Retina International World Congress to present on Optogenetics, on our Scientific Day Friday, June 7, 2024. You can learn more about his work in his full bio below.

Stay tuned for more updates as we draw closer to this incredible gathering of the latest scientific research and innovation, set to take place in 2024.

Professor John G. Flannery’s full bio:

The expertise of Prof. Flannery’s laboratory group is directed toward developing therapeutic approaches for retinal degenerative diseases through the study of the normal retinal function as well as its pathological side.

One of their approaches is the development of viral gene therapies, where they use mouse models of inherited retinal degenerations to target the genes that cause sight loss. They use viral vectors to access the defective retinal cells (e.g. retinal neurons, epithelia and glia cells) and deliver the gene needed to restore vision. Prof. Flanneryat a previous Fighting Blindness Retina Conference about his group’s world-first achievement of reversing blindness in mice through gene therapy.

The other approach Prof. Flannerys laboratory use is called Optogenetics and Prof. Flannery will talk about it at the RIWC24 congress. Optogenetic treatments bestow light sensitivity to cells that normally do not respond to light or cells that have lost their light-sensing ability. They are gene-agnostic, meaning they are designed to work independent of the mutated gene a patient has that is causing their retinal disease.

In their Optogenetic Vision Restoration approach, Prof. Flannery and his team in collaboration with Prof. Isacoff, use again mouse models of inherited retinal degenerations to target the surviving inner retina (specifically ganglion cells).

Through the restoration of light responsiveness to the retina and the transmission of information to the brain, this intervention aims to restore vision by making up for the loss of input from photoreceptors. According to Prof. Flannery and his team, the success of this program represents a major step in the creation of a retinal prosthetic based on gene therapy.

Prof. Flannery serves on a number of advisory boards in the United States; he is vice chairman for the Foundation Fighting Blindness and is on the board of directors for the National Neurovision Research Institute. He is also a member of the Medical and Scientific Advisory Board (MSAB) for Fighting Blindness in Ireland.

Prof. Flannery obtained his BA (1975) and PhD in Neuroscience (1993) at the University of California, Santa Barbara and he continued his postdoctoral training at the Jules Stein Eye Institute, UCLA. In 1991, Prof. Flannery joined the faculty of the University of Florida and in 1995, he accepted his position at UC Berkeley.

  • To learn more about Prof. Flannery’s work please click here.
  • To register for the RIWC24 please click here. Special-price early-bird ticketing is available until March 31!