16 October, 2009

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State Key Lab co-organized a Memorial Lecture which was delivered by Professor Torsten. N. Wiesel, the Nobel Laureate from Rockefeller University and Professor E. Raviola, M.D., Ph.D. from Harvard Medical School.

“Do we learn to see?: the Neural Basis of Visual Perception and Its Development”
Professor Torsten N. Wiesel
President-Emeritus, Rockefeller University

Date and time: 5:30pm - 7:30pm, Friday, 16 October, 2009
Location: Lecture Theatres 3 & 4, G/F William MW Mong Block, Faculty of Medicine, HKU
The question about the role of nature and nurture has been discussed for centuries by philosophers, scientists and doctors but no clear consensus had been arrived at until experimental work he and David Hubel carried out in the cat and monkey, and their studies of single neurons in the adult visual and the developing cortex. From these experiments, they learned that early in life there is a critical period during which time the neural connections present at birth can be lost or modified by visual deprivation and that innate as well as environmental factors are important for the full development of vision.
“Experimental Myopia in Primates”
Professor E. Raviola,
Bullard Professor, Department of Neurobiology, Harvard Medical School

The work on experimental myopia using a very good animal model was presented. Studies of myopia in humans have indicated that genetic as well as environmental factors are instrumental in the development of this condition. In monkey experiments it has been possible for Dr. Raviola and his colleagues to clarify some of the underlying mechanisms, which was presented and discussed at his lecture.