[visionlist] Announcement and Call for Members: Consortium for Vision and Oculomics in Psychiatry (CVOP)

Silverstein, Steven Steven_Silverstein at URMC.Rochester.edu
Tue May 23 14:46:12 -04 2023

We announce the formation of the Consortium for Vision and Oculomics in Psychiatry (CVOP).  The mission of CVOP is to accelerate dialogue between the fields of vision science and psychiatry, with the goal of advancing research and clinical care. The CVOP was organized in 2022 in response to recent rapid growth in both the study of psychological and biological aspects of visual system impairments in serious mental illness, and the emerging field of oculomics, or retinal biomarkers of brain and systemic diseases in neurology and medicine, and more recently in psychiatry.  Below please find more details about our mission and objectives, planned activities, and membership information. To learn more, you can check out our website at https://www.cvop.org/ or contact Steven Silverstein, Chair (steven_silverstein at urmc.rochester.edu), or Katy Thakkar, Secretary (kthakkar at msu.edu).

The mission of CVOP is to accelerate dialogue between the fields of vision science and psychiatry, to advance at least three areas of research and clinical care:

1) Understanding how psychiatric disorders affect vision and the visual system (from eye to brain);

2) Understanding in what ways vision and visual system problems contribute to psychiatric symptoms, syndromes, and disorders; and

3) Developing clinically relevant trait and state visual biosignatures (e.g., retinal neural layer thinning markers of: Loss of brain volume, cognitive decline, the development of a specific disorder, relapse, early treatment response; etc.) for use in psychiatric research and in the monitoring and treatment of psychiatric patients.

We expect CVOP members to represent a range of interests including, but not limited to:

  *   retinal biomarkers (structural, functional, vascular) of psychiatric disorders and brain structure and function in general;
  *   visual evoked potentials;
  *   eye tracking;
  *   subcortical and cortical visual system changes in psychiatric conditions;
  *   visual psychophysics;
  *   brain imaging;
  *   predictors of conversion to a serious mental illness in clinical and genetic high-risk populations;
  *   neurodevelopment;
  *   neurodegeneration;
  *   self-report measures of visual distortions, hallucinations and other symptoms;
  *   relationships between vision and cognition;
  *   animal, human, and computational models of vision and its impairment related to psychiatric disorders.

The objectives of CVOP are:
1. To facilitate dialogue and collaboration between (and within) vision scientists and psychiatric researchers, with the goal of creating new lines of research and publications that push the boundaries of this emerging field.
2. To educate psychiatrists, psychologists, ophthalmologists, optometrists, neuroscientists and others on the importance and potential clinical applications of ocular and visual system impairments in mental health disorders.
3. To help bridge the gap between vision research and psychiatric research.
4. To identify needs within the field.
5. To develop recommendations and tools to help enhance the translation of research findings in this field into clinical practice.

In addition, in CVOP, we aim to integrate principles of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) into our organizational culture and policies in order to promote the emotional health and well-being of all members, patients, research participants and our communities. We are committed to creating a safe space that facilitates diverse perspectives, representation, equal opportunity, an increased sense of belonging and decreased bias and stigma. We are committed to continue evolving in our knowledge and understanding of the strengths that come from our differences and similarities, so that all are treated with dignity and respect. We believe that innovation and progress in vision science in psychiatry thrive on diversity and objectivity free of bias and discrimination.
What will CVOP do?

  1.  We envision organizing an annual meeting or possibly a twice-yearly virtual meeting to highlight foundational and innovative work in this field.
  2.  We will form workgroups of people with interest in a specific topic. Meetings will include sessions of workgroups, and presentations by workgroups on progress towards ongoing projects.  Anticipated project types include review papers and meta-analyses, multi-site studies, development and validation of novel tasks; development of software for data analysis, etc. Workgroups can last as long or short as is needed to accomplish their goals.
  3.  We anticipate providing opportunities for mentorship.
  4.  We expect to further develop the website to include information and tools useful to researchers in this field, including papers, behavioral tasks, code, and links to useful resources.

Membership information:

           CVOP is a place for scientists with an established line of research relevant to the consortium and is also committed to shaping the careers of young scientists. Currently, membership is free of charge. Fees will not be necessary until/unless in-person conferences are organized (necessitating payment for meeting rooms, food, refreshments, etc.) and/or the steering committee votes to acquire funds to offset costs such as starting a small grants program, offsetting the costs of workgroup publications in open access journals, website upgrades, or other critical tasks.

Membership categories are:
      Full Membership: Researchers established in fields relevant to the CVOP are eligible for full membership. For this membership category, 5 or more peer-reviewed publications that are broadly within the scope of CVOP are required. Full members are authorized to vote, hold office, sit on committees, and sponsor member applications.

Associate Membership: Appropriate for applicants with fewer than 5 relevant peer-reviewed publications. Associate Members are not eligible to vote or hold office but are able to sit on committees and sponsor member applications.

              Student Membership: Appropriate for applicants currently enrolled in any authorized educational program, full-time training, at degree-granting institution (undergraduate, graduate, medical student, resident, fellow). Student Members are not eligible to vote, hold office, or sponsor member applications. However, they will be able to serve on committees that are open to student members.

Looking to Join? To submit an application visit https://www.cvop.org/join.

Contact cvop at cvop.org if you have any questions or need any assistance throughout this process.

A list of the initial Steering Committee is below.  For further information about CVOP or membership please contact https://www.cvop.org/ or Steven Silverstein, Chair (steven_silverstein at urmc.rochester.edu), or Katy Thakkar, Secretary (kthakkar at msu.edu).

Note: We are sending this initial message to 60 people that we know and/or of whose work we are familiar, and to 2 listservs (SRP and Vision Science List).  We recognize that there are others who may be interested in participating in this group.  Please forward this message to anyone else that you think may be interested.

Steering Committee:

Steven Silverstein, Ph.D., Chair, University of Rochester Medical Center

Bilge Turkozer, M.D., Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital/McLean Hospital

Paulo Lizano, M.D., Harvard Medical School, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Deepthi Bannai, M.S., University of California at Berkeley

Sonia Bansal, Ph.D., Treasurer, University of Maryland, Maryland Psychiatric Research Center

Katy Thakkar, Ph.D., Secretary, Michigan State University

Robert Reinhart, Ph.D., Boston University

Siegfried Wagner, M.D., University College London, Moorfields Eye Hospital

Michel Maziade, M.D. Université Laval

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