The Vaegan seminar series is an invitation-only collection of seminars hosted by Associate Professor  Juno Kim for the School of Optometry & Vision Science. Vaegan himself was a long-standing academic at the school and world-renowned physiologist and clinical electrophysiologist. In 2022, the Vaegan seminars continued in both hybrid and online formats, bringing together speakers and audience members from across the globe. 

The year commenced with our hybrid seminar at Rupert Myers Theatre presented by Associate Professor Mohit Shivdasani (UNSW Sydney). Associate Professor Shivdasani provided revealing insight into the bionic technologies that have made more headlines over the past few years, promising to be the next “game changer” for artificially restoring sight in patients affected by blindness. If you missed this seminar, you can catch up on it here:

In March, Professor Takashi Kawai (Waseda University) enlightened us on how technological changes have been inspired in response to the global pandemic. Professor Kawai shared his experimental approaches for addressing challenges to social inclusion using advanced technologies in virtual and mixed reality.

In May, Professor Nicholas Wade (University of Dundee) took us for a journey into the artistic history of anaglyph art. Almost all visual art is inherently viewed with two eyes and thus stereoscopically. Wearing a pair of anaglyph glasses, attendees joining remotely enjoyed an insightful exploration of what is the essence of our perception of depth, 3D shape and luminosity. His presentation revealed there is more to art than what meets our eye (because we have two of them).

Our July Vaegan was presented by Dr Arathy Kartha (Johns Hopkins Medicine) talked to us about Ultra-Low Vision (ULV) and how using the ULV toolkit developed and calibrated in the Ultra-Low Vision Lab, they were able to learn about the range of visually-guided daily activities that can be performed using ULV to pave the way for new rehabilitation programs.

In August, Dr Nahian Chowdhury (NeuRA) gave us a tutorial on Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) and how it can be used to induce plasticity. He also explained the practical considerations associated with combining TMS with EEG, and what knowledge has been gained in relation to understanding visual function.

In our September Vaegan presented by Dr Colin Palmer (School of Psychology, UNSW), we saw some of the visual cues that contribute to our perception of other people’s gaze direction. Dr Palmer also revealed how the functional aspects of gaze detection may underlie social-perceptual mechanisms in autism and developmental prosopagnosia.

In October, Dr Arijit Chakraborty (Chicago College of Optometry) informed us on his recent work using transcranial magnetic stimulation and transcranial direct current stimulation to affect changes in perceptual learning and creating treatment models to target brain areas underlying conditions such as age-related macular degeneration and amblyopia.

We ended 2022 with a seminar by Professor Jake Baum (School of Biomedical Sciences, UNSW) who discussed some of the latest technologies and innovations from his research lab on diagnostics and vaccine development for malaria. These efforts are aimed at returning global control efforts towards total eradication. 

Associate Professor Juno Kim

Vaegan Seminar Coordinator