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Oakland University’s Harding Lecture to spotlight eye research

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September 18, 2017
Oakland University will present its third annual Harding Eye Research and Biology Lecture on Thursday, Sept. 28. This year’s lecture will be given by University of Washington Professor John Clark, Ph.D., whose topic will be “Cell Biology of the Lens.”
 
Understanding how the lens works is crucial for researchers looking for cures for eye diseases such as cataract and presbyopia, the two most common visual problems associated with aging. Dr. Clark noted that Dr. Clifford V. Harding, for whom the lecture is named, was one of the earliest cell biologists who studied the lens.
 
“He was very well educated and his experiments were creative and innovative,” Clark said. “He provided fundamental knowledge that is now the basis for modern biomedical research to develop treatments for cataract and has the potential to eliminate 50 percent of visual impairment globally.”
 
Clark, who has taught at the University of Washington for nearly 35 years, is a professor in the Department of Biological Structure and Department of Ophthalmology. He is also a past president of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology and received the organization’s Distinguished Service Award in 2017.
 
In addition, he holds numerous patents related to eye research and has authored or coauthored dozens of peer-reviewed papers on the subject. His research was the basis for the first FDA-approved clinical trial for a treatment of cataract.
 
Clark first visited Oakland in 1977 to attend the Biochemistry of the Eye Conference at Meadow Brook Hall. There he met Dr. Harding and other eye researchers from OU and other universities around the world.
 
“When I began working on lens transparency and cataract in 1976, Dr. Harding was a well-established researcher,” Clark said. “His influence on my research was substantial.”
 
The Harding Lecture Series honors the memory of husband and wife Dr. Clifford V. and Dr. Drusilla R. Harding, OU biology faculty members who played a pivotal role in shaping Oakland University in its early years. It was established in 2015 through an endowment set up by the couple’s children.
 
Clifford V. Harding was the founding chair of OU’s Department of Biological Sciences, the university’s first vision researcher and a leader in developing the plan to establish the Eye Research Institute at Oakland. This annual lecture series brings experts to campus who reflect the Hardings’ passion for scholarly achievements in biology and eye research.
 
This year’s lecture will take place from noon-1 p.m. in Gold Rooms B and C of the Oakland Center. A reception with light refreshments will start at 11:30 a.m.

The event is free and open to the public. For more information, and to RSVP, contact Jacqueline Hencsie at hencsie@oakland.edu.
 
Contact:
Brian Bierley, Director of Media Relations
bierley@oakland.edu, (248) 370-4346

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