The ECVO invites you to the Annual Meeting, 23 – 26 May2019 in Antwerp, Belgium

After a great meeting in the beautiful city of Florence Italy in 2018, the ECVO Planning Committee is working in full force on the organization of next year’s meeting in Antwerp, Belgium. The general topic of the 2019 meeting is ‘Genetic Diseases‘.

Antwerp is a port city on Belgium’s River Scheldt, with history dating to the Middle Ages. The city is famous for its diamonds and the centuries-old Diamond District in the city center. It is also well known for its fashion and entertainment scene, staggering architecture and culture. While there, be sure to enjoy the superb and famous Belgium chocolate!

The meeting will take place in the Hilton Antwerp Old Town, located in the heart of the old city. Exhibitors will present at the hotel’s congress area, and lunch will be provided on site. The Welcome reception will be held at the Diamond Museum, with a free access to the museum’s exhibition. The Friday Gala will take place at Horta-Art Nouveau Zaal, situated in the fashionable center of Antwerp and provides a stylish roof terrace with a view of the city.

Please be sure to book your hotel room early. Antwerp has its own international airport (ANR). A train and a direct express bus also connect Brussel’s Airport to Antwerp (approximately 30 and 35-45 min ride, respectively).

The ECVO looks forward to welcoming you in Antwerp!

Anne Marie Verbruggen
Anne-Marie Verbruggen
(ECVO President)
Anne Marie Verbruggen
Gil Ben-Shlomo
(ECVO Planning Committee Chair)


Approved by the AAVSB RACE for CE credits!
(American Association of Veterinary State Boards)

Wednesday, 22 May 2019
Committee Meetings

Thursday, 23 May 2019
Continuing Education Day, 09:00-15:30h

Genetic diseases
Invited speakers: Gustavo Aguirre, William Beltran, Andras Komaromy, Cathryn Mellersh, and Simon Petersen-Jones

AGM (Annual General Meeting/Dips only), 16:00h

Friday 24 May and Saturday 25 May 2019
The Main Programme will consist of free communication lectures and poster presentations.       Information for authors

As a part of the main programme, a State of the Art Lecture will be given by Gustavo Aguirre:
The Dog: An Ophthalmologist’s Best Friend
Strategies for developing retinal gene therapies

Sunday, 26 May 2019
Masterclass, 08:00-16:00h

Glaucoma, Retinal diseases, Future therapies
Invited Speakers: Gustavo Aguirre, William Beltran, Andras Komaromy, Mary Lassaline, Simon Petersen-Jones, and Knut Stieger

Conference Schedule – Overview

Responsible of the Scientific Programme – Continuing Education, Masterclass, and State of the Art Lecture (Invited Speakers):
Simon M. Petersen-Jones (Member of the ECVO Scientific Committee)

Responsible of the Scientific Programme – Main Programme (Free Communications and Posters):
Charlotte Keller (Chair of the ECVO Scientific Committee)

Invited Speakers

CE-Day / MasterClass / SOTAL
Gustavo Aguirre VMD, PhD, DECVO (hon), DACVO

Gustavo is Professor of Medical Genetics and Ophthalmology at PENN's School of Veterinary Medicine, and works with dog models of inherited eye and retinal disease. He earned all his degrees at PENN, where he also completed a residency in ophthalmology before serving as a post-doctoral fellow at Hopkins' Wilmer Institute. He joined Penn in 1973 as assistant professor, left as professor for Cornell in 1992, and returned to PENN as professor in 2004. He has received many awards including the Alcon Award and ARVO's Proctor medal, and is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine and a fellow of AAAS.

William Beltran DVM, PhD, DECVO

Dr. Beltran graduated from the Ecole Nationale Vétérinaire d’Alfort/France in 1994 where he also completed an ECVO residency program, and subsequently obtained a PhD degree from Cornell University in 2006. He is currently a Professor of Ophthalmology at the School of Veterinary Medicine of the University of Pennsylvania where he practices clinical veterinary ophthalmology and heads a research laboratory focused on inherited retinal degenerative diseases and the development of novel therapeutic strategies. Ongoing projects in his group are aimed at characterizing the link between mutation and photoreceptor cell death, and developing novel treatment modalities such as corrective gene therapy, neuroprotection, the use of optogenetic/optochemical tools for vision restoration, and more recently stem cell therapies to replace photoreceptor cells.

Dr. Beltran is also the Director of PennVet’s Division of Experimental Retinal Therapies (ExpeRTs), a unique consortium of veterinary ophthalmologists and vision scientists whose mission is to facilitate the development, screening, and testing of novel retinal therapies that rescue or restore vision in people and animals through collaborations with academia and industry. His work on X-linked PRA has led to the launch in 2018 of a gene therapy clinical trial in (human) patients affected with the RPGR form of XLRP.

He has co-authored over 45 scientific publications, and is the recipient of the 2013 Merck/ARVO Foundation Innovative Ophthalmology Research Award, the 2013 Foundation Fighting Blindness Board of Directors Award, and the 2016 Pfizer Ophthalmics Carl Camras Translational Award.
He served of the ECVO’s Education and Residency committee from 2008-2015 (chair from 2010-2013), and is now a member of ECVO’s Scientific committee.

András Komáromy DVM, PhD, DECVO, DACVO

Dr. András Komáromy is a Professor of Comparative Ophthalmology at the Michigan State University (MSU). He received his veterinary degree from the University of Zurich (Switzerland). Following his internship in medicine and surgery at MSU, he performed his PhD graduate work and clinical residency at the University of Florida. Dr. Komáromy is a Diplomate of both the American and European Colleges of Veterinary Ophthalmologists (ACVO and ECVO). Currently, he is the Vice-President of the ACVO. As a clinician-scientist he has a special interest in the study of glaucoma and retinal diseases in dogs.

Mary E Lassaline DVM, PhD, DACVO

Mary received her veterinary training at Michigan State University, and completed an internship in Equine Medicine and Surgery at Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital followed by residency at University of Florida. She worked in private ophthalmology practice prior to joining the faculty at University of Pennsylvania's New Bolton Center, where she established a full-time equine ophthalmology service, and then joined the faculty at University of California-Davis. She is currently Co-Chair of the ACVO Examination Committee, and serves on the Editorial Board of the journal Veterinary Ophthalmology. Her research interests include corneal wound healing and the genetics of equine ocular disease.

Cathryn Mellersh BSc, PhD

Cathryn completed a BSc in genetics at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne in 1984, followed by a PhD in developmental genetics from Leicester University in 1991. She stayed in Leicester for her first post-doctoral position before moving to the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, (Seattle, USA), where she played an integral role developing the first maps of the canine genome.

Cathryn took up her position at the Animal Health Trust in 2001 where she and her research team investigate the genetic basis of inherited canine diseases which are painful, blinding, require surgical or medical intervention or otherwise reduce the quality of life of affected dogs. Their work involves close collaboration with many canine stakeholder groups, including fellow canine geneticists, veterinary surgeons, the Kennel Club, dog Breed Clubs and the dog-owning public.

An immediate-term objective of Cathryn’s research is the development of DNA tools that dog breeders can use to reduce the prevalence of disease in future generations of dogs and that veterinary surgeons can use to help diagnose disease. A longer-term aim is to improve our understanding of disease aetiology in dogs and other species.

In 2015 Cathryn was recognised for her significant contributions to veterinary science and canine health as the co-winner of the International Canine Health Awards (International Prize), run by the Kennel Club Charitable Trust and in 2016 was awarded the PetPlan Charitable Trust Scientific Award.

Simon M Petersen-Jones DVetMed, PhD, DVOphthal, DECVO, MRCVS

Simon is a graduate of the Royal Veterinary College, London. After 18 months in private practice in England he returned to the RVC as a resident under Peter Bedford. He then held a faculty position at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Sciences before moving to Cambridge University as a Wellcome Trust Veterinary Career Development Fellow. At Cambridge he completed a PhD under David Sargan. Since 1998 he has been on the faculty at Michigan State University where he has advanced through the ranks to full professor. He was appointed as the first Myers-Dunlap Endowed Chair in Canine Health. As well as clinical and administrative duties he runs an active research group focusing on characterization of and therapy for hereditary retinal conditions. He has been awarded the BSAVA Simon Award and Pfizer Research Awards both in the UK and in the USA.

Knut Stieger DVM, PhD

Knut graduated from Leipzig University, Germany, in 2003 and completed a Dr. med. vet. thesis in the same year. Afterwards, he completed a PhD in molecular biology at Nantes University, France, in 2007. Knut moved back to Germany and currently holds a faculty position at the Medical School of the Justus-Liebig-University in Giessen. He is Professor of Experimental Ophthalmology with the research focus on genome editing to treat inherited retinal disorders, retinal imaging, and new animal models for retinal research.

HED Session
Gilles Chaudieu DVM, DECVO

Gilles Chaudieu graduated from the French National Veterinary School of Toulouse with a degree in Veterinary Medicine in 1972. Since 1995, he has been a Diplomate of the European College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists (ECVO) and recognized as a French specialist in ophthalmology in 2009 (DESV Opht). He his working as a member of the Re-evaluation Committee and of the Hereditary Eye Diseases (HED) Committee of the ECVO since 2011. He is member of the AFVAC Board since 1988 (AFVAC, Association Française des Vétérinaires pour Animaux de Compagnie) and to date Editor in chief of the AFVAC Journal: “Revue Vétérinaire Clinique” (Elsevier publisher); member of the Scientific Committee of the SCC (the French Kennel Club) since 1986, and member of the French Council for specialization in Veterinary Ophtalmology since 2015. He was the President of the Ophthalmology Group of the AFVAC from 1994 to 1997 and from 2001 to 2003. His work is especially devoted to hereditary ocular diseases.

Magda Grauwels DMV, DECVO

Magda Grauwels graduated from the University of Liège as Docteur en médecine vétérinaire. After her research studies at the KULeuven and specialisation studies in the UK and the USA, she obtained the diploma of the European College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists (ECVO) and the title of European Specialist in Veterinary Ophthalmology for Belgium. Since returning from the USA she has been working part time at the School of Veterinary Medicine in Liège in charge of the ophthalmology section and doing clinical research. She has also a private practice in ophthalmology. She is author and co-author of scientific articles and has done national and international presentations. She has been chairman of the ‘Education and Residency Committee’ of the ECVO for 9 years. She has been the principal supervisor of 4 residents throughout their Residency Training Programme. The Belgian Panel for hereditary and presumed hereditary diseases was founded by her. She is a consultant for the scientific committee of the Koninklijke Maatschappij St Hubertus. She is a member of national and international professional organizations. She does volunteer work for service dog groups and with the elderly.

Marianne Richter Dr. med. vet., DECVO

Marianne graduated from University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna in 1999 and moved to Switzerland where she became a faculty member and did her residency training at the Vetsuisse Faculty of the University Zurich. From 2003 until end of 2008 she was assistant professor at the Vetsuisse Faculty, University Zurich training residents in Veterinary Ophthalmology and directing research projects focusing on Feline Herpesvirus. Following 8 years of academic career, Marianne works self-employed in 3 different private veterinary clinics.

Marianne is ECVO Diplomate since 2003. She was chair of the Education & Residency Committee (2005-2009), subsequent chair of the Credentials Committee (2010-2014) and at present co-chair of the Hereditary Eye Disease Committee (2015 -).


Approved by the AAVSB RACE for CE credits!
(American Association of Veterinary State Boards)

The ECVO invites you to register for their Annual Scientific Meeting 2019 in Antwerp, Belgium.

Early bird registration will be available until 12 April 2019. Higher fees will apply afterwards.


Payment of annual membership fee

The payment of the annual membership fee (for ECVO Diplomates only) is separate from the conference registration.

ECVO Membership Fee

Social Events

Welcome Reception on Thursday night, 23 May 2019 – Tickets at 15 Euro      Directions

This year’s Welcome Reception will take place at DIVA, the newly renovated Diamond Museum of Antwerp.
Meet your colleagues for a glass of wine, enjoy the exhibition with an audio-guide, make and remake friends!


Conference Dinner
on Friday night, 24 May 2019 – Tickets at 85 Euro      Directions

Come and join us for an unforgettable night in the Art Nouveau hall at Horta! Situated in the heart of Antwerp, just a few minutes from the conference venue, you will surely be impressed by this historical building and the magnificent view from the terrace. A silent disco with a DJ and headphones with three different music channels invites you to dance to your favourite music!


Hilton Antwerp Old Town

Groenplaats 32, 2000 Antwerp, Belgium,

On-site registration will already start on Wednesday, 22 May from 16:00 to 18:00 at the Hilton Hotel, 3rd floor.

Conference Information

How to get there:

Arrival by car:
Please note that Antwerp has become a low emission zone, so to enter the city centre, foreign number plates must be registered.
For more information please visit
When using GPS, indicate Eiermarkt as your final destination.
Enter the 'INDIGO' underground public car park with direct access to the hotel through parking level -1

Arrival by train:
The subway station Groenplaats is only one minute away from the hotel and takes you in three stops to Central Station.

Arrival by plane:

Antwerp International Airport
The international Airport in Antwerp is just 3 km south of the city and can be reached by public transport, city shuttle bus or taxi.
Brussels Airport Zaventem
The international airport in Brussels is directly linked to Antwerp by train (Intercity runs every 30 minutes and takes 30 minutes).
Amsterdam Airport Schiphol
The international airport in Amsterdam is also directly linked to Antwerp by train (Thalys runs every 60 minutes and takes one hour).

Hilton Antwerp Old Town

For guest room reservations at the Hilton Antwerp Old Town please contact the hotel directly:


Alternatively, you have the possibility to book a hotel room via the Antwerp Convention Bureau in a hotel in walking distance to the congress hotel.

Hotel Reservation – Antwerp Convention Bureau

Conference Organiser

The European College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists


ECVO's official address for legal matters:
ECVO c/o Michael Boevé
Faculty of Veterinary Medicine
Department of Companion Animals
Internal Medicine
Yalelaan, 108
NL-3584 CM Utrecht

The ECVO is represented by:
Anne-Marie Verbruggen, ECVO President
Gil Ben-Shlomo, ECVO Planning Committee Chair,

As the ECVO is registered in the Netherlands,
all legal matters will be considered under current Dutch law.

Conference Office

CSM, Congress & Seminar Management


Industriestrasse 35
D – 82194 Groebenzell
Tel. +49 8142 57 01 83
Fax +49 8142 547 35