Invited Speakers

CE-Day / MasterClass / SOTAL
Rebecca R Bellone, DVM, PhD

School of Veterinary Medicine at University of California, Davis, USA

Rebecca graduated from the University of Kentucky in 2001, earning her PhD in equine genetics. After earning her doctorate, she joined the faculty at University of Tampa, in Tampa, Florida, and spent twelve years teaching undergraduate courses in biology and molecular biology, while also conducting research that advanced the understanding of equine genetics. Her research work has identified causal mutations for both pigmentation traits as well as several inherited ocular disorders in horses, including night blindness and ocular squamous cell carcinoma. In 2014, she joined the faculty at the School of Veterinary Medicine at UC Davis and was appointed Director of the Veterinary Genetics Laboratory in November of 2017. She currently is investigating the genetics of several ocular disorders including bilateral cornea stroma loss, distichiasis, ocular squamous cell carcinoma, and equine recurrent uveitis in multiple horse breeds.

Richard J McMullen Jr., Dr. med. vet. , DECVO, DACVO

Auburn University, Auburn, USA

Richard graduated from Ludwig-Maximilians-University (LMU), Munich in 2002, and immediately joined LMU’s Clinic for Horses where he completed his doctorate and advanced certification in equine ophthalmology in 2005. This was followed by a move to Raleigh, NC for a residency in comparative ophthalmology at North Carolina State University (NCSU) in 2006. Following completion of his residency, Richard remained on faculty at NCSU until 2012. From January 2013 to October 2016, Richard established and ran the equine ophthalmology service at the Equine Clinic Munich-Riem, Germany. In January 2017 Richard once again returned to the U.S. to join the ophthalmology service at Auburn University where he is currently an Associate Professor of Equine Ophthalmology. Auburn University is one of the only veterinary schools in North America that offers an Equine Ophthalmology rotation in addition to their Small Animal Ophthalmology rotation. Richard serves on the ECVO Scientific Committee, and is a past board member of the International Equine Ophthalmology Consortium (IEOC). His research interests are anchored in clinical equine ophthalmology and vision, ophthalmic photography, advanced diagnostic imaging, novel uses of photodynamic therapy, and standing ophthalmic surgery in horses.

Carolina (Carol) Naranjo Freixa, LV, Dipl. ACVP, Dipl. ECVP, PhD

IDEXX Laboratories, Barcelona, Spain

Carol graduated from Veterinary School at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona where she proceeded to pursue a PhD. She moved to the University of Wisconsin-Madison for a 1-year fellowship on ocular pathology at the Comparative Ocular Pathology Laboratory of Wisconsin (COPLOW) under the supervision of Dr. Richard Dubielzig, after which she enrolled in an anatomic pathology residency program in the same university. She is a diplomate of both the American and European Colleges of Veterinary Pathology (ACVP and ECVP, respectively). She returned to Europe to work as an assistant professor at the Veterinary School at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid and started an ocular pathology service on the side. She joined IDEXX Laboratories in Barcelona in 2015, where she is currently working, and she still has a special interest in ocular pathology.

Simon M Petersen-Jones, DVetMed, PhD, DVOphthal, Dip ECVO, Hon dip ACVO MRCVS

Michigan State University, East Lansing, USA

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 during which he developed the first DNA-based test for progressive retinal atrophy. 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 ocular conditions. He has been awarded the BSAVA Simon Award and Pfizer Research Awards both in the UK and in the USA and in 2019 was elected as an honorary member of the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists.

Stephan Thurau, Prof. Dr. med., FEBO

University Eye Hospital, Munich, Germany

Stephan Thurau graduated from Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich in 1986, where he completed a M.D. on HLA-B27. In 1989 he went to the National Eye Institute of the NIH in Bethesda as a postdoctoral fellow, founded the Lab of Immunology at the Department of Ophthalmology of the LMU in Munich together with Gerhild Wildner and passed the German Board Exam of Ophthalmology in 1994 and became Fellow of the European Board of Ophthalmology in 2003. In 2008 he was nominated associate professor at the University Eye Hospital, Munich. His clinical main research is focused on uveitis.

Gerhild Wildner, Prof. Dr.

Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich, Germany

Gerhild Wildner graduated with a diploma in Biology from the Institute of Genetics, Dept. of Immunology at the University of Cologne, Germany. She received her PhD degree in immunology from the Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich and then worked as a postdoc at the Max-Planck-Institute for Biochemistry in Martinsried. Since 1991 she is heading the “Section of Immunobiology“ at the Department of Ophthalmology of the Ludwig-Maximilians-University, focused on the pathomechanisms of intraocular inflammatory in patients and the models of experimental autoimmune uveitis (EAU). She is a Professor of Immunology and Consultant Immunologist of the German Society for Immunology (DGfI). In 2000 she co-founded the Munich Collaborative Research Center SFB 571 “Autoimmune reactions" and received the Research Award of the German Society for Ankylosing Spondylitis (DVMB) in. In 2012/13 she was visiting professor at the University of New South Wales in Sydney (Australia) and at the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research in Chandigarh (India).


HED Session
Claus Bundgaard Nielsen, DVM, SpecVetOphth

AniCura Aarhus Dyrehospital, Denmark

Claus graduated from the Royal Veterinary School in Copenhagen in 1985. He became a Nordic Eye Panelist in 2003 and a national Specialist in Veterinary Ophthalmology in 2005. He has since 1998 been working at Aarhus Dyrehospital in a referral practice, responsible for the ophthalmology department. Since 2007 he has been the national Chief Panelist, and has been engaged in the Nordic Eye Examination Commity since 2008 and is a special advisor for the ECVO-HED commity with special tasks for the ECVO manual and the Education Program for Eye Scheme Examiners (ESE). He is furthermore the CEO of AniCura Aarhus Dyrehospital.

Marianne Richter, Dr. med. vet., DECVO

Tierklinik Aarau West, Oberentfelden, Switzerland

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 is working self-employed in 2 private veterinary clinics since more than 10 years.
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 since 2015 chair of the Hereditary Eye Disease Committee.