Current OD/MS Students

Carson Wong
Carson K. Wong earned a B.S. Electrical Engineering, University of California – Berkeley and an O.D. Optometry, SUNY College of Optometry. His Masters Research Advisor is Dr. Qasim Zaidi. The title of his research project is “Matched Filters For Decoding 3D Shape From Texture Cues.” Previous research has shown that 3D patterned surfaces contain signature orientation modulations in the retinal image, and humans effortlessly perceive the 3D shapes conveyed by these orientation modulations. Since many textures contain multiple orientations, these modulations will have to be extracted in the presence of other orientations. The parallel extraction of multiple orientations at every retinotopic location by the striate cortex is perfectly matched to the demands of this task. We will explore how extrastriate neurons that receive neural connections from the striate cortex can evolve to become matched filters to detect these signature orientation modulations.

Class of 2017

Jinyoung Choe
Advisor: Dr. Mitchell Dul

Jinyoung received a B.A. in Integrative Biology from the University of California at Berkeley. Her research advisor is Dr. Mitchell Dul.
Kim Duong
Kim Duong graduated with a Bachelors of Arts in Biology and Minor in East Asian Studies from the University of Virgina. Her Thesis Advisor is Kathryn Richdale, OD, PhD. The title of her Masters Thesis project is “Changes in Tear Inflammatory Mediators Following a Short Period of Daily and Overnight Wear– A Pilot.” The focus of the research is to investigate changes in ocular surface inflammatory markers after short-term daily and overnight soft contact lens wear in healthy full-time soft contact lens wearers using Multiplex Assay and ELISA.
Advisor: Dr. Kathryn Richdale
Celia Gong
Celia Gong received a B.A. from University of California, Berkeley. Her Thesis Advisor is Kathryn Richdale, OD PhD FAAO. Her research focuses on “The effect of multifocal contact lenses on accommodation and phoria in children.” Her research project is a prospective, randomized, crossover study performed on myopic children with normal accommodation and binocularity, and no history of myopia control treatment. A total of 16 subjects, aged 10-15, were fit with Coopervision Biofinity single vision (SV) and multifocal (MF) (+2.50 D center distance add) contact lenses. Accommodative responses and phorias were measured at four distances (>3m, 100cm, 40cm, 25cm). Secondary measures included high and low illumination logMAR acuity, contrast sensitivity, accommodative amplitude and facility. Differences in MF and SV contact lenses were analyzed using repeated measures regression and paired t-tests. Children wearing MF exhibited reduced accommodative responses and more exophoria at increasingly higher accommodative demands than with SV contact lenses. There was also a small decrease in high and low illumination visual acuity and contrast sensitivity with MFs. There were no significant differences in accommodative amplitude or facility.
Advisor: Dr. Kathryn Richdale
Patricia Nguyen
Trish Nguyen has a Biology B.S. with a minor in Philosophy from the University of Virginia. Her M.S. Research Advisor is Miduturu Srinivas, Ph.D. Her research is on the “Functional effects of Cx50 mutations associated with congenital cataracts.”
Advisor: Dr. Miduturu Srinivas
Mariya Skreydel
Mariya received her B.A. in Biochemistry from Hunter College. Her M.S. Research Advisor is Benjamin Backus, Ph.D. The title of her research project is “Quantifying the effects of reverse patching on binocular combination in amblyopes.”
Advisor: Dr. Daniella Rutner
Laura Zuker
Laura received her B.S. in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology from the University of Michigan. Her M.S. Research Advisor is Benjamin Backus, Ph.D. The title of her research project is “Investigating neural correlates as amblyopes participate in binocular vision training.”
Advisor: Dr. Benjamin Backus

Class of 2018

Ayah Ahamed
Ayah Ahamed graduated with a BA in Natural Science from Fordham University. She is currently enrolled in the Doctor of Optometry program at the SUNY College of Optometry. Ayah entered the Masters in Vision Science program in Fall 2014 and is currently working under the mentorship of Dr. Mark Rosenfield. Her current project aims to evaluate the accuracy and repeatability of a handheld autorefractor in astigmatic eyes. While there have been a wide number of published studies which have evaluated both the precision and repeatability of different autorefractors, relatively few studies have exclusively examined these parameters in eyes with significant amounts of astigmatism. A higher level of accuracy is critical in these eyes, since relatively small errors, particularly in the axis of astigmatism, will have a marked negative impact on a patient’s visual acuity. Ayah finds research in vision science particularly rewarding, and is confident that this research experience will strongly enhance her ability in the clinical setting.
Advisor: Dr. Jerome  Sherman
Roa Al-Abdalla
Roa Al-Abdalla received her BA in Biology at the Albert Dorman Honors College at New Jersey Institute of Technology, Newark, New Jersey in 2014. She is currently a third year student in the combined Doctor of Optometry and Masters program at SUNY College of Optometry. Roa works with Dr. Suresh Viswanathan to investigate the functional and structural effects of mild traumatic brain injury on retinal ganglion cells.
Advisor: Dr. Suresh Viswanathan
Emily Freeman
Emily Freeman received her B.A. in Biochemistry/Molecular Biology at Lewis & Clark College (Portland, OR). Her Thesis Advisor is Dr. Suresh Viswanathan. Emily’s research project title is “Retinal Ganglion Cell Damage in Glaucoma.” The aim of this study is to measure changes in retinal electrophysiology, specifically the photopic negative response (PhNR), as a consequence of primary open angle glaucoma. Measuring these changes and correlating them to standard automated perimetry and ocular coherence tomography, the current gold-standards of glaucoma diagnosis and management, may help us develop a more objective way of monitoring glaucomatous changes to the eye and allow for earlier diagnosis of primary open angle glaucoma.
Advisor: Dr. Suresh Viswanathan
Kathleen Hoang
Kathleen Hoang received a B. Sc (Hons.) at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. Her Thesis Advisor is Dr. Mark Rosenfield. Her research project is titled “Autonomic Innervation and Digital Eye Strain.” In today’s world, the viewing of electronic displays has become ubiquitous. However, up to 90% of individuals may experience significant ocular and visual symptoms when viewing digital screens. Previous work from our laboratory and others has shown changes in blink patterns and the position of the upper eyelid when reading from electronic displays. This study seeks to determine whether these changes are produced by variations in autonomic innervation to the eye during the course of a sustained near task. Accordingly, pupil diameter, blink rate, the vertical palpebral aperture dimension, systemic blood pressure and heart rate will be monitored during the course of a series of tasks which vary in their cognitive and visual demands. These findings may identify the physiological mechanisms underlying digital eye strain.
Advisor: Dr. Joan Portello
Jennifer Nguyen
Jennifer Nguyen received her BS in Bioengineering from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2007. She is a 3rd year student in the Doctor of Optometry program at SUNY College of Optometry and is working concurrently to complete her Masters in Vision Science. Jennifer works with Dr. Viswanathan to investigate changes in spatial contrast sensitivity function in mild traumatic brain injury. She also aims to study other effects of mild traumatic brain injury on the visual system such as temporal contrast sensitivity function and structural alterations in the retina.
Advisor: Dr. Suresh Viswanathan
Meredith Stallone
Meredith Stallone received a B.S. in Biology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her M.S. Research advisor is Dr. Tracy Nguyen. Her research project is the “Analysis of tear film proteins in subjects with dry eye disease.” The focus of this study is to characterize the expression and interaction of certain tear film proteins in subjects with dry eye compared to normal subjects
Advisor: Dr. Tracy Nguyen
Danica Yang
Danica Yang, a third year OD/MS candidate at SUNY College of Optometry, is currently conducting research under Dr. Jerome Sherman. She graduated from Barnard College with a Bachelor of Arts in Neuroscience and Behavior. Her previous research includes topographical mapping of visual attention network in humans using fMRI technology. Her current thesis, titled “Constructing a Natural History of Early-Onset Stargardt Disease Using Multimodal Imaging” investigates the early pathogenesis of Stargardt disease using SD-OCT imaging, ultra widefield AF, and cone contrast testing. The goal of the study is to identify early biomarkers of Stargardt Disease that can potentially lead to earlier diagnosis and earlier treatment of the condition
Advisor: Dr. Jerome Sherman

Class of 2019

Rita Neiu
Rita Nieu attended the University of California, Davis and received a Bachelors of Science in Genetics with minors in Psychology and Communications. She worked as a research technician in the lab of John Vogel at the USDA before enrolling in the OD/MS program at SUNY College of Optometry. In collaboration with her mentor, Dr Benavente-Perez, her research is focused on detecting changes in retinal function during myopia progression in a primate model through the use of ERG and VEP.
Advisor: Dr. Alexandra Benavente-Perez
Tatsiana Palavets
Tatsiana Palavets received her B.A. in Biological Sciences from Hunter College, CUNY. She is currently in OD/MS in program at SUNY College of Optometry. Her Masters Thesis Advisor is Dr. Mark Rosenfield, MC OPTOM, PHD. Her Research project focuses on the “Use of Blue-Blocking Filters to Reduce Digital Eye Strain.” Digital Eye Strain (DES) refers to the visual and ocular symptoms commonly experienced when viewing digital screens. The study examined the effect of a blue-blocking filter on these symptoms while reading continuously from a tablet computer for 30 minutes. In addition, ocular accommodation, pupil size, and the size of the vertical palpebral aperture were also monitored during the task. Preliminary results suggest that the blue-blocking filters do not reduce symptoms of DES.
Advisor: Dr. Mark Rosenfield
Brenda Tan
Brenda Tan graduated with a B.S. in Biology from Brown University. Her M.S. Research Advisors are Dr. Stewart Bloomfield and Dr. David Troilo. Her research project focuses on the “Attenuation of Myopic Progression Seen in a Connexin 36 Knockout Mouse Model of Myopia.” The aim of this project is threefold—first to establish a mouse model of myopia, second to examine the environmental effect of dim lighting on myopic progression and third to understand its genetic component by using a knock out model of Connexin 36. In order to perfect the mouse model and provide insight into the widespread variation in measurements amongst labs, I looked at three methods of refraction—1) on the awake and lightly restrained mouse, 2) on an awake and cyclopleged mouse and 3) on a cyclopleged and anesthetized mouse. Refraction was measured using an infrared power refractor modified by Dr. Frank Schaeffel and axial length measured using an OCT.
Advisors: Dr. Stewart Bloomfield, Dr. David Troilo
Nolan Wilson
Nolan Wilson graduated from Yale College in 2015 with a B.S. (Int.) in Chemistry. His research was towards the syntheses of two amino-sugar moieties of a cancer metabolite. Now, his research under Dr. Qasim Zaidi uses object segmentation to understand the evolutionary significance of human L- and M-cones. He has enjoyed going from the chemistry of color to the perception of color.
Advisor: Dr. Qasim Zaidi