Genius by Committee

SriniVas Sadda, MD

Director, Artificial Intelligence
Professor of Ophthalmology, UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine

In my three years as a member of the program committee for the retina section of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, I’ve found the conventional wisdom that committee work kills inspired ideas seriously errant. I loved the work on behalf of ARVO, and as my term draws to a close, I’d like to reflect for a moment on what I found profoundly meaningful in the work — not just for me — but for science.

The primary duty of those of us who serve on this committee is the review of submitted abstracts for each year’s annual conference.
For the retina (RE) section – the largest of the ARVO sections – that’s about 1200 abstracts a year. We read, evaluate, rank and ultimately decide which of our colleagues in vision research will be among the 10 percent awarded time to make an oral presentation at our annual conference, and which research will be featured on posters.

This review process is a hugely instructive exercise, as it provides an opportunity to understand the current scope of work in the field internationally.
Much of the research is complementary. But we also see research that yields opposite results. Acknowledging, connecting and juxtaposing those conflicting results that we all can review during the conference in such a graphic way can matter greatly.

When we gather in Seattle this year and researchers stand with their work in the exhibit hall, it’s an opportunity to engage with colleagues from around the world about the work they are putting forward. Collaborations can be sparked and fostered in these encounters. For me, those conversations are essential to the most valuable outcomes: shared thinking to move our approaches to conquering eye disease forward.

Every day I am immersed in the work we do at Doheny to enhance eye health. I have deeply enjoyed my work with AVRO, which puts it all in global context.

I look forward to seeing many of you in Seattle, and I hope you will pursue conversations that challenge your thinking and keep you inspired for another year.


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