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‘Pupil Informatics: light flux sensing, non-image forming pathways and blindsight’ Sponsored by the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS)

Useful vision extends over almost a thousand million fold change in light level as does our ability to appreciate the amount of ambient light. Until recently the mechanisms capable of covering this enormous dynamic range remained poorly understood.  The discovery of melanopsin, a pigment that responds optimally at high light levels and makes a small percentage of retinal ganglion cells (ipRGCs) that project to midbrain nuclei intrinsically photosensitive, has changed our understanding of circadian clocks and light flux sensing. Much interest has been generated with numerous studies designed to establish how the signals from ipRGCs contribute to a number of non-image forming functions, including the control of the pupil light reflex response. ipRGC signals may also contribute to other important functions such as the sensing of the amount of ambient light, circadian photo-entrainment, as well as many aspects of ‘blindsight’ (i.e., our ability to use visual information in the absence of conscious perception).  Although recent findings suggest that ipRGCs play an important role in both the non-image and image-forming pathways in humans, their functional role in mediating light reflex responses and ‘blindsight’ remain unclear.

The International Pupil Colloquium meeting brings together experts in vision science with great interest in Pupil Informatics. Many aspects of the pupil response have been investigated in relation to ‘blindsight’, but the link to ipRGCs has not been studied systematically. This special symposium will be attended by many local and international experts in circadian rhythms, melanopsin and ‘blindsight’. Japanese scientists have made significant, long term contributions to research into pupil response mechanisms, ipRGCs and blindsight and will be represented at the meeting. The aim of the symposium is to enable dissemination and discussion of the latest findings in these fields. The symposium will centre on the keynote speaker, Professor Russell Foster, with contributions from Japanese, local and other international experts.


The symposium will advance our knowledge and understanding of pupil response mechanisms in relation to melanopsin and ‘blindsight’.  Equally important, the International Pupil Colloquium covers a range of topics related to vision science that are likely to lead to joint projects through international collaboration. The topics of interest include the following:


·         Role of melanopsin in the control of the pupil response

·         Novel clinical applications of Pupillometry

·         Afferent, Efferent, Refractive surgery / capsulotomy

·         Pupil in Cognitive Neuroscience

·         Special Interest Symposium on Pupil Informatics

·         New applications of stimulus-specific, cortical pupil response components

·         Pupil Responses in Non-human Species

·         Pupil pharmacology

·         Pupil in sleepiness and fatigue

·         Pupil studies in relation to disability and discomfort glare