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STEM Cafe examines macular degeneration

Published: Monday, Sept. 16, 2013 9:53 a.m. CDT

Macular degeneration, a common eye disease that affects the retina, is the leading cause of blindness in Americans older than 50. Scientists at Northern Illinois University are at the forefront of research on the human retina and are seeking new treatment to protect and preserve vision.

At 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, NIU STEM Outreach invites the community to meet one of these scientists and learn more about eye health at STEM Cafe’s latest event, “For Your Eyes Only: Part 2 – The Retina.” This free event will take place at Eduardo’s Mexican Restaurant, 214 E. Lincoln Highway in DeKalb. Food and drinks are available for purchase from Eduardo’s.

Elizabeth Gaillard, professor in the department of chemistry and biochemistry and biological sciences, will talk about the latest scientific perspectives on macular degeneration, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy. She also will explain some of the newest developments in vision restoration like retinal implants and stem cell technology.

This event is one of NIU’s monthly STEM Cafes, where community members can hear a brief, informal talk on cutting-edge research in science, technology, engineering and math and then get their questions answered by STEM experts.

STEM Outreach also is making plans for its annual celebration of science, technology, engineering and math, STEMfest, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 19 at NIU’s Convocation Center. More than 50 NIU departments and 400 students will join regional corporations, museums, educators and national labs to present hundreds of fun, hands-on activities and competitions to interest learners of all ages.

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