AIER Ophthalmology Institute (AOI) was founded in Changsha, Hunan, China in 2015. The institute is an independent legal entity and is solely owned by AIER Eye Hospital Group.
Based on the AIER Eye Hospital Group's “Hundred Years of Aier” strategy and the mission of “Innovation in AIER”, the institute has established five main research programs: Stem cell and eye regenerative medicine; Mechanisms of eye disease; Genetics and precision medicine of eye disease; Big data in ophthalmology; New technology and novel materials in ophthalmology. The AEI aims to establish a novel research platform from resource development, technological innovation to clinical translation, and to make a fundamental, strategic, and forward-looking contributions to improve AIER’s capability in innovation.
Under the leadership of Director Prof. Shibo Tang, AOI has attracted many world-renowned experts as principal investigators, including CAS Academician Kwok Fai So of University of Hong Kong, Prof. Chi Pui Calvin Pang of The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Prof. Heping Xu of Queen's University Belfast, UK, Prof. Jiansu Chen of Jinan University. They are responsible for reviewing the development strategies and plans of the Institute, setting up the key research directions of AOI, as well as guiding members of the team to carry out scientific research and exploration. The AOI has also attracted many outstanding scientists through other platforms of the Aier Eye Hospital Group, such as the Academician Workstation, Postdoctoral Program and Enterprise Technology Center.
AIER Eye Hospital Group has invested more than 10 million Yuan for the infrastructure of AOI. The Institute has 1000m2 of laboratory space, with cell biology, molecular biology, ocular immunopathology, genetics, stem cell and eye regeneration medicine and other translational research platforms. At present, the AOI has state-of-the-art core facilities dedicated for eye research, including high-resolution confocal microscopy and flow cytometry, small animal retinal imaging system, electroretinogram (ERG), and fast microscopic cell/tissue isolation system, etc. Meanwhile, AOI also established the “Joint Laboratory for Visual Impairment and Rehabilitation Research” together with the Institute of Neuroscience of Chinese Academy of Science and the Southwest Hospital of Third Military Medical University. The Collaboratory will focus on basic and translational researches in non-human primate visual impairment and rehabilitation, to further lay a solid foundation for clinical treatment of human visual impairment.
As of the end of 2016, the Institute has a total of 12 research projects, including three projects funded by the National Natural Science Foundation(NSF), one funded by the Heath Commission of Hunan Province, one funded through the “555” project of Changsha High-tech District, and seven projects funded by the AIER Eye Hospital Group through the R&D scheme.
Modern research and innovation cannot be achieved without collaboration. The institute continues to broaden the channels of academic exchange and collaboration nationally and internationally. Examples of the channels include the International Retina Summit, Academic salon and scholars networking, etc. AOI has established collaborations with various research teams in the USA, UK, Australia, and Chinese Academy of Sciences，Third Military Medical University and the First Clinical College，etc.
The establishment of AOI coincides with the National "13th Five-year Plan", in which the Central Government vigorously promotes scientific research. This offers opportunities as well as challenges to AOI. We will always keep the mission of the institute and the national strategic development needs in mind. We will utilize AIER's rich clinical resources as the cornerstone to transform AOI into a platform of research innovation and a base of Ophthalmic education. AOI will strive to contribute to preventing and treating of blindness in our nation and worldwide.