Local Organizing Committee
Caroline Klaver, President
Caroline Klaver (Dubbeldam, 1967) studied medicine in Rotterdam, where she obtained her PhD cum laude. She then conducted research at two American universities, before returning in 2003. Klaver is now professor of epidemiology and genetics of eye diseases and ophthalmologist at Erasmus MC, where she conducts extensive research into the role of genes and the environment in the development of myopia (nearsightedness). For her research she has received various prizes and grants, such as the Ammodo KNAW Award and an NWO VICI grant.
Virginie Verhoeven, Secretary
Assistant Professor, Ophthalmology and Clinical genetics (physician)
After Virginie Verhoeven obtained her medical degree at the University of Utrecht she was affiliated at the renowned Singapore Eye Research Institute, where she worked on gene-environment interactions in myopia development. She took her doctor’s degree cum laude on genetic and epidemiologic studies on myopia. Since 2014, she is working as a resident in Clinical Genetics and as a post-doc ophthalmogenetics in the group of prof. dr. Caroline Klaver. Now she is also focusing on Mendelian eye diseases, e.g. IRDs and congenital eye anomalies microphthalmia / anophtalmia / coloboma. In 2016 she received an NWO Veni grant for genetic studies on high myopia.
Jan Roelof Polling, Treasurer
Post-doc, Ophthalmology and Epidemiology (orthoptist)
Jan Roelof (JR) Polling graduated as an orthoptist in 1998 and is currently employed at the Erasmus MC and the faculty for optometry and orthoptics at the University op Applied Sciences in Utrecht, the Netherlands. In 2021 he finished his PhD thesis on development and treatment of pediatric refractive error. JR is elected president of the International Orthoptic Association (IOA). In his clinical work he practices as an orthoptist and holds a senior position in the Rotterdam Myopia Control Clinic at Erasmus MC.
Magda Meester-Smoor, Trustee
Assistant Professor Ophthalmology and Genetic epidemiology
Magda Meester is postdoc in the Erasmus University Medical Center Eye-Epidemiology research group. She is a molecular biologist by training and obtained her PhD for studying transcription factors related to a specific translocation that causes leukemia. She switched to the field of ophthalmology in 2011 where she has various research projects. Furthermore, she is involved in grant writing, setting up clinical trials for myopia, and organizing national and international meetings. She co-supervises several PhD students. In 2019 she received a grant from the Bayer Global Ophthalmology Awards Program (GOAP).
Willem Tideman, Trustee
Post-doc, Ophthalmology and Genetic epidemiology (physician)
Willem Tideman graduated in 2012 as a medical doctor from the University of Groningen. Since 2013 he has been working as a PhD student in myopia in the department of Ophthalmology and Epidemiology at the Erasmus Medical Center under supervision of prof. dr. C.C.W. Klaver. He conducted his study in the population based birth cohort study Generation R. In this study, children born in Rotterdam, are examined at various ages during their growing up life. Furthermore he used data of the cohort of the Rotterdam Study, the Myopia study and within the Consortium of Refractive Error and Myopia (CREAM). During his PhD he completed the master of science in Genetic Epidemiology at the Netherlands Institute of Heath Science (NIHES). He defended his thesis “The Causes and Consequnces of Childhood myopia” in February 2019. In his thesis he looked at environmental and genetic risk factors for myopia, axial length and axial length growth. He developed growth curves to monitor myopia progression in children.
After his PhD, since 2017, Willem is an Ophthalmology resident in the Erasmus MC, where he is also involved in the myopia clinic. For his research he uses data from Generation R study, the Drentse Refractive Error and Myopia (DREAM) Study and of the CREAM consortium. He is member of the International Myopia Institute. He will finished his Ophthalmology residency Erasmus MC and is currently working at Martini Hospital in Groningen.
PHD candidate, Ophthalmology and Epidemiology (physician)
Sander Kneepkens graduated in 2021 as a medical doctor from the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Since graduating he has been working as a PhD student in myopia in the department of Ophthalmology and Epidemiology at the Erasmus Medical Center under supervision of prof. dr. C.C.W. Klaver. In his thesis he will focus on environmental risk factors for myopia for teens and adolescents, such as smartphone use, time spent on near work and time spent outside. For this he will use the data from the population based birth cohort study Generation R. In this study, children born in Rotterdam, are examined at various ages.
Kübra Liman graduated as an optometrist in 2018. After her graduation she started working at the Erasmus MC on the department of ophthalmology. Beside her clinical work she also got involved in several trials including trials about myopia. In 2022 she joined the group of prof. dr Caroline Klaver to focus more on the research about myopia. Now she is coordinating myopia studies in the department of Eye-Epidemiology.