ARVONews Fall 2016

In the spotlight

Five members in five minutes Collaborating on research projects: Members share what works best when communicating with researchers in other countries Haiyan Gong, MD, PhD, FARVO Professor of Ophthalmology, Anatomy and Neurobiology Boston University School of Medicine Boston, Mass., U.S.

and your organization; b) engage in more thought and action than you would for usual on-site communications, as interactions are not typically face-to-face and affect your ability to convey emotion, urgency, business and cultural values; and c) ensure all parties work toward the ‘common goal.’ “Also, act quickly to organize teams at both ends, nominate spokespeople if necessary and estab- lish multiple channels of communication to build relationships between individuals and groups. Other key elements are to have empathy for partners’ needs and create transparency to build trust.” Juana Gallar Martinez, MD, PhD, FARVO Assistant Professor of the Department of Physiology Universidad Miguel Hernandez-CSIC Alicante, Spain “Active and effective communication is very important in collaborative research projects. It does not matter if the partners are across the hall or on the other side of Earth. Luckily, in our case, we have a common language, the technology communication tools, such as email (the core tool used as the official communication channel) and internet video conferencing (which is efficient when discussing many topics, although the time difference is an issue; more casual and pleasant than writing/reading profuse emails and tediously waiting for a reply). We also use instant communication apps for short updates and cloud storage systems to share files. Nevertheless, nothing substitutes the occasional face-to-face meetings where, besides discussing the project, we build healthy interpersonal relationships crucial for the eventual success of the team effort.” Pharmacological and Botanical Studies Center, The National Scientific and Technical Research Council Buenos Aires, Argentina “Having the opportunity to attend the ARVO Annual Meeting and talk in person with one’s collaborators is especially useful. In the time between meetings, exchanging emails with ideas, methodology and results is my best practice to ensure open communication, building of relationships and achieving high quality research.” Damian Dorfman, MD Postdoctoral fellow

“I’ve recently been involved in a collaboration with a researcher from a developing country funded by the ARVO Foundation. Communicating and networking through the ARVO Annual Meetings are good ways to find opportunities for collaborations. Two researchers do not need to be studying in the same research field to form a good collaboration. Junior researchers could benefit from the experience, expertise and lab resources of senior researchers. My suggestion is that researchers should not hesitate to reach out to other ARVO members for help and advice.” William K. Stell, MD, PhD, FARVO Professor, Departments of Cell Biology & Anatomy, Surgery Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary Calgary, AB, Canada “Global collaboration is essential; disease knows no boundaries, and answers may be found anywhere. International collaborations are like others in some ways, but unique in other ways. Be aware that research teams may operate differently, and what constitutes ‘good’ research may be understood differently elsewhere. Make expectations explicit: who will do what; how will individuals be recognized; will collaboration extend beyond meeting immediate needs? Listen! Understand the collaborator’s needs — such as deadlines to publish, securing a position, being promoted or applying for research funding. Finally, expect to give more than you receive … and relish every moment of it.” Padmaja Sankaridurg, BOptom, MIP, PhD Associate Professor and Program Leader – Myopia; Manager, Intellectual Property Brien Holden Vision Institute, University of New South Wales Sydney, NSW, Australia “When communicating with distant collaborators take care to a) create a positive image of yourself

Haiyan Gong, MD, PhD, FARVO

William K. Stell, MD, PhD, FARVO

Padmaja Sankaridurg, BOptom, MIP, PhD

Juana Gallar Martinez, MD, PhD, FARVO

Damian Dorfman, MD | ARVONews Fall 2016 | 6

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