In honor of his outstanding achievements in teaching and research, Dr. Siegfried Wahl, Director of the ZEISS Vision Science Lab, has been appointed an honorary professor at the University of Tübingen. "The honorary professorship is a personal honor, but most importantly it is a tribute to the lab and the exceptional scientific achievements of the whole team," says Wahl.
Aalen | 14 February 2018 | ZEISS Vision Care
Since its founding in 2013, Wahl has served as Director of the ZEISS Vision Science Lab and works with two other ZEISS employees and up to 15 doctoral candidates and masters students currently representing seven different nations. Wahl played a key role in the lab's founding and setup as well as in defining its central research questions. Both the conferral of the honorary professorship and the large number of high-quality publications in renowned scientific journals, including those of the Nature Publishing Group, demonstrate that Wahl and his team have produced world-class scientific results.
Basic research and practical applications
The ZEISS Vision Science Lab is a research lab that is directly affiliated within the University of Tübingen and at the Institute for Ophthalmic Research of the Faculty of Medicine. It focuses on basic research at the interface between practical topics related to understanding how vision evolves and how images are processed in the brain as well as understanding the interaction between the eye, light and glasses. Ultimately, there is still a lot of research to do into the underlying visual processes. The University of Tübingen is one of the most renowned centers in Europe for eye research and eye health and is well-known worldwide.
ZEISS DriveSafe1 eyeglass lenses are one example of how basic research and its practical application were combined. Wahl and his team studied drivers' visual behavior and were able to use this information to determine how a pair of glasses must be modified accordingly. During this process, the team discovered that progressive or varifocal lens wearers exhibit very different visual behavior when driving. The research results were then applied directly to creating the ZEISS DriveSafe eyeglass lens design.
Wahl was born in 1968 in the town of Rechberg in Southern Germany. After competing high school, he studied physics in Ulm and completed his Ph.D. at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in Tübingen, which was at that time managed by Prof. Dr. Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard, who received the Nobel Prize of Medicine in 1995. Wahl then came to ZEISS where he worked in Group-wide strategy programs to uncover synergies between the different areas of the company. He played a key role in the founding of the ZEISS Vision Science Lab in 2013.
Wahl first encountered the neurosciences while studying physics in Ulm where Prof. Dr. Peter Fromherz gave lectures. He conducted research into the interfacing of semiconductors and nerve cells. Wahl later completed his Ph.D. in Tübingen at the department "Physical Biology" of Prof. Friedrich Bonhoeffer. Today, Bonhoeffer is one of Wahl's role models in science and research.
One of the key requirements for an honorary professorship is demonstrated excellence in teaching. Wahl gives lectures and conducts seminars on medical technology and innovations that deal with far more than just theoretical knowledge. His students form teams and select an area of focus which they pursue over the course of a year, identifying clinical problems and developing solutions. In addition to the theoretical foundation, the students develop practical competencies in project and risk management. Wahl also provides professional training, including coaching how to handle challenges in the innovation process.
Excellence in scientific research is also a requirement for an honorary professorship. In the ZEISS Vision Science Lab's second year, Wahl and his team began to publish their results in scientific journals. Today, scientific papers from Wahl and his team have been accepted by the Nature Publishing Group, one of the most esteemed scientific presses worldwide. Wahl collaborates with other respected research institutes, such as the University of California Berkeley or Hong Kong Polytechnic University. An honorary professors' full-time job is at an industrial company like ZEISS, rather than working at a university.
ZEISS Vision Science Lab
The ZEISS Vision Science Lab is fully integrated and recognized in the institutional landscape of the University of Tübingen - in terms of organization, administration and teaching. The lab was founded as part of the German Excellence Initiative known as 'Industry on Campus Professorship' sponsored by the German Federal Government and States to foster science and research at German universities. The goal of the ZEISS Vision Science Lab is to gain an understanding of the development of vision, the interaction of light with the eye and the eyeglass lens and the processing of the images in the brain. On this basis, the Lab develops new ways of providing natural, optimized vision to each individual wearer. Another item on its agenda is to research the development of vision and pathological changes to perception in order to enable as early a diagnosis as possible by using suitable measuring methods. For these patients, this could result in personalized solutions for improved vision. The cooperation with the university reflects the ambitions of the company founder and university mechanic Carl Zeiss, as well as the founder of the Carl Zeiss Foundation, Ernst Abbe. As a foundation company, ZEISS promotes science and research in the field of optics.
ZEISS is an internationally leading technology enterprise operating in the fields of optics and optoelectronics. The ZEISS Group develops, produces and distributes measuring technology, microscopes, medical technology, eyeglass lenses, camera and cinema lenses, binoculars and semiconductor manufacturing equipment. With its solutions, the company constantly advances the world of optics and helps shape technological progress. ZEISS is divided up into the four segments Research & Quality Technology, Medical Technology, Vision Care/Consumer Products and Semiconductor Manufacturing Technology. The ZEISS Group is represented in more than 40 countries and has over 50 sales and service locations, more than 30 manufacturing sites and about 25 research and development centers around the globe.
In fiscal year 2016/17 the company generated revenue approximating €5.3 billion with around 27,000 employees. Founded in 1846 in Jena, the company is headquartered in Oberkochen, Germany. Carl Zeiss AG is the strategic management holding company that manages the ZEISS Group. The company is wholly owned by the Carl Zeiss Stiftung (Carl Zeiss Foundation).
Further information at www.zeiss.com
The Vision Care business group is one of the world's leading manufacturers of eyeglass lenses and ophthalmic instruments. The business group develops and produces offerings for the entire eyeglass value chain that are distributed globally under the ZEISS brand. The business group is allocated to the Vision Care/Consumer Products segment. In fiscal year 2016/17 the segment generated revenue of €1.1 billion with around 9,770 employees.