David Apple had a vision to improve IOL technology; cataract surgical techniques and patient care throughout the world.
I am extremely proud to belong to the Apple Korps, as he liked to call his research fellows. In the early 1990s I worked with David at the Medical University of South Carolina, in Charleston. He became like my scientific father: a mentor who has shown me how to do research in this area. I owe him so much and ophthalmology has benefited from his uncountable contributions. Even major personal health problems did not stop his vision, his motivation, and his wisdom; indeed perhaps these characteristics have defeated his illness.
At the time of his death, his laboratory was in Sullivan’s Island near Charleston. In late 2011 I met with Ann Apple and sought her permission to perpetuate David’s work at a more international level and within a university, by re-locating it to Heidelberg. In spring of 2012 we moved his Lab to our University Eye Department. Through the summer we unboxed the crates and started to file and log the laboratory samples and archives.
The Apple Lab will be an international laboratory for research on intraocular ophthalmic devices, thus continuing and extending the research work initiated by David Apple. The Eye Department already houses “IVCRC” (International Vision Correction Research Centre) which was previously known as the “Heidelberg IOL and Refractive Surgery Research Group” established in 1999. Today the IVCRC is certified to DIN EN ISO 9001:2008 and is a member of the Steinbeis Research Association as well as part of the European Research Network. With the arrival of the Apple Lab, the intention is to create a laboratory and archive counterpart to the clinical research undertaken by IVCRC.
We have two sites: in South Carolina we remain ready for the receipt of device samples from US surgeons; and now in Heidelberg where we keep all of Professor Apple’s archives, historical laboratory-samples and correspondence. Heidelberg is a very appropriate location. David loved the city and visited here frequently. The Medical Faculty is the oldest in Germany: over 600 years of education and research in medicine have produced a tradition of deeply founded responsibility to tackle the huge challenges of 21st century medicine. The faculty has prepared itself for these challenges in many ways: through the establishment of scientific institutions, which act as focus points in research. This takes in the Cluster of Excellence around the city and its university in several internationally recognised research institutions, such as,
- German Cancer Research Center
- Center for Molecular Biology of Heidelberg University
- Heidelberg University Biochemistry Center
- Max-Planck-Institute for Medical Research
- The European Molecular Biology Laboratory
At the Apple Lab we have links to all of these centres of excellence. This promotes high standards in ophthalmic education and research here in Heidelberg. We look forward to bringing ophthalmic device manufacturers and ophthalmic surgeons from all over the world into this network.
It is a great honour to carry on David’s work and build upon his legacy of research. With this new laboratory we can keep his name and his spirit alive. Thank you for your interest in the Apple Lab. I hope you enjoy the website and say, on behalf of all my colleagues, we look forward to working with you.
Head of the Laboratory, Eye Department Chairman and Director of IVCRC