David J. Apple had the vision to improve IOL technology; cataract surgical techniques and patient care throughout the world.
I feel proud to say I belong to the Apple Korps, as David liked to call his group of research fellows. In the early 1990s, I worked with him in Charleston at the Medical University of South Carolina. He became my scientific father: a mentor who taught me how to do ophthalmic research. I owe him so much and Ophthalmology has benefited from his numerous contributions. Even David’s poor health did not stop him pursuing his vision, alter his motivation or diminish his wisdom; indeed perhaps these characteristics delayed and defeated his illness.
At the time of his death, David’s laboratory was in Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina. He died in August 2011 and that autumn I met with Ann Apple and sought her permission to perpetuate David’s work at a more international level and within a university, by relocating it to Heidelberg. She kindly agreed. In the spring of 2012 we shipped it to Germany and that summer we unboxed the crates in the University Eye Department. All of Professor Apple’s archives, his records of laboratory-specimens and his correspondence, including the many letters he exchanged with Sir Harold Ridley.
Heidelberg now has a thriving international laboratory for research on intraocular devices: work which continues and extends the research that David initiated.
Since 1st March 2016, all the laboratory- and clinical-research work and the curatorial work on David’s archive materials – all of what we do is managed within one Steinbeis Research Center: The David J Apple Center for Vision Research,
The Center is part of the international Steinbeis Network of successful technology transfer groups between the sciences, academia, trade, and industry. Heidelberg provides a most appropriate location for the center. At the time of David’s death, he had secured a Humboldt visiting professorship at the University of Heidelberg. David admired the city and its university. He visited here frequently. Equal to his love of medical science David revered the history of medicine. Our Medical Faculty is the oldest in Germany: over 600 years of education and research in medicine produced a deeply founded tradition of responsibility to tackle the huge challenges facing 21st-century medicine. We meet these challenges through our links with the Cluster of Excellence in and around the city and its university, at several internationally recognized research institutions. At the Apple Lab, we have established links to these centers of excellence, promoting high standards in ophthalmic education and research here in Heidelberg.
- Heidelberg University Mathematical modeling and simulations in ophthalmology Research Group
- German Cancer Research Center
- Center for Molecular Biology of Heidelberg University
- Heidelberg University Biochemistry Center
- Max-Planck-Institute for Medical Research
- Max-Planck-Institute for Polymer Research
- The European Molecular Biology Laboratory
It is a great honour to carry on and extend David’s work and build upon his legacy of research. Our laboratory keeps David’s name and his spirit alive. We look forward to bringing together ophthalmic device manufacturers and ophthalmic surgeons from all over the world into this network.
Thank you for your interest in the Apple Lab and The David J Apple Center for Vision Research. I hope you enjoy the website and I say, on behalf of all my colleagues, we look forward to working with you.
Head of the Laboratory, Eye Department Chairman and Director of The David J Apple Center for Vision Research.