Gerd Auffarth Gerd Auffarth Follow Jan 07, 2013 · 2 mins read
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Welcome to the David J Apple Laboratory, home of David Apple’s vision to improve intraocular lenses, cataract surgical techniques, and patient care. Today I am the Professor of Ophthalmology at Heidelberg University, and I trace my interest in ophthalmic research back to my two years of research fellowship in Prof. Apple’s lab in the USA.

Keeping David’s vision alive

I feel proud to say I belong to the Apple Korps, as David liked to call his 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 from pursuing his vision, alter his motivation, or diminish his wisdom; indeed, perhaps these characteristics delayed his illness for a while.

David Apple together with Gerd Auffarth

Transatlantic Crossing

At the time of his death in August 2011, David’s laboratory was at his home on Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina. That autumn, I visited Ann Apple, and she kindly agreed to relocate her husband’s lab to Heidelberg, to place his work at a more international level and within a university. In the spring of 2012, we shipped the Lab to Germany. That summer, we unpacked the crates at a room in the Eye Department. All of Professor Apple’s archives are here, his records of laboratory-specimens and his correspondence, including the many letters he exchanged with Sir Harold Ridley.


This archive is now housed in a thriving international laboratory for research work on intraocular devices that David initiated. As a location, Heidelberg is most appropriate as, toward the end of his life, David had secured a Humboldt visiting professorship at the university he so admired. 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 have produced a deeply founded tradition of responsibility to tackle the many challenges facing medicine in the 21st-century.

It is a great honour for me to build upon his legacy, carry on and extend David’s work. Thus we will keep 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.

I hope you enjoy visiting the website and I say, on behalf of all my colleagues, we look forward to working with you.

Gerd Auffarth
Written by Gerd Auffarth Follow
Prof. Dr. med. Gerd U. Auffarth MD, FEBO is the Head of the Laboratory, Eye Department Chairman and Director of The David J Apple Center for Vision Research.