Meet the Competitors
Jovi Wong MD, MSc, DPhil
Ophthalmology resident, University of Toronto
Project Title: Using a smartphone to diagnose eye disease earlier
Jovi Wong is currently completing her Ophthalmology residency at the University of Toronto. Prior to starting her medical degree, Jovi completed a PhD at the University of Oxford where she studied the light sensing properties of retinal cells.
Jovi is trying to increase access to eye screening by developing a eye exam that can be done through your smartphone. 75% of all vision loss and blindness can be prevented with early screening and timely treatment. Retinal examination through a technique called fundoscopy is the main method for screening, diagnosing and monitoring the leading causes of blindness: age-related macular degeneration (AMD), diabetic retinopathy (DR), and glaucoma. Visualizing the fundus is challenging without specialized equipment. In this project, Jovi is combining a smartphone fundoscope and artificial intelligence that could allow health care workers in rural, remote or underserved areas to more easily diagnose eye disease in order to prevent unnecessary vision loss.
Stephan Ong Tone, MDCM, PhD, FRCSC
Clinician Scientist, Assistant Professor, Sunnybrook Research Institute
Project title: Developing a new therapy to improve success of corneal transplantation
Stephan is developing an innovative therapy for corneal diseases. Corneal damage caused by infection or trauma is an important cause of vision loss in Canada. Currently the only treatment that can restore vision is corneal transplantation which unfortunately has its own risks of causing vision loss. There is therefore a significant need for new treatments. Stephan will be testing if vesicles gathered from placental cells can improve transplantation by reducing scarring and the risk of rejection.
Stephan has recently joined the staff at Sunnybrook Research Institute as a clinician scientist and assistant professor. He completed a joint medical degree and PhD at McGill University and after his Ophthalmology residency carried out a fellowship at Harvard.
Justin Belair-Hickey PhD Candidate
PhD candidate, University of Toronto
Project Title: Creating a Human Macula in a Dish
Justin’s research is trying to advance our understanding of stem cells and cell therapy for retinal degeneration. Diseases like age related macular degeneration or Stargardts disease leads to the loss of central, detailed vision due to damage to cells in a small portion of the retina called the macula. Justin is trying to recreate macular development in the laboratory with the hope that understanding this process will provide crucial knowledge that allows researchers to more efficiently produce retinal cells for stem cell therapy and transplantation.
Justin is currently completing his PhD at the University of Toronto in the laboratory of Dr. Derek van der Kooy.
Etienne Benard-Seguin M.D. &
Abdullah Al-Ani MD-PhD Candidate
Etienne is an MD resident, University of Calgary
Abdullah is a PhD candidate, University of Calgary
Project Title: Using artificial intelligence to diagnose optic neuritis more accurately
Etienne and Abdullah are trying to improve the diagnosis of optic neuritis (ON) allowing more accurate and quicker treatment. ON is caused by inflammation of the optic nerve. It causes vision loss which can usually be treated if diagnosed accurately. Etienne and Abdullah are testing a new low-cost and accessible software based on artificial intelligence modelling. They hope this will lower costs and accessible diagnostic will lead to more consistent and robust diagnosis leading to better outcomes for patients with ON.
Etienne is doing his residency in Ophthalmology and Abdullah is currently completing a joint medical degree and PhD. Both are at the University of Calgary.
Dr. Al Ulsifer
CEO & Chairman of the Board, FYidoctors
Dr. Michel Cayouette
Researcher; Chair, FBC Scientific Advisory Board; VP, Research and Academic Affairs, Institut de Recherches Cliniques de Montréal (IRCM); Professor, University of Montréal
Chair, FBC Executive Committee; RBC Lawyer
A distinguished group of FBC supporters contributing their voice to award early career vision researchers.
- Frank Gleeson, President & CEO, Satellos Bioscience Inc
- Sharon Colle, Past President & CEO, Fighting Blindness Canada
- Malcom Hunter, President, Deeley Group Limited
- Andrew Burke, Partner representing Stewart McKelvey
- Gilbert Pommepuy
- The John C. and Sally Horsfall Eaton Foundation
- James Reeve
- Mark Reeve
- Ken Zeise, Dominion Group Benefits
- Dr. Fatimah Gilani, representing Bochner Eye Institute
- The Rose Family
- Rob Simmons
Presenter of People’s Choice Award