Etty Bitton (Université de Montréal)

Dr. Bitton completed her Optometry degree at the University of Waterloo (1988), followed by a Master’s in Physiological Optics (1994) from the Université de Montréal (Montreal, Canada) in the area of tear film clinical physiology and its relevance in patients exhibiting dry eye. She presently holds the rank of Associate professor, she is the Director of the Externship Program as well as the Director of the Dry Eye Clinic which was established in 2012. In 2015, Dr. Bitton was invited by the Tear Film Ocular Society (TFOS) to participate in the TFOSDEWSII, a global initiate to redefine dry eye, on the Communication and Education Sub-committee, She represents this organization as one of two Ambassadors for Canada.

In 2017 Dr Bitton received the Lester B. Janoff Memorial Award from the Association of Optometric Contact Lens Educators (AOCLE) for excellence in teaching, clinical work and publication as well as the Dr. Mae Booth-Jones Award for Mentorship and Education, from Women in Optometry Theia Awards.

Dr. Bitton is a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry and the British Contact Lens Association as well as a member of several regional and international professional organizations. Her research interests include tear film evaluation, dry eye and its effect on contact lens wear.

Dr. Barbara Caffery (Toronto Eye Care)

Dr. Caffery completed her Optometry degree at The New England College of Optometry, and her PhD in Vision Science at the University of Waterloo. She currently practices at three clinics: Toronto Eye Care, the Multidisciplinary Sjogren’s Syndrome Clinic that is a part of the University Health Network and the specialty contact lens clinic at the Kensington Eye Institute. Her areas of expertise are contact lenses and dry eye disease, particularly as it is expressed in Sjogren’s syndrome. She has published widely in these areas. Most recently she was invited by the Tear Film and Ocular Surface Society (TFOS) to participate as a member of the Definition and Classification Committee of the TFOSDEWSII global initiative in dry eye disease.

Dr. Caffery serves on the medical advisory board of the Sjogren’s Society of Canada. She is the President-elect of the American Academy of Optometry and will take over the Presidency in November of 2018.

Maud Gorbet (University of Waterloo)

Maud is an associate professor in the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Waterloo and is cross-appointed with the School of Optometry. She also works in collaboration with the Centre for Ocular Research & Education. A bio-engineer in training, she obtained her PhD in chemical engineering at the University of Toronto and worked in industry until 2007. Her research focuses on understanding cell interactions and inflammatory response with ophthalmic materials using both in vitro and ex vivo models. Part of her research program involves the development of better in vitro models and tools to assess biocompatibility.

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Richard Maharaj (York-Finch Ophthalmology, Toronto)

Dr. Richard Maharaj is the Clinic Director at eyeLABS Optometry and Center for Ocular Surface Disease and Senior Optometrist at York-Finch Ophthalmology, Toronto. Dr. Maharaj is a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry and is a Clinical Adjunct Faculty at the University of Waterloo School of Optometry. He continues to develop new techniques and devices for non-surgical clinical care of the meibomian glands and ocular surface. He is an international speaker on primary management of eye diseases, a published author on ocular surface disease, current Board Editor for Journal of Dry Eye Disease, Chief Learning Officer of and Chair for the Canadian Association of Optometry’s Section for ocular surface diseases.

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Carolyn Ren (University of Waterloo)

Dr. Ren is a professor of Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering at the University of Waterloo (UW) and holds the Canada Research Chair in Droplet Microfluidics and Lab-on-a-Chip Technology at UW. She is directing Waterloo Microfluidics Laboratory focusing on advancing fundamental knowledge of microfluidics and developing Lab-on-a-Chip technologies which have significant impact on a wide range of applications. Examples of her research applications span from material synthesis, to protein separation, single cell analysis and water quality sensing. Dr. Ren has received several awards from the engineering and research community, including: being recognized as one of 20 leading innovators in Women of Innovation, appointment as Fellow of the Canadian Society of Mechanical Engineering, and an Early Research Award from the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation.

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Heather Sheardown (McMaster University)

Heather Sheardown is a Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering  at McMaster University, with a cross appointment to the Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine. She also has an adjunct appointment with the School of Optometry at the University of Waterloo. She holds a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Ophthalmic Biomaterials and Drug Delivery and has published more than 140 peer reviewed papers on this subject. She is currently the Scientific Director of C20/20, an ORF funded incubator aimed at the commercialization of ophthalmic biotechnologies. Sheardown was previously the Scientific Director of the 20/20 NSERC Ophthalmic Materials Research Network which brought together 12 researchers and more than 10 companies aimed at the early stage development of novel materials based treatments for ophthalmic conditions. Sheardown is the Associate Director of Biomedical Engineering and Advanced Manufacturing (BEAM), a McMaster partnership with the Fraunhofer IZI which partners with companies for incubation and commercialization of cell based therapies, diagnostics and biomaterials. She holds 18 patents or provisional patents and is currently the Chief Scientific Officer of 20/20 OptimEyes, a McMaster based spin out focused on developing and commercializing a micelle based technology developed in her laboratory. She runs a large and vibrant research group with more than 10 post doctoral fellows, and graduate students.

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Evelyn Yim (University of Waterloo)

Evelyn Yim joined the Department of Chemical Engineering as Associate Professor at the University of Waterloo in 2016. Between 2007 and 2015 Evelyn worked in Singapore, where she held a joint appointment from the National University of Singapore, as faculty in the departments of Biomedical Engineering and Surgery, and the Mechanobiology Institute Singapore as a principle investigator studying how chemical and biomechanical cues influence stem cell behavior. Experienced with nanofabrication technologies and stem cell culture, Evelyn and her group are interested to apply the knowledge biomaterial- cell interaction to direct stem cell differentiation, and to engineer biomaterials to deliver biologics for regeneration and tissue engineering, specifically for corneal, vascular and neural applications. Evelyn is one of the leading researchers studying the use of synthetic materials for regulate stem cell behavior and differentiation, and related applications in tissue engineering.

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