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. 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 MyDryEye.ca and Chair for the Canadian Association of Optometry’s Section for ocular surface diseases.
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.
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.