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Volume 23, Number 3  |  June 2015

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Dr. Sherif El-Defrawy
Message from the Chair

June brings graduations of all sorts.  Here in our department it is a time to celebrate our PGY5's final year of residency. Also it is the time for many Fellows to celebrate the completion of their Fellowship programme.  An end, but also the beginning.  

We have eight residents graduating this year, the largest ophthalmology graduating class to date. All are talented and dedicated individuals and we are proud of their academic achievements and the added unique contribution each has brought to the department.

Our residency program is one of the foundations of the department and may be the most important work we accomplish. The faculty embrace the education of our trainees with enthusiasm and take pride in their successes. With pleasure, we witness them bring to fruition the knowledge, skills and confidence gained as they step out into practice, inspired and eager to make a difference.

It is largely thanks to our programme director, Dr. John Lloyd, and his dedicated team that our residency programme is as good as it is. These physicians work tirelessly to enhance and improve the quality of our trainees’ educational experience introducing changes to refine and innovate the training programme. Dr. Hall Chew  and his committee’s  excellent processes of selection, Dr. David Yan’s TORIC Course, which begins the educational program for all of the ophthalmology residents in the country, Dr. Clara Chan’s excellent pre-surgery training curriculum, Dr. Louis Giavedoni’s oversight of exams and assessmments, Dr. John Lloyd’s innovations for the block teaching; these are all examples of how our programme continues to improve.

Congratulations to our graduating residents and fellows. I know I can speak for the entire department when I say that it has been a great pleasure to have you with us and we’re very proud of you.

Sherif El-Defrawy
Chair, Department of Ophthalmology & Vision Sciences
University of Toronto

Featured in this issue:

Spotlight on our Faculty

Behind the Science: DOVS researcher

Dr. Rod Bremner, Professor

Senior Investigator at Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Resesarch Institute
Mount Sinai Hospital


Hailing from Buckie, a small fishing town on the North East coast of Scotland, Dr. Rod Bremner did his undergraduate training in biochemistry at Aberdeen University and a PhD at the Beaston Institute for Cancer Research in Glasgow. During his graduate studies, he became intrigued by the RB1 gene and applied to do post-doctoral training with Robert Phillips and Brenda Gallie at SickKids. In 1994, he moved to Toronto Western Research Institute and is now a senior investigator at the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute at Mount Sinai Hospital. His lab is studying the molecular networks—specifically the RB tumor-suppressor pathway—that drive the early stages of cancer in retinoblastoma and other cancers. Dr. Bremner’s group developed one of the first knockout models to study inheritable retinoblastoma.

Read more



Report from Residents

Residents, fellows, and staff pulled up their sleeves to participate in the ORBIS Plane Pull for Sight for the 4th year running.  Using sheer force of will, the team pulled a 757 cargo plane across the tarmac and raised over $2000!  Special thank you to everyone who supported the event, and to Dr. El-Defrawy, Amandeep Rai (PGY3), and Alex Kaplan (PGY2) for organizing!  

In a similarly impressive fashion, our social representatives, Harleen Bedi and Victoria Leung (PGY1s) organized an Escape Room team-building event, where residents were tasked with an hour long series of mysteries and puzzles that they had to solve in order to get out of a locked room.  The team succeeded with flying colours, scoring in the top 2 percentile.

Finally, Alaa Alali, Ziad Butty, Hannah Chiu, Cindy Lam, Patrick Yang (PGY4s), and Nataly Pesin (PGY5) presented their quality improvement projects at grand rounds.  Several of the projects were themed towards the performance of the Emergency Department in eye related emergencies, including the recognition of giant cell arteritis, accuracy of tonometry measurements, and the use of ocular ultrasound for detecting retinal detachments. 

As we head into the summer months and the start of a new resident year, we would like to thank all of our teachers and staff for a wonderful year, and wish our PGY5s the best of luck in their future endeavour!

2015 TORIC Welcome Party

Upcoming Events

June 2015

2015 Grant Writing Workshop
Thursday, June 18, 2015, 9:30am - 2:00pm
Medical Science Building, Room 3153
1 King's College Circle

DOVS Alumni Reception at COS
Friday, June 19, 2015
Victoria Conference Centre
Victoria, British Columbia

Click here for more details

Graduation Dinner
Thursday, June 25, 2015
Hart House
7 Hart House Circle
Toronto, Ontario

2015 DOVS Fellows Welcome Reception
Thursday, July 30, 2015
Faculty Club
41 Willcocks Street
Toronto, Ontario

Resident Retreat
The annual Resident Retreat has been booked for September 11-13, 2015 in Halliburton, Ontario. During the academic year, our residents are spread across a number of hospitals in the GTA, so this event has really helped create cohesion among the group. The annual Resident Retreat was started 4 years ago, and has quickly become the most anticipated event for our trainees. Thanks to the department for their generous support!
Resident exams: Another round of annual exams have come to an end, and the residents made sure to make a celebration of it!

Full Upcoming Calendar and Events

Honours and Awards

Mauricio Perez VelasquezDr. Mauricio A. Perez Velasquez voted to The Ophthalmologist's Top 40 Under 40 List

Congratulations to Dr. Mauricio A. Perez Velasquez for being voted to The Ophthalmologist's Top 40 Under 40 List. Dr. Perez is a graduating clinical fellow in Cornea, External Diseases, and Refractive Surgery, under Drs. Slomovic and Rootman.
A Chilean ophthalmologist, Mauricio is currently finishing his fourth year of subspecialty training (two years with DOVS). A surgical instructor for ASCRS in iris suturing, iris prostheses and anterior vitrectomy, he has contributed multiple papers in the field of anterior segment, and has received “Winner of the Film Festival” at ASCS in 2013 and “Best of Show” at AAO in 2012. He has served as an author for many books on cornea and anterior segment surgery, including the upcoming newest edition of the Krachmer Cornea Book. In case that wasn't enough, Mauricio speaks four languages fluently and is an accomplished musician.

For more details, please visit The Ophthalmolgist website.

Dr. Neeru Gupta won the 2015 Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce Female Professional of the Year Award


On Saturday June 6th, 2015, Dr. Neeru Gupta was honoured with the 2015 Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce Female Professional of the Year Award. The gala event took place at the Convention Centre, where it was officially announced and presented by Mayor John Tory.  Dr. Gupta was away in Hong Kong at the World Glaucoma Congress and could not attend the event in person. Her son Narain accepted the award on her behalf.  Congratulations to Dr. Neeru Gupta on winning this prestigious award.

TWRI Research Day 2015

Dr. Edward Moss won 1st place in Platform Presentations 
(Postdoctoral Fellow Category) in TWRI 15th Annual Research Day

Supervisors: Dr. Graham Trope & Yvonne Buys
Title: A Randomized Controlled Trial to Determine the Effect of Inhaled Corticosteroid on Intraocular Pressure in Open-Angle Glaucoma and Ocular Hypertension

Photo Credit: UHN
(Dr. Moss - Far right in the picture)



Congratulations to Dr. Paul Sanghera and his family on the birth of baby Brant Nasseb Deo Sanghera on May 24, 2015. The Sangheras are very excited with this new addition to their family.


In Memoriam

Anne Marchant Wolf (1927-2015)


Mrs. Anne Wolf - Eye Bank Manager from 1955-1992 passed away on June 9, 2015.

The concept of a Toronto eye bank arose during a discussion between Col. E.A. Baker and Professor A.J. Elliot in May 1950.  Its first medical director was Dr. Hugh Ormsby, who obtained funding from the federal health department in 1955 and established research programs in corneal transplantation under Dr. Alfred Elliot. Anne Wolf became the Eye Bank Manager in 1955, making a significant contribution to the eye donor system during her career of 37 years. She was awarded the Order of Canada in 2005 as a result of her dedicated work for the Eye Bank to increase eye donations as well as organ donations.

Anne Wolf  is survived by three children, and seven devoted grandchildren and many nieces, nephews and cousins.


Recent Publications

Recent publications by DOVS Faculty, Staff, Residents and Fellows

May 2015

Arjmand P, Chan TY, Ahmed II. Transscleral suture fixation following recurrent toric intraocular lens rotation. J Cataract Refract Surg. 2015 May 6.

Avni-Zauberman N, Rootman DS. Cross-linking and intracornea ring segments-review of the literature. Eye Contact Lens 2015; May 19.

Ballios BG, Cooke MJ, Donaldson L, Coles BL, Morshead CM, van der Kooy D, Shoichet MS. A hyaluronan-based injectable hydrogel improves the survival and integration of stem cell progeny following transplantation. Stem Cell Reports. 2015 May 13.

Belliveau MJ, Odashiro AN, Harvey JT. Yellow-orange palpebral spots. Ophthalmology. 2015 May 20.

Bourgault S, Baril C, Vincent A, Héon E, Ali A, MacDonald I, Lueder GT, Colleaux KM, Laliberté I. Retinal degeneration in autoimmune polyglandular syndrome type 1: a case series. Br J Ophthalmol. 2015 Apr 29.

Burnett HF, Lambley R, West SK, Ungar WJ, Mireskandari K. Cost-effectiveness analysis of clinic-based chloral hydrate sedation versus general anaesthesia for paediatric ophthalmological procedures. Br J Ophthalmol. 2015 May 6.

Dimaras H. Retinoblastoma genetics in India: From research to implementation. Indian J Ophthalmol. 2015;63:219-26.
Jacobson SG, Cideciyan AV, Roman AJ, Sumaroka A, Schwartz SB, Heon E, Hauswirth WW. Improvement and decline in vision with gene therapy in childhood blindness. N Engl J Med. 2015;372:1920-6.

Kerr EN, Bhan A, Héon E. Exploration of the cognitive, adaptive and behavioral functioning of patients affected with Bardet-Biedl syndrome (BBS). Clin Genet. 2015 May 19.

Mireskandari K, Schofield J, Cotesta M, Stephens D, Kraft SP. Achieving postoperative target range increases success of strabismus surgery in adults: a case for adjustable sutures? Br J Ophthalmol. 2015 May 19.

Schlenker MB, Trope GE, Buys YM. Comparison of United States and Canadian glaucoma medication costs and price change from 2006 to 2013. J Ophthalmol. 2015 April 1.

Shabanzadeh AP, Tassew NG, Szydlowska K, Tymianski M, Banerjee P, Vigouroux RJ, Eubanks JH, Huang L, Geraerts M, Koeberle PD, Mueller BK, Monnier PP. Uncoupling Neogenin association with lipid rafts promotes neuronal survival and functional recovery after stroke. Cell Death Dis. 2015 May 7;6:e1744.

Soliman SE, Dimaras H, Souka AA, Ashry MH, Gallie BL. Socioeconomic and psychological impact of treatment for unilateral intraocular retinoblastoma. J Fr Ophtalmol. 2015 May 13.

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