Graduate Student Opportunities
The Vision Science Program at the School of Optometry, University of
Waterloo offers a diverse background of vision science research such as
anatomy, physiology, neurophysiology, optics, visual psychophysics,
perception, ocular pathology, toxicology, epidemiology, development of
clinical methods for the assessment of vision, etc.
To determine your eligibility for the MSc/PhD degrees in Vision Science
please refer to the Graduate Program information page.
The following research faculty members are currently looking for graduate
students at the MSc or PhD level for research positions within their
∑ ∑ Dr. William Bobier
Dr. Bobier's research has considered the reciprocity between the optical
properties of the eye (refractive error), ocular focus (accommodation) and
alignment (vergence). Investigations have focussed on designs and
applications of instrumentaion for the measurement of refractive error;
studies pertaining to ocular alignment and ocular focus and studies dealing
with large population investigations of refractive error measurements in
infants and children.
∑ ∑ Dr. Melanie Campbell
The research in my lab centres on the optical quality on the retina of the
eye. We investigate the fundemental factors limiting the quality of the
optical image, the effects of these limitations on vision and visual
development, optical quality during growth and following refractive
surgeries and the effect of the optics of the eye on diagnostic and
therapeutic instruments which image structures at the rear of the eye.
We are recruiting M.Sc. and Ph.D. students and postdoctoral fellows,
preferrably with some training in visual optics, physics or engineering.
Experimental and theoretical projects are available, answering fubdemental
and applied questions.
∑ ∑ Centre for Contact Lens Research (CCLR)
The Centre for Contact Lens Research (CCLR) is continuously looking for
suitably qualified candidates to conduct contact lens research at the
Post-Graduate level, at both PhD and MSc levels. The CCLR studies a wide
variety of topics related to the eye, the ocular response to contact lens
wear, contact lens materials and contact lens care products. The CCLR has
laboratory facilities for studying ocular physiology, visual performance
and psychophysical phenomena associated with contact lens use as well as
contact lens wettability and deposition. Collaboration with faculty within
the School of Optometry and other University of Waterloo departments such
as Chemical Engineering, Chemistry, Systems Design Engineering and Physics
is intended to provide applicants with an ability to work with several
Current research areas include: Extended wear of contact lenses Presbyopic
contact lens options The tear film, corneal and epithelial thickness
Imaging and digitizing ocular features Corneal and conjunctival sensitivity
The symptomology of contact lens wear Contact lens wettability and
deposition Of particular appeal are those candidates who have an interest
in the areas of image analysis, biochemistry, biomedical engineering and
optics. A degree in optometry or ophthalmology would be advantageous for
such applicants, but is not essential. For further information please
contact: Dr. Desmond Fonn
Dr. Lyndon Jones or
Dr. Trefford Simpson
∑ ∑ Dr. John Flanagan
∑ ∑ Dr. Christopher Hudson
Dr. Hudsonís research aims: (i) to increase our understanding of the
patho-physiological processes underlying the development of retinal
disease; and (ii) to improve the clinical monitoring of retinal disease.
Much of this work is centred on macular edema, a sight-threatening
complication of diabetes. Current work focuses: (i) on establishing the
natural history of diabetic macular edema using clinical techniques, laser
Doppler retinal capillary blood flow, psychophysical assessment of the
short-wavelength sensitive pathway and objective measurements of retinal
thickness; and (ii) on determining the impact of blood oxygenation, plasma
glucose and insulin levels upon retinal capillary blood flow, retinal
sensitivity and retinal thickness. The research is undertaken within the
Multi-Disciplinary Laboratory for the Research of Sight-Threatening
Diabetic Retinopathy based at the Toronto Western Hospital, Toronto and in
the School of Optometry, Waterloo. It is anticipated that the research will
lead to a new classification of early macular edema in people with diabetes.
∑ ∑ Dr. Natalie Hutchings
∑ ∑ Dr. Elizabeth Irving
Dr. Irving's research interests are in the natural development of the eye
and visual system and the capacity for adaptation of the eye and visual
system which may occur as a result of daily living, experimental
manipulation, disease or the treatment of disease. At present I have
investigations in two main areas, 1) refractive development and
experimental ametropia including sign detection, fluid dynamics, and
mechanism localization and 2) eye movement development in health and disease.
∑ ∑ Dr. Irving's Lab Page
∑ ∑ Dr. Susan Leat
Dr. Leat's research interests are in two main areas; low vision and
pediatric optometry. InN the field of low vision, she studie the impact of
low vision on functional performance and quality of life. They have studied
the reading process in low vision, by consideration of contrast
sensitivity, spectral sensitivity, eye movements and spatial frequency
requirements in people with normal low vison. We are studying the
effecitveness of digital image processing for increasing the visibility of
picture images for people with low vision. Dr. Leat is also interested in
measuring the impact of low vision rehabilitation in people's lives, e.g.,
how low vision intervention affects quality of life. In the field of
pediatric optometry studies have included the development and validation of
tests of visual function in children and patients with special needs, and
accommodation in children with special needs and low vision.
Dr. Leat is currently seeking a PhD student to investigate the benefits of
image processing alogrithms in improving the visibility of picture images
for people with macular degeneration. Applicants are being sought with a
background in Optometry, Ophthalmology or Vision Science, plus computer
usage and a knowledge of, and interest in, psychophysics, image processing
and low vision.
∑ ∑ Dr. Michelle Senchyna
Current and future work revolves around three distinct and exciting projects.
Pathophysiology of dry eye. Primary focus involves a molecular biochemical
analysis of immunological / inflammatory mediators present in tear film,
ocular surface tissues and on contact lenses utilizing a variety of
techniques including Western blotting, ELISA, HPLC, RT-PCR and cell
culture. Involves the study of distinct populations of human subjects
including those who where contact lenses, geriatrics and post-LASIK
patients. Application towards discovering the pathophysiological
etiology(ies) of dry eye and identifying reliable clinical markers to
assess novel treatments for dry eye.
Contact lens deposition patterns. Primary focus involves the biochemical
identification and quantification of debris composition depositing on
traditional and novel silicon-hydrogel contact lenses utilizing methods
such as Western blotting. ELISA, spectrophotometry and HPLC. Application
towards delineating the complex interactions governing contact lens
deposition, the clinical implications towards patient comfort and
performance and the role that various contact lens care regimens play on
varying the degree and composition of deposition.
Molecular pharmacology of human prostanoid receptors and their regulation.
Focus involves the determination of human ocular prostanoid receptor
expression using both qualitative and quantitative RT-PCR and delinating
binding and signalling characteristics of prostanoid receptors via a number
of techniques including radioligand binding assays, Western blotting and
second messenger assays. Application towards understanding the role(s)
played by prostanoids in ocular inflammation and aqueous humor dynamics.
Clinical application to glaucoma and ocular inflammatory conditions.
For more information, click here to see what is new in the Biomaterials and
Ocular Surface Disease Group.
∑ ∑ Dr. Trefford Simpson
Corneal sensitivity related especially to contact lens wear, binocular
visual function, especially inhibitory binocular interactions. The
psychophysics of parallel visual processing. Psychophysical and
electrophysiological clinical visual tests.
∑ ∑ Centre for Contact Lens Research
∑ ∑ Dr. Jacob Sivak
Graduate students wanted for exciting research projects in an active lab
supported by NSERC and private industry. The research may involve basic
problems of eye growth and embryology and/or studies related to cataract
development or ocular toxicology. Students with a biological background may
enroll in a combined Vision Science / Biology program. Teaching
assistantship (TA) plus research assistantship (RA) support totaling
$20,000 per year (the level of RA support will be subject to whether the
student is the recipient of a major scholarship award) is available
Dr. Sivak's main research deals with i) comparative anatomy and physiology
of the vertebrate eye with emphasis on adaptations related to vision in air
and vision in water; ii) factors affecting pre and post-natal development
of the ocular lens; iii) biology of the ocular lens in terms of
understanding cataract development; iv) developmental biology of the eye
from a refractive point of view and finally v) development of in vtiro eye
∑ ∑ Dr. Sivak's Lab Page
If you are interested in obtaining an information/application package for
the above positions, please send your name and full mailing address to
Sharon Dahmer. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Sharon
at (519) 888-4567 ext. 5039.
September 5, 2001
Coordinator for Graduate Studies
School of Optometry
(519) 888-4567 x5039 (t)
(519) 725-0784 (f)
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