Our team, including individuals affected by RB, health care professionals, and researchers, each provide a unique contribution to RB Canada Research’s content and dissemination.
Ella Bowles, PhD
Dr. Ella Bowles is currently a postdoctoral researcher at Concordia University working on conservation genomics in fishes. Ella had bilateral retinoblastoma as a baby, and has been involved in various aspects of retinoblastoma research and advocacy over the years. This includes studying the genetic changes involved in retinoblastoma tumor progression as a summer student and early researcher, and participating in the development of the National Retinoblastoma Strategy. Ella has also advocated to break down barriers to education for people who have visual impairments, which is the greatest impact of retinoblastoma for Ella. She developed guidelines for access to accommodations for graduate-level education.
Rod Bremner, PhD
Dr. Rod Bremner is a Senior Scientist at the Lunenfeld Tanenbaum Research Institute (LTRI) in Mount Sinai Hospital. He is also a Professor at the University of Toronto in the Departments of Ophthalmology & Visual Science and Lab Med & Pathobiology in the Institute of Medical Science.
His lab focuses on families with RB1 gene defects to deduce critical events that drive the earliest stages of cancer, using a combination of genetics, genomics, biochemistry, and pharmacology.
Click here to learn more about Dr. Bremner’s lab.
Helen Dimaras, PhD
Dr. Helen Dimaras is a Scientist in the Child Health Evaluative Sciences Program at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) Research Institute, and Director of Global Eye Health Research in the Department of Ophthalmology & Vision Sciences at SickKids. She is also an Assistant Professor at The University of Toronto in the Department of Ophthalmology & Vision Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and the Division of Public Health, Dalla Lana School of Public Health; and holds an honourary lecturer position in the Department of Human Pathology, University of Nairobi. Dr. Dimaras’ research spans the disciplines of global health, cancer genetics and clinical science.
Click Here to learn more about Dr. Dimaras’ lab.
Ben Dunkley, PhD
Dr. Ben Dunkley studied at Cardiff University, UK, where he completed his PhD thesis on the role of cortical oscillations in oculomotor control and vision motion perception using MEG. This was then followed by a postdoc at York University, Toronto, where he used fMRI and TMS to study transaccadic integration and spatiotopic representation in the dorsal visual stream. This was in turn followed by a second postdoc at SickKids with Drs. Margot Taylor and Elizabeth Pang, which involved the study of clinical population using MEG to characterise aberrant functional (spectral) connectivity in psychological (PTSD) and physical (mTBI) trauma, during cognition and task-free resting-state. He now works at SickKids as a Clinical Associate, using MEG to study changes in brain functional connectivity related to a variety of neurological and psychiatric conditions.
Kaitlyn Hougham, MSc
Kaitlyn Hougham is the Retinoblastoma Research Program Manager at SickKids. Providing support to Dr. Helen Dimaras and Dr. Brenda Gallie (Head, Retinoblastoma Program, SickKids), Kaitlyn is involved in a diversity of retinoblastoma research projects including the: (i) Disease-specific electronic Patient Illustrated Clinical Timeline Retinoblastoma (DePICTRB); (ii) One Retinoblastoma World Map; and (iii) National Retinoblastoma Patient Engagement Strategy. Kaitlyn is committed to meaningful patient engagement and passionate about improving outcomes for people affected by retinoblastoma.
Lynn (Magnusson) Nahachewsky, H.BSW
Lynn Nahachewsky is a RB survivor and Registered Social Worker, working as a Mental Health and Addictions Worker for over 25 years. Lynn was diagnosed with RB over 50 years ago, having Cobalt treatment and her left eye removed at 4 months old. She has low vision but continues to be independent at work and home, from having a positive impact in her Thunder Bay community to participating in sports and quilting.
Lynn is pleased to be on CRRAB’s Research Advisory Working Group and Steering Committee. She sees it as an incredible opportunity for both RB survivors and families to work with doctors and professionals in the RB field. Also, that it is vitally important to share and advance research through participation.
Ben Thompson, PhD
Dr. Ben Thompson is Professor and Associate Director for Research in the Department of Optometry and Vision Science at the University of Waterloo. He is also an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Ophthalmology at McGill University and a Professor in the Department of Optometry and Vision Science at the University of Auckland. Click here to learn more about Dr. Thompson’s lab.
Jennifer Steeves, PhD
Dr. Jennifer Steeves is the Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Education in the Faculty of Science at York University and Professor at York University in the Department of Psychology. She is also an Adjunct Scientist at SickKids and Toronto Rehabilitation Institute and Adjunct Professor at The University of Toronto in the Department of Ophthalmology & Vision Sciences. Dr. Steeves’ lab has been studying visual and auditory adaptability in individuals with one eye.
Click here to learn more about Dr. Steeves’ lab.