Guest Speakers

Emily Y. Chew

Emily Y. Chew MD
Division of Epidemiology and Clinical Applications (DECA)
National Eye Institute
Bethesda, Maryland

Emily Chew is the Director of the Division of Epidemiology and Clinical Applications (DECA), at the National Eye Institute, the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. She is also the Chief of the Clinical Trials Branch. She is a medical retinal specialist with research interest in designing and conducting phase I/II/III clinical trials and epidemiologic studies in chronic retinovascular diseases such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), diabetic retinopathy, and rare retinal diseases. She works in large multi-centered trials including the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) and AREDS2, focused on intermediate and late AMD, and the AMD Ryan Initiative Study (ARIS) focused on early AMD. She chaired the ACCORD study of diabetic retinopathy. She leads the international clinical part in Macular Telangiectasia type 2 Project. She is also conducting research on artificial intelligence/deep learning technology for detection and predicting progression of AMD.

Emily received her medical degree and her ophthalmology training at the U. of Toronto, School of Medicine, in Toronto, Canada. She completed her fellowship in Medical Retina at the Wilmer Eye Institute, the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutes and the U. of Nijmegen, the Netherlands.

She had served as Medical Retina Fellowship Director 2002-2017. She previously served on the editorial board of Investigative Ophthalmology and Vision and had served as the editor of the Transactions of the American Ophthalmological Society (2011-2018). Emily is currently a member of the editorial boards of Ophthalmology, Ophthalmology Retina, and Retina journals and serves as the editor-in-chief for Ophthalmology Science.

Mark Pennesi

Mark Pennesi MD PhD
Associate Professor of Ophthalmology
Kenneth C. Swan Endowed Professor
Chief, Paul H. Casey Ophthalmic Genetics Division
Casey Eye Institute
Oregon Health & Science University

Dr. Mark Pennesi is an Associate Professor in Ophthalmology at Oregon Health & Science University. He holds the Kenneth C. Swan Endowed Professorship and is the chief of the Paul H. Casey Ophthalmic Genetics Division at the Casey Eye Institute. Dr. Pennesi attended the University of Pennsylvania where he graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering and was awarded the Herman P. Schwann award in bioengineering for exemplary scholarship. Dr. Pennesi’s interest in degenerative retinal disorders began shortly after his first year in college, when he spent a summer working at the Retina Foundation of the Southwest where he worked under the supervision of Dr. David Birch seeing patients with inherited retinal degenerations such as retinitis pigmentosa.

Dr. Pennesi pursued combined at MD/PhD at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. He received numerous awards while in graduate school including the John J. Trentin Award for earning the highest GPA in his class and the BRASS scholarship for playing an active role in community service. This was followed by a residency in Ophthalmology at University of California – San Francisco, where he was awarded the Hogan-Garcia Award for having the best resident research project. In 2011 Dr. Pennesi received the ARVO/Alcon Early Career Clinician-Scientist Research Award. He is also the recipient of an FFB career development award, an RPB career development award, and an FFB enhanced career development award. He was awarded the Alcon Young Investigator Award in 2014 and a Residency Teaching award in 2015. He has also been elected into both the Macula Society and Retina Society.

Dr. Pennesi is a clinician scientist with a passion for developing novel therapeutic regimens for inherited retinal diseases. He has helped propel the Casey Eye Institute into a leader in novel therapies for inherited retinal dystrophies. He is the PI or Co-PI on numerous clinical trials including: gene augmentation therapy for: RPE65-related retinopathy, ABCA4-related retinopathy, Type IB Usher syndrome, CNGA3 and CNGB3-related achromatopsia, X-linked retinoschisis, X-linked retinitis pigmentosa, and choroideremia. In addition, he is investigator for antisense oligonucleotide therapies for: CEP290-related retinopathy, USH2A-related retinopathy, and RHO autosomal dominant retinitis pigmentosa. He is a principal investigator on the Allergan Brilliance where the first patient was treating with gene editing from CEP290-related retinopathy.

Kathryn Pepple

Kathryn Pepple MD PhD
Associate Professor
Uveitis Fellowship Director
Department of Ophthalmology
University of Washington

Dr. Kathryn Pepple is an Associate Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Washington, and serves as the Uveitis Service Chief and fellowship director. Dr. Pepple earned her MD and PhD degrees from the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX. She subsequently completed ophthalmology residency and a medical retina fellowship at Duke University, and a uveitis fellowship at the University of Washington. She currently runs a basic science research program utilizing a model of post-infectious uveitis (PMU) to study mechanisms responsible for chronic intraocular inflammation. She has also been a leader in developing quantitative imaging modalities such as optical coherence tomography (OCT) and in vivo bioluminescence for use in animal models. Her translational research program focuses on developing quantitative biomarkers of disease in patients with uveitis using swept source optical coherence tomography angiography (SS-OCTA). Dr. Pepple’s research is supported by federally grants from the National Eye Institute as well as career development awards from research to prevent Blindness and the Alcon Research Institute.


SriniVas R. Sadda MD FARVO
Director, Artificial Intelligence & Imaging Research
Doheny Eye Institute
Professor of Ophthalmology, Geffen School of Medicine
University of California – Los Angeles (UCLA)

SriniVas R. Sadda, MD, is the Director, Artificial Intelligence & Imaging Research of the Doheny Eye Institute, and Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of California – Los Angeles (UCLA) Geffen School of Medicine. He received his MD from Johns Hopkins University, where he also completed ophthalmology residency and neuro-ophthalmology and medical retina fellowships (Wilmer Eye Institute).

Dr. Sadda’s major research interests include retinal image analysis, advanced retinal imaging technologies, and clinical trial endpoint design. He has more than 550 peer-reviewed publications and 20 book chapters, and has given over 450 presentations worldwide. Dr. Sadda also serves as an editorial board member of Ophthalmic Surgery, Lasers & Imaging, Retina, Graefe’s, Ophthalmology Retina, and Ophthalmology. He is also an editor of Ryan’s Retina textbook. Among Dr. Sadda’s awards and honors are a Research to Prevent Blindness Physician-Scientist Award, a Senior Honor Award from the American Society of Retina Specialists, an Achievement Award and a Secretariat Award from the American Academy of Ophthalmology, John H. Zumberge Research and Innovation Award, the Macula Society Young Investigator Award, Asia-Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology (APAO) Achievement Award, The Macula Society Paul Henkind Lecture and Award, and American Society of Retina Specialists Young Investigator Award. He is also a Silver Fellow and Trustee (Retina) for the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology. He has been named to the Best Doctors of America list for several consecutive years.

David Sarraf

David Sarraf MD
Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology
Retinal Disorders and Ophthalmic Genetics Division
Stein Eye Institute, UCLA

Dr. David Sarraf is Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology at the Stein Eye Institute at UCLA and member of the Retinal Disorders and Ophthalmic Genetics Division. He has published close to 300 peer reviewed research papers, case reports and reviews and has authored 22 book chapters and is co-author for the second edition of the Retina Atlas and will be Section Editor for the 7th edition of Ryan Retina. Dr. Sarraf is a world leader in the field of advanced retinal imaging and has delivered over 300 invited lectures at various meetings worldwide including close to a dozen endowed and keynote lectures.

Dr. Sarraf is Associate Editor for the British Journal of Ophthalmology and Section Editor of the Ocular Imaging Section for the Canadian Journal of Ophthalmology. He is also Associate Editor for the journal Retinal Cases and Brief Reports and Editorial Board Member of the journals Retina, Ophthalmology Science and OSLI Retina. He is also Section Editor for the Retina Times (X-Files) of the ASRS (American Society of Retinal Specialists) and has served on the BCSC (Basic and Clinical Science Course) section of the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) and has been awarded Achievement and Secretariat and Senior Achievement awards by the AAO.

Dr. Sarraf is also Co-Director of the Pacific Retina Club and the International Retinal Imaging Symposium and founding Board of Trustee member of the International Retinal Imaging Society. He is a member of the ASRS, AOS (American Ophthalmological Society), Retina Society and Gass Club and is an ARVO (Association of Research and Vision in Ophthalmology) Imaging Program Committee member and has served as an Executive Board Member and Program Committee Member in the Macula Society. He has also served as an Advisory Consultant of the DRCR (Diabetic Retinopathy Clinical Research) Network and is a Scientific Board Member of the Macula Foundation Inc and Optovue Inc.

Dr. Sarraf’s focus of research interest is in the field of advanced retinal imaging. He has been a pioneer in the clinical application of OCT angiography and is a world expert on OCTA and OCT imaging of the macula and has applied these technologies to better understand the structure and arrangement of the retinal capillary plexus and the ischemic cascade in occlusive retinal vascular disorders and to gain insight into the pathogenesis and progression of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Dr. Sarraf is an international authority in the area of AMD and has published extensively on the subject of retinal pigment epithelial detachment (PED) and he was nominated to the American Ophthalmological Society because of his research work to study PED and RPE tears in eyes with AMD.

Jennifer Sun

Jennifer K. Sun MD MPH
Associate Professor, Harvard Department of Ophthalmology
Senior Investigator, Research Division, Joslin Diabetes Center (JDC)
Chief, Center for Clinical Eye Research and Trials, Beetham Eye Institute, JDC
Chair, Diabetes Initiatives, DRCR Network

Dr. Jennifer Sun, Associate Professor in the Harvard Department of Ophthalmology, graduated from Harvard College and Harvard Medical School, and completed ophthalmology residency and a vitreoretinal surgical fellowship at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary. From 2005-2009 she was the first program participant in the Harvard Vision Clinical Scientist K12 program and received a Masters in Public Health in 2007 at the Harvard School of Public Health. Since 2005, she has served as Chief of the Center for Clinical Eye Research and Trials of the Beetham Eye Institute, Joslin Diabetes Center. She is a Senior Investigator in the Vascular Cell Biology Section and Assistant Director of the Beetham Eye Institute of the Joslin.

Dr. Sun serves as Chair for Diabetes Initiatives of the DRCR Retina Network (January, 2018 – anticipated through December, 2022), a National Institutes of Health-sponsored collaborative network of retina sites performing clinical research in diabetic eye disease and other retinal diseases. Previously, she served as the Network’s nationwide Protocol Working Investigator from 2010-2017 as well as a Network Vice Chair from 2012-2014, and Chair-Elect in 2017. Dr. Sun also participates in the Steering Committee for the JDRF-sponsored Diabetic Retinal Disease Staging System Update effort. She has been nationwide Protocol Chair of three DRCR.net studies: Protocol L “Evaluation of Visual Acuity Measurements in Eyes with Diabetic Macular Edema” (2009-2011), Protocol AA “Peripheral Diabetic Retinopathy Lesions on Ultrawide-field Fundus Images and Risk of DR Worsening Over Time” (2013-2017) and Protocol W “The Prevention of Vision Threatening Complications in Eyes at High Risk through Anti-VEGF Treatment” (2015-2017). She also served as the nationwide PI for both the multi-center DME FOUND Study “Diabetic Macular Edema Found by OCT Utilization at Non-Ophthalmic Diabetes care visits”, a study evaluating the use of point-of-care noninvasive retinal imaging at primary diabetes care visits to identify patients at risk for vision loss from diabetic macular edema and a phase 1 trial of an intravitreous plasma kallikrein inhibitor for diabetic macular edema. She has served as site Principal Investigator (PI), co-PI, or subproject PI for over 20 additional clinical trials, and as a co-investigator on 18 other studies. Dr. Sun leads studies identifying biomarkers of functional and anatomic outcomes in diabetic retinopathy and diabetic macular edema through advanced imaging techniques such as adaptive optics scanning laser ophthalmoscopy and optical coherence tomography angiography. She has also collaborated with Dr. George King in the search for protective factors against diabetic retinal complications in the Joslin 50-Year Medalist Study. Dr. Sun serves as the CME Editor for JAMA Ophthalmology. Her publications include 94 papers in the peer-reviewed literature with 42 additional reviews and chapters. She has received the 2008 ARVO/Alcon Early Career Clinician-Scientist Research Award, the 2016 RPB Physician-Scientist Award, the 2018 JDRF Mary Tyler Moore and S. Robert Levine, M.D., Excellence in Clinical Research Award, delivered the 2017 Wilmer Eye Institute Joseph Smiddy Lecture, and the 2021 Macula Society Young Investigator Award.

Program Directors

Panos Christakis MD FRCSC
Assistant Professor
Department of Ophthalmology and Vision Sciences
University of Toronto
Kenneth T. Eng MD FRCSC
Assistant Professor
Department of Ophthalmology and Vision Sciences
University of Toronto
Diseases and Surgery of the Retina and Vitreous
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
Radha P. Kohly MD PhD FRCSC
Assistant Professor
Department of Ophthalmology and Vision Sciences
University of Toronto
Eye Physician and Surgeon, specializing in Diseases of the Retina and Vitreous
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Planning Committee

Fong May Chew FRCOphth MBBS BSc
Current vitreoretinal fellow
Department of Ophthalmology and Vision Sciences
University of Toronto

Tim Hillson MD MA FRCSC
Assistant Clinical Professor
Faculty of Health Sciences
McMaster University

Marko Popovic MD MPH Candidate
Resident Physician
Department of Ophthalmology and Vision Sciences
University of Toronto

Allan Slomovic MSc MD
Department of Ophthalmology and Vision Sciences
University of Toronto