Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Bringing eye health to the global scale

A computer-assisted eye exam in progress.

By Elizabeth Kleisath. This article was originally published on Waterloo News.

Vision is one of our most dominant senses, and our world is often built around our ability to see. Despite this, the World Health Organization reports that more than one third of people around the world suffer from some form of vision impairment or blindness. Of these estimated 2.2 billion people, at least one billion of these cases could have been prevented or have not been addressed yet. In these statistics, Asia is disproportionally represented, with the largest portions of the populations not receiving the preventative vision care they need.

With the goal of improving the eye health in the region, the University of Waterloo and The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) have been jointly collaborating to launch the world’s first international research hub for vision science, The Centre for Eye and Vision Research (CEVR) in Hong Kong.

The Centre for Eye and Vision Research (CEVR) in Hong Kong

“This groundbreaking partnership showcases the University’s globally recognized excellence in vision health research,” says Charmaine Dean, vice-president, Research and Innovation at the University of Waterloo. “A critical theme especially through the last 18 months of the pandemic is the importance of our global community coming together to drive forward health research.  This partnership links tightly to our mission in health and expands our impact beyond our own borders. Fostering international partnerships with accomplished institutions like Hong Kong Polytechnic University accelerates our work in solving complex problems in health care.”

Bob Lemieux, dean of Waterloo’s Faculty of Science, has been closely involved in the development and solidification of this partnership. As a Faculty known to be a global leader in both fundamental and translational research, this partnership will catalyze new discoveries to shape the future of global vision care.

“The launch of CEVR is the result of three years of engagement and development with PolyU and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government via the Health@InnoHK program,” says Lemieux. “Both Waterloo and PolyU have strong reputations for innovative research, and I am confident that advances in eye and vision research that will be made through this partnership will be nothing short of extraordinary."

The CEVR research will address five key areas of eye health: myopia and eye growth, ocular drug discovery and delivery, vision enhancement, tear film and ocular surface, and advanced optometric technology.

Myopia (nearsightedness) is increasing in cases and severity worldwide, however researchers still do not understand its cause. Research in this area will focus on finding methods to slow down, prevent or reverse the progression of myopia in patients.

Current medications for eye health are very limited, with eye drops only treating the exterior surface of the eye and limited options for treating the back of an eye, behind the ocular barriers. Research into this field will look for new methods, designs and drugs that are capable of treating these challenging areas of an eye.

Vision enhancement research will focus on developing new technologies for preserving and enhancing the vision of older adults, who are at a higher risk for experiencing deterioration and vision problems.

A study into tear film will be trying to find new biochemical markers that are indicative of dry eye disease, a disease that is one of the most frequent causes of eye care visits and is two to three times higher in Asian patients.

The final area of research aims to develop, validate and commercialize novel techniques and technology for assessing eye and vision health.

Each of these core research programs brings together researchers from Waterloo’s Faculty of Science and PolyU to encourage collaborative, multidisciplinary solutions to the areas and projects being tackled.

Professor Ben Thompson
University of Waterloo
CEVR CEO and Scientific DirectorLeading the CEVR are Professor Ben Thompson (Waterloo) as the CEO and Scientific Director, Professor Chi-ho To (PolyU) as the COO and Deputy Scientific Director. Also on the scientific board are Professor Lyndon Jones (Waterloo) and Carly Lam (PolyU). Additional research team members from Waterloo include 17 more faculty members from departments and schools across the Faculty of Science, including Professor Donna Strickland, 2018 Nobel Laureate, who will be leading a project to improve drug delivery to the eye.

“Research conducted within the CEVR has the potential to improve quality of life for millions of people around the world,” says Thompson. “The long-term collaborative relationship between the School of Optometry and Vision Science at Waterloo and the School of Optometry at PolyU forms the core of the centre and our collaborative projects bring together multiple scientific disciplines to tackle the world-wide problem of vision loss.”

CEVR will operate two brand new, state-of-the-art clinical research and bioscience laboratories. The two laboratories support research with patients, drug discovery and biochemistry projects, and provide access to cutting edge clinical and scientific equipment. The Centre for Eye and Vision Research is funded by the Hong Kong Government’s Health@InnoHK initiative.

Keeping Well to Thrive

Keeping Well at Work banner

A message from Organizational and Human Development (OHD).

Robyne Haley-DafoeIt's Day 2, the final day of the Keeping Well at Work Conference. Today’s agenda features engaging and practical workshops supporting personal and workplace wellness at 10:30 a.m. and the highly anticipated closing keynote from resiliency and workplace wellness expert, Dr. Robyne Haley-Dafoe on Everyday Resiliency in Ever-Changing Times, at 1:30 p.m. President Vivek Goel will provide the closing remarks to the conference.

The KW@W Daily Inspiration contest is still open until Friday, October 22at 4:30 p.m.: Win one of three KW@W prize packs by tweeting @OHDuwaterloo or email ohd@uwaterloo.ca.

People take part in a Thrive wellness walk.

Keeping Well at Work may be wrapping up, but we encourage you to continue the conversation around mental health and join Thrive for their upcoming events until November 12. Help build a culture of wellbeing and normalize mental health struggles by joining Mental Health at the Intersections on Thursday, October 21, co-hosted with the President’s Anti-Racism Taskforce (PART). The panel will discuss how social determinants of health intersect to form inequities that impact an individual’s mental health and provide recommendations on how we can support others to promote equity. Visit the Thrive website for more information and to register for events.

Registration is still open and is guaranteed to meet your wellness expectations.

Keeping Well at Work Daily Inspiration banner.

Today's Daily Inspiration

It's KW@W Conference Day 2

Don't miss:

  • Concurrent workshop sessions at 10:30 am
  • A healthy lunch break activity at noon
  • KW@W’s Closing Keynote, Dr. Robyne Hanley-Dafoe, on Everyday Resiliency in Ever Changing Times at 1:30 pm

Registration is still open.

See all Daily Inspirations on the Keeping Well at Work conference site. Questions and contest entries can be sent to ohd@uwaterloo.ca or tweet @OHDuwaterloo.

Developing Waterloo's institutional strategy on research data management

A message from the Library and the Office of Research.

The Government of Canada Tri-Agency Research Data Management Policy requires the University to create an institutional research data management (RDM) strategy and researchers to implement sound RDM practices. RDM is a key element of research excellence. The Tri-Agency FAQs explain “RDM enables researchers to organize, store, access, reuse and build upon digital research data. RDM is essential to Canadian researchers’ capacity to securely preserve and use their research data throughout their research projects, reuse their data over the course of their careers and, when appropriate, share their data.” The policy is being implemented incrementally, but starting in March 2022, researchers can expect funding opportunities subject to the data management plan (DMP) requirement. 

Sponsored by Charmaine Dean, vice-president, research and international, Beth Namachchivaya, university librarian, and Bruce Campbell, chief information officer, the University has created a working group to develop the institutional RDM strategy, including evaluation of our current capacity for RDM, identification of what changes are needed to comply with funder policies and other RDM requirements, and the development of a roadmap to expand institutional capacity for research data stewardship. 

The working group wants to hear from a diverse group of researchers and other stakeholders who support the research enterprise. We have engaged consultants, Athenaeum21, to undertake a review of current RDM practices and services. Please reach out to Bruce Muirhead, associate vice-president, research oversight and analysis, or Alison Hitchens, associate university librarian, collections, technology and scholarly communication,  if you are interested in participating in interviews or being part of a consultation group. Researchers will be invited to respond to an RDM survey in the new year.

Cybersecurity awareness starts with you

A hacker looking at computer source code.

A message from the Information Security Services team.

Every October brings the observance of Cybersecurity Awareness Month. Cybersecurity practitioners try to spread the news that any computer user can take simple actions to protect themselves on-line, without the need for experts.

Throughout October, the UW Information Security Services team will be bringing you some simple hints to allow you to be cyber secure.

You can find more cybersecurity resources at https://uwaterloo.ca/cyber-awareness/ and https://www.getcybersafe.gc.ca/.

Up your Duo 2FA game

The DUO two-factor authentication app logoUWaterloo uses Duo 2-factor authentication (2FA) to protect logins for many systems by requiring you to prove your identity in two ways.  You probably use Duo now when you connect to HR or departmental applications.  However, if you are using text messages from Duo as one method, your logins are not as secure as they could be.  There are weaknesses in the protocols used to transmit text messages.

To increase the security of Duo 2FA, you should install the Duo app on your Android or Apple smartphone and register it as a trusted device. That will allow Waterloo servers to communicate with the app securely.  You can find information on enrolling your mobile device at https://uwaterloo.ca/two-factor-authentication/.

Participate now as deadline for Equity Survey approaches

A woman uses a computer.

A message from the Equity Office.

To date, over 16,000 students and employees participated in Waterloo’s first Equity Survey, and while there is still time for those who have not yet participated, the window of opportunity is closing.

While the Equity Survey will be an ongoing initiative for Waterloo, the first wave of data collection closes on October 31. Our first demographic report to the campus community depends on every individual, so please consider adding your confidential information as we approach the end of this first wave of data collection. This survey only takes about 5 minutes and can be accessed securely through alerts in Learn and Workday. The same unique link is also being resent to those who have not yet completed the survey.

Check out how your area of campus is doing with the Equity Survey Leaderboard.

Link of the day

40 years ago: The Evil Dead

When and Where to get support

Students can visit the Student Success Office online for supports including academic development, international student resources, leadership development, exchange and study abroad, and opportunities to get involved.

Instructors looking for targeted support for developing online components for blended learning courses, transitioning remote to fully online courses, revising current online courses, and more please visit Agile Development | Centre for Extended Learning | University of Waterloo (uwaterloo.ca).

Instructors can visit the Keep Learning website to get support on adapting their teaching and learning plans for an online environment.

Course templates are available within your course in LEARN to help you build and edit your content and assignment pages quickly.

The following workshops, webinars, and events are offered by the KL team (CTE, CEL, ITMS, LIB):

Employees can access resources to help them work remotely, including managing University records and privacy of personal information. Here are some tips for staying healthy while working from home.

Stay informed about COVID cases on campus by consulting the COVID case tracker.

The Writing and Communication Centre has virtual services and programs to help undergrads, grad students, postdocs and faculty members with academic writing.

Co-op students can get help finding a job and find supports to successfully work remotely, develop new skills, access wellness and career information, and contact a co-op or career advisor.

The Centre for Career Action (CCA) is offering some in-person services for fall 2021. The Tatham Centre is open with front-desk support, limited in-person appointments and co-op consults. Services are also available virtually. Book an appointment online or Live Chat with our Client Support Team. The CCA is here to help.

If you feel overwhelmed or anxious and need to talk to somebody, please contact the University’s Campus Wellness services, either Health Services or  Counselling Services. You can also contact the University's Centre for Mental Health Research and TreatmentGood2Talk is a post-secondary student helpline available to all students.

While the Library continues to focus on digital resources and consultations, our spaces are open for the fall term. Dana Porter Library is open Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Davis Centre Library is open Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. for drop-in individual study space, bookable individual study rooms, drop-in access to computers and printers, book pick-up services and IST Help Desk support. Special Collections & Archives and the Geospatial Centre will be accessible by appointment. Library staff are available for questions via Ask us. Full details on current services and hours are available on the Library’s COVID-19 Update webpage

The Faculty Association of the University of Waterloo (FAUW) continues to advocate for its members. Check out the FAUW blog for more information.

The University of Waterloo Staff Association (UWSA) continues to advocate for its members. Check out the UWSA blog for more information.

The Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Office (SVPRO) supports all members of the University of Waterloo campus community who have experienced, or been impacted, by sexual violence. This includes all students, staff, faculty and visitors on the main campus, the satellite campuses, and at the affiliated and federated Waterloo Institutes and Colleges. For support, email: svpro@uwaterloo.ca or visit the SVPRO website.

The Indigenous Initiatives Office is a central hub that provides guidance, support, and resources to all Indigenous and non-Indigenous campus community members and oversees the university Indigenization strategy.

The Waterloo Indigenous Student Centre, based at St. Paul’s University College, provides support and resources for Indigenous students, and educational outreach programs for the broader community, including lectures, and events.

WUSA supports for students:

Peer support  - MATES, Glow Centre, RAISE, Women’s Centre - Visit https://wusa.ca/peersupport to book an appointment either in person or online for the Fall term!

Food Support Service food hampers are currently available from the Turnkey Desk 24/7 in the Student Life Centre. Drop off locations are also open again in SLC, DC, DP, SCH and all residences.

Co-op Connection all available online. Check https://wusa.ca for more details.

Centre for Academic Policy Support - CAPS is here to assist Waterloo undergraduates throughout their experience in navigating academic policy in the instances of filing petitions, grievances and appeals. Please contact them at caps@wusa.caMore information is available.

WUSA Student Legal Protection Program - Seeking legal counsel can be intimidating, especially if it’s your first time facing a legal issue. The legal assistance helpline provides quick access to legal advice in any area of law, including criminal. Just call 1-833-202-4571

Empower Me is a confidential mental health and wellness service that connects students with qualified counsellors 24/7. They can be reached at 1-833-628-5589.

When and Where (but mostly when)

Healthy Warriors at Home (Online Fitness)

Warriors vs. Laurier Blood Donation Battle. Join your fellow Warriors, donate blood and help us win the Blood Battle against Laurier for a second year in a row. Set up a profile or add the PFL code: UNIV960995 to your account if you have a blood.ca account already. Questions? Contact WarriorsInfo@uwaterloo.ca.

Drop-in to Warrior Virtual Study Halls on Wednesdays from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Come together in this virtual space to set goals and work independently or in groups each week.

Renison English Language Institute continues to offer virtual events and workshops to help students practice their English language skills.

Women's Entrepreneurship Week 2021, Monday, October 18 to Friday, October 22, Virtual Speaker Series, details and a link to the virtual talk will be sent to those who register through Zoom.

Keeping Well at Work conference, Tuesday, October 19.

Spanish and Latin American Studies presents Dr. Dolores Figueroa Romero, Binational Dialogues on the Challenges to Document Violence Against Indigenous Women in Mexico and Canada,” Tuesday, October 19, 11:00 a.m. RSVP to Jorge Castaneda Ochoa, j3castanedaochoa@uwaterloo.ca.

GEDI Exchange Webinar - A 30 Minute Exchange with Metagenom Bio and Ceragen, Tuesday, October 19, 1:00 p.m. Join this discussion with Metagenom Bio and Ceragen as they discuss Microbiomes: Building a business and feeding the world. Register online.

Portfolio & Project Management Community of Practice (PPM CoP) session, "Expect the best, plan for the worst and prepare to be surprised" Wednesday, October 20, 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. Register for this event.

Noon Hour Concert: Music of South India, Wednesday, October 20 at 12:30 p.m., online.

WaterTalk: Water Resources and Food Supply Chains, Presented by Megan Konar, Thursday, October 21, 10:00 a.m.

THRIVE: Shadowboxing, Thursday, October 21, 12:00 noon (Warrior Field). Free for students, staff and faculty. Register now.

Problem Lab and Faculty of Environment event, “Finding Your Triple Bottom Line,” Thursday, October 21, 5:30 p.m., Zoom.

NEW - Arriscraft Speaker Series: Designing relations with land featuring Brian Porter & Tiffany Shaw-Collinge, moderated by Mkomose (Andrew Judge), Thursday, October 21, 6:00 p.m. Register for this event 

Fall Convocation PhD reception, Thursday, October 21, 7:00 p.m.

2021 Benjamin Eby Lecture, “Composing Louis Riel's Dream: Exploring the history of the Red River Settlement through family stories and music”, Thursday, October 21, 7:30 p.m., Conrad Grebel University College. Virtual event.

Fall Convocation ceremonies, Friday, October 22 and Saturday, October 23.

2021 Gairdner Lecture, Acting Early: From Developmental Science to Scalable Prevention, Friday, October 22, 2:30 p.m. to 3:15 p.m. Please register in advance.

Lectures in Catholic Experience, "Religion and Vaccine Hesitancy in the Age of Anxiety," Friday, October 22, 7:30 p.m.

Warriors Football vs. Western, Saturday October 23, 1:00 p.m. Think Pink in support of the Breast Cancer Cause at the Canadian Cancer Society, Donor Appreciation Day. Purchase tickets.

WaterLeadership training seminar: Create engaging virtual presentations, Presented by Elise Vist, Tuesday, October 26, 1:00 p.m.

Board of Governors Meeting, Tuesday, October 26, 1:30 p.m.

Pivot-RP Training Session for Waterloo faculty and staff who support research proposal development. Tuesday, October 26, 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Please register to receive a link to this session on Teams.

Emergency: The Citizen’s Guide to Climate Success – The 2021 Hagey Lecture, Wednesday, October 27, 8:00 p.m. Register to watch the livestream.