Melanie Campbell

Professor, Physics and Astronomy

Research interests: optical properties of the eye; refractive properties of the crystalline confocal laser scanning; macroscopy


In 2004, Professor Melanie Campbell was awarded the Rank Prize, the world’s most prestigious award in prestigious in optoelectronics. Campbell cited her work as: an initial idea has been carried through to practical applications that have, or will, demonstrably benefit mankind.

Campbell is well known for her work on the gradient index optics of the crystalline lens. She has developed and patented improved scanning laser, adaptive optics and polarization methods for imaging the eye and biological tissues. She uses lasers to improve diagnosis and to study highly localized, light activated therapies for eye diseases.

Campbell earned a PhD in Applied Mathematics and Physiology from the Australian National University in 1982. Following a Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) Fellowship at the Institute of Mathematics and Statistics in Canberra, Campbell returned to Canada in 1984 with an Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) University Research Fellowship. Campbell is a Fellow of the Optical Society of America, a Fellow of the Institute of Physics (U.K.), and a Honourary Professional Certification (PPhys) and former President of the Canadian Association of Physicists. Campbell is involved in a diploma program in photonics for industry, undertakes collaborative research with industry and was co-founder of Biomedical Photometrics Inc.


  • PhD, Australian National University, 1982
  • MSc, University of Waterloo, 1977
  • BSc, University of Toronto, 1975

Melanie Campbell


Studies at the nano scale

Melanie Campbell is currently a Professor in the Department of Physics and is cross-appointed to the School of Optometry. In addition, Professor Campbell is a University Research Chair at the University of Waterloo. Professor Campbell’s nano bio projects include the development of light activated therapies for eye diseases; the restoration of crystalline lens elasticity with multiphoton treatments; studies of amyloid beta at the nanoscale in the eye and high resolution wavefront sensing and imaging with adaptive optics. She and collaborators are developing a precisely deformable ferrofluid mirror consisting of magnetic nanoparticles.

Ophthalmic imaging and biophotonics

Professor Campbell undertakes experimental and theoretical research in the optical quality of the eye, ophthalmic imaging and biophotonics, including at the nanoscale. She also studies ocular development, eye disease and linear and nonlinear optics of the eye. She has collaborated in the first real-time images of cones at the rear of the eye, the first adaptive optics confocal imaging paper and patents in polarization imaging which will improve imaging in ophthalmoscopy and microscopy. Professor Campbell recently discovered putative optical signals to eye growth which appear to follow a circadian rhythm. She is interested in improved optical imaging for diagnosis and novel therapies for eye disease.

Research interests

  • Optical properties of the eye and their changes with growth and refractive error
  • Refractive properties of crystalline lens
  • Confocal laser scanning ophthalmoscopy, microscopy and macroscopy
  • Polarisation imaging



Recent publications include:

  • Tan, Wylie; Wright, Tom; Rajendran, Durgaa; Garcia-Sanchez, Yaiza; Finkelberg, Laura; Kisilak, Marsha; Campbell, Melanie; Westall, Carol A., "Cone-Photoreceptor Density in Adolescents With Type 1 Diabetes" INVESTIGATIVE OPHTHALMOLOGY & VISUAL SCIENCE, 56(11), pp6339-6343, 2015
  • Avila, Francisco J.; Emptage, Laura; del Barco, Oscar; Artal, Pablo; Campbell, Melanie C. W.; Bueno, Juan M., "Two-photon Microscopy to Visualize Amyloid Plaques in Unstained Retinas from Alzheimer's Disease" INVESTIGATIVE OPHTHALMOLOGY & VISUAL SCIENCE, 56(7), 2015
  • Campbell, Melanie C. W.; Shao, Zheng, "Rates of change of ocular properties during emmetropization in the developing chick eye vary linearly with retinal blur" INVESTIGATIVE OPHTHALMOLOGY & VISUAL SCIENCE, 56(7), 2015
  • Emptage, Laura; DeVries, David; Kisilak, Marsha; Campbell, Melanie C. W.; Leonenko, Zoya; Dobson, Howard; Avila, Francisco J.; Chow, Theodore; Cookson, Chris, "Comparison of amyloid beta in the retina of an animal model of Alzheimer's disease and humans with the disease" INVESTIGATIVE OPHTHALMOLOGY & VISUAL SCIENCE, 56(7), 2015
  • DeVries, David; Campbell, Melanie C. W.; Emptage, Laura; Cookson, Chris; Kisilak, Marsha; Avila, Francisco J.; Bueno, Juan M.; Redekop, Rachel; Wilson, Matthew, "Polarization properties of amyloid beta deposits in ex vivo human retinas from those with Alzheimer's disease differ from surrounding retina" INVESTIGATIVE OPHTHALMOLOGY & VISUAL SCIENCE, 56(7), 2015
  • Kisilak, Marsha; Emptage, Laura; Andrews, Ian; Campbell, Melanie C. W., "Adaptive optics measurements of cone density in chick eyes during lens-induced myopia" INVESTIGATIVE OPHTHALMOLOGY & VISUAL SCIENCE, 56(7), 2015
  • Shao, Zheng; Kisilak, Marsha; Irving, Elizabeth L.; Campbell, Melanie C. W., "Growth and completion of emmetropization in the normally developing chick eye", INVESTIGATIVE OPHTHALMOLOGY & VISUAL SCIENCE, 56(7), 2015
  • Gupta, Pradeep Kumar; Singh, Ram Kishor; Strickland, D.; Campbell, M. C. W.; Sharma, R. P., "Effect of multiphoton ionization on performance of crystalline lens", OPTICS LETTERS, 39(24), pp6775-6778, 2014
  • Sharma, R. P.; Strickland, D.; Campbell, M. C. W., "Effect of plasma generation on the performance of the crystalline lens", OPTICS COMMUNICATIONS, 304, pp23-28, 2013
  • Smith, E. L., III; Campbell, M. C. W.; Irving, E. L., "Does peripheral retinal input explain the promising myopia control effects of corneal reshaping therapy (CRT or ortho-K) & multifocal soft contact lenses?" OPHTHALMIC AND PHYSIOLOGICAL OPTICS, 33(3), pp379-384, 2013
  • Vincent, Ajoy; Wright, Tom; Garcia-Sanchez, Yaiza; Kisilak, Marsha; Campbell, Melanie; Westall, Carol; Heon, Elise, "Phenotypic Characteristics Including In Vivo Cone Photoreceptor Mosaic in KCNV2-Related Cone Dystrophy with Supernormal Rod Electroretinogram" INVESTIGATIVE OPHTHALMOLOGY & VISUAL SCIENCE, 54(1), pp898-908, 2013
  • Campbell MCW, Bunghardt K, Kisilak ML, Irving EL. Diurnal Rhythms of Spherical Refractive Error, Optical Axial Length and Power in the Chick. IOVS, 53(10), 6245-53. 2012
  • Kisilak ML, Bunghardt K, Hunter JJ, Irving EL, Campbell MCW, Longitudinal in vivo imaging of cones in the alert chicken. Optom. Vis. Sci. 89(5), 644-51. 2012
  • Hunter JJ, Campbell MCW, Kisilak ML, Irving EL, Retinal blur in development: Comparison of eye growth models to experimental data. J. Vis. 9(6),12, 1-20. 2009
  • Bueno JM, Cookson CJ, Kisilak ML, Campbell MCW, Enhancement of confocal microscopy images using Mueller-matrix polarimetry. J. Microsc. 235(1), 84-93. 2009
  • Bueno JM, Cookson CJ, Hunter JJ, Kisilak ML, Campbell MCW, Depolarization properties of the optic nerve head: The effect of age. Ophthamic and Physiol. Opt. 29(3), 247-255. 2009
  • Kisilak ML, Hunter JJ, Huang L, Campbell MCW, Irving EL, In chicks wearing high powered negative lenses, spherical refraction is compensated and oblique astigmatism is induced. J. Mod. Opt. 55(4), 611-623. 2008
  • Hunter JJ, Cookson CJ, Kisilak ML, Bueno JM, Campbell MCW, Characterizing Image Quality in a Scanning Laser Ophthalmoscope with a Variable Pinhole and Induced Scattered Light. J. Opt. Soc. Am. A. Opt. Image Sci. Vis. 24(5), 1284-1295. 2007
  • Bueno JM, Hunter JJ, Cookson CJ, Kisilak ML, Campbell MCW, Improved Scanning Laser Fundus Imaging Using Imaging Polarimetry. J. Opt. Soc. Am. A. Opt. Image Sci. Vis. 24(5), 1337-1348. 2007
  • Bueno JM, Hunter JJ, Cookson CJ, Kisilak ML, Campbell MCW, Polarization and confocal ophthalmoscopy. Opt. Pura Apl. 39 (3) 225-233. 2006
  • Kisilak ML, Campbell MCW, Hunter JJ, Irving EL, Huang L, Aberrations of chick eyes during normal growth and lens induction of myopia. J. Comp. Physiol. A. 192(8), 845-55. 2006
  • Bueno JM, Campbell MCW. Polarization properties of the in vitro human crystalline lens. Ophthalmic Physiol Opt. 23(2), 109-118. 2003
  • Roorda A, Romero-Borja F, Donnelly WJ, Queener H, Hebert T, and Campbell, M.C.W. Adaptive optics scanning laser ophthalmoscopy. Opt. Express, 10(9), 405-412. 2002
  • Bueno, J. M. and Campbell, M.C.W. Confocal scanning laser ophthalmoscopy improvement by using Mueller-matrix polarimetry. Optics Letters 27(10), 830-832. 2002
  • Kisilak M, Anderson H, Babcock NS, Stetzer MR, Idziak SHJ, Sirota EB, An x-ray extensional flow cell. Rev. Sci. Instrum. 72(11), 4305-4307. 2001
  • Idziak SHJ, Welch SE, Kisilak M, Mugford C, Potvin G, Veldhuis L, Sirota EB, Undulating Membrane Structure Under Mixed Extensional-Shear Flow. The European Physical Journal E. 6(2), 139-145. 2001
  • Leat SJ, Campbell MCW, Woo GC, Lankin A. Changes in fixation in the presence of prism monitored with a confocal scanning laser ophthalmoscope. Clin. Exp. Optom. 84(3), 132-138. 2001
  • Kroger RH, Campbell MCW, Fernald RD. The development of the crystalline lens is sensitive to visual input in the African cichlid fish, Haplochromis burtoni. Vision Res. 41(5), 549-59. 2001

Please see Melanie Campbell's Google Scholar profile for a current list of her peer-reviewed articles.