Dr. Elena Leontieva is a postdoctoral fellow based in the School of Optometry & Vision Science, University of Waterloo and working with Drs Chris Hudson (University of Waterloo) and Wendy Hatch (University of Toronto) in the Kensington Eye Institute, Department of Ophthalmology and Vision Sciences, University of Toronto.
Elena performs a central role as part of the Ocular Investigation Platform of the Ontario Neurodegenerative Disease Research Initiative (ONDRI), a collaborative longitudinal study of over 500 patients and 50 study co-investigators across Ontario and 20 partner institutions plus industrial and charitable partners too.
Elena is working to determine if non-invasive morphological measurements (i.e. spectral domain optical coherence tomography) of the human retina can be utilized as a surrogate longitudinal marker of brain neural mass in patients with neuro-degenerative diseases, including PD, Alzheimer’s (and mild cognitive impairment), vascular cognitive impairment (i.e. stroke), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrigs Disease) and frontotemporal dementia 1, all of which can cause dementia. In this respect, the eye is regarded as an extension of the brain. The study uses instrumentation that is currently commercially available but with prototype software that delineates each of the 8 or 9 sub-layers (strata) of the retina.
Amongst many other tasks, Elena manages the processing of images collected in Toronto (6 imaging sites), Ottawa and London (Ontario), data storage, data analysis and curation, writing of protocols and manuscripts. Elena collaborates with ONDRI scientists, clinicians and trainees to find important correlates of retinal morphology and parameters derived from various platform assessments within ONDRI (neuroimaging, neuropsychology, clinical, gait, eye movements, etc.). This collaborative work is anticipated to significantly contribute to understanding of the etiology and pathological mechanisms, and to the clinical and therapeutic management, of neurodegenerative diseases.
Thank you Elena for all your hard work! It is very much appreciated!
Find out more about events to celebrate our post-docs at the University of Waterloo.
1 Can J Neurol Sci. 2017 Mar;44(2):196-202. doi: 10.1017/cjn.2016.415. Epub 2016 Dec 22.