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2020-2021 Vision Network Publication Award Laureates

August 1st 2020

Reza Abbas Farishta_PHOTO

Étudiant PhD student au doctorat, École d’optométrie, Université de Montréal
Laboratoire : Dr Christian Casanova

Publication: Abbas Farishta R, Boire D, Casanova C. Hierarchical Organization of Corticothalamic Projections to the Pulvinar. Cerebral Cortex Communications, July 7 2020.

After graduating with a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in optometry from the University of Paris-Sud-XI, I continued my academic career at University de Montréal by pursuing a clinical master’s degree in vision science (2011). During my master’s, I got a taste of research by studying the role played by the cannabinoid system on visual responses of the primary visual cortex (Abbas Farishta et al, IOVS 2015). Following this positive experience, I then decided to continue research, again at Dr. Casanova’s laboratory, embarking on an O.D / PhD program. I obtained my doctorate in optometry in 2017 and I am currently preparing for my PhD defense (2020). My doctoral studies investigate the role of transthalamic pathways in the visual system. By revealing for the first time that transthalamic pathways, like their cortico-cortical counterparts, are organized in a hierarchical manner, my doctoral work has enabled a better  understanding of the thalamus and its role in the processing of visual information. My doctoral work has been regularly praised by my peers. I was the recipient of the Gresset-Simonet prize in 2018, as well as the prestigious Ezell Fellowship of the American Academy of Optometry for the year 2019/2020. My clinical interests gravitate towards a better understanding of optometric disorders resulting from a cerebral dysfunction such as cortical amblyopia as well as TBI related visual symptoms. Next step: a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Ophthalmology at McGill University under the supervision of Dr. Farivar on binocular vision, neuro-optometry and medical imaging.


Rodriguez, Lea_photo

Étudiante au doctorat, Université Laval
Laboratoire : Dr Vincent Pernet

Publication: Rodriguez L, Joly S, Zine-Eddine F, Baya Mdzomba J, Pernet V. Tau modulates visual plasticity in adult and old mice. Neurology of aging, July 25 2020.

During her Masters in Neuroscience at the University of Aix-Marseille, Léa Rodriguez worked on the molecular mechanisms associated with neurodegenerative pathologies such as epilepsy, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases in the laboratories of Dr Debanne and Fantini. The results she obtained enabled her to be associated as a co-author in publications in the journals, Scientific Report, and PNAS. Interested by the mechanisms of degeneration and plasticity in the central nervous system, she started her doctorate in the laboratory of Dr Pernet. One of her research objectives was the study and understanding of the mechanisms of degeneration and plasticity in ganglion cells of the retina. Her current research focuses on the influence of the Tau protein on the physiology and visual mechanisms of neuroplasticity in adult mice and during aging. The results she obtained allowed her to publish her work in Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience (2018), International Journal of Molecular Sciences (2020) and Neurobiology of Aging (2020) as lead author. Over the past two years, she has received the Fondation du CHUL de Québec scholarship and the Thematic Center for Research in Neurosciences scholarship, the Lemaire Foundation scholarship and the FRQS doctoral scholarship. In parallel with her project, she participates in other laboratory projects, allowing her to develop new expertise and to be co-author of several studies published in Glia (2018) or Cell Death and Disease (2018/2020).

February 1st 2021 (to come)