Profile – Dr Catherine Bornbaum, RetiSpec

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Dr Catherine Bornbaum


Dr Catherine Bornbaum

Job title:

Head of Clinical Operations and Partnerships

Place of work / study:


Area of Research:

At RetiSpec, we use innovative imaging technology combined with robust machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) to detect biomarkers of neurodegenerative disease throughout the eye. The eye provides a simple and non-invasive way to measure the central nervous system; it is also the only organ where both neurons and blood vessels can be directly visualized at micron-level resolution. At RetiSpec, we’re focused on leveraging the eye-brain connection to capture and quantify pathophysiological insights and disease-defining changes occurring in the brain through use of retinal hyperspectral imaging combined with novel machine learning and artificial intelligence techniques. We believe a better future for Alzheimer’s disease begins with the ability to diagnose it early on. We are focused on enabling widespread.

How is your work funded?

Our work is funded by a combination of grant support and private investment. Some of the groups that provide funding for our work include: the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation, the Davos Alzheimer’s Collaboration (Health System Preparedness Program), the Ontario Brain Institute, the Centre for Aging and Brain Health Innovation (CABHI), and many others.

Tell us a little about yourself:

Relative to work, I serve as the Head of Clinical Operations and Partnerships at RetiSpec, a medical imaging company building advanced Artificial Intelligence for the detection of neurodegenerative diseases based on retinal hyperspectral imaging. In my role, I lead the planning and operational oversight of clinical research activities. I work collaboratively with key opinion leaders, investigators, and stakeholders to advance a rigorous and strategic research program in support of RetiSpec’s commercialization of its AI-based diagnostics for Alzheimer disease detection. In addition to my working life, I’m a wife and mother to two wonderful boys aged 3 and 6 and when I’m not working I love to spend time with my family, run to explore whichever city I’m in, and listen to podcasts and audiobooks.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself:

This one is a bit nerdy, but I recently had the chance to debate Noam Chomsky’s work against my former boss, in front of Noam Chomsky and an astronaut. (I take part in reading group hosted by the Creative Destruction Lab at the University of Toronto that features quite an eclectic group of participants).

Why did you choose to work in dementia?

I am motivated to solve complex problems and I’ve seen this devastating group of diseases take so much from so many people who are important to me. I’m working to apply my skills and abilities to contribute where I can to help achieve a future where Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias can be better managed or ideally even prevented.

What single piece of advice would you give to an early career researcher?

Stay curious. (And protect time for yourself and things that matter to you outside of work).

What book are you reading right now? Would you recommend it?

I’m currently reading “Sideways: The city Google couldn’t buy” and yes, I would absolutely recommend it! (It features some interesting insights about my hometown, Toronto, Canada)

Can we find you on Twitter & Instagram?

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