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May Griffith

Griffith, May

Full professor

Affiliation

Université de Montréal

Research Axes

Vision health

Contact information

Phone: 514-252-3400, poste4655

may.griffith@umontreal.ca

griffithresearch.ca

Team

  • Bijay Poudel
  • Fiona Simpson
  • Kamal Malhotra
  • Mostafa Zamani Roudbaraki
  • Mozhgan Aghajanzadeh
  • Natalia Callai da Silva
  • Neethi Thathapudi
  • Naoufal Akla
  • Cristina Bostan, Co-supervised intern
  • Hamid Goodarzi, Co-supervised intern
  • Karine Roversi, Co-supervised intern
  • Katiane Roversi, Co-supervised intern

Video

With a PhD in anatomy, May Griffith is the director of the Biomaterials for Corneal Regeneration Research Unit. A full professor in the Department of Ophthalmology at Université de Montréal, she is the Caroline Durand Foundation Chair in Cell Therapy for Eye Diseases at Université de Montréal and also the Canada Research Chair in Biomaterials and Stem Cells in Ophthalmology (Tier 1).

Her multinational interdisciplinary team is recognized for successfully regenerating the world's first human cornea using biosynthetic implants in a clinical trial. Her research focuses on “developing organs from the inside.” With her team, she is developing biomaterials as implants to promote the regeneration of patient organs by stimulating their endogenous cells to perform the repair. They successfully tested the concept of human corneal regeneration in an innovative clinical trial of 10 patients and a follow-up clinical trial in patients at a high-risk of rejecting conventional corneal transplants from a donor. The team is also testing their biomaterials in other target organs.

Research Unit

Biomaterials for Corneal Regeneration

Dr. Griffith does research in tissue engineering. In December 1999, she and her team produced the first functional tissue that is equivalent to human corneal tissue. Her research results were published in the journal Science and attracted public attention. Pharmaceutical and consumer industries are interested in applications for corneal equivalents because they let companies avoid animal testing. Recently, Dr. Griffith worked with Dr. David Carlsson of the National Research Council Canada and other members of the tissue engineering team to develop a graft prototype that can be used as a substitute for human donor tissue. The biosynthetic corneas created from this research are currently being tested. The preliminary results indicate that these new biomaterials let host tissues regenerate.

Dr. Griffith's success is largely due to her ability to develop and coordinate collaborations with other scientists to build a global team of researchers from diverse backgrounds who work together to solve difficult problems. Her corneal research has led to a number of major partnerships between academia and industry as well as to invitations to participate in and speak at international ophthalmology conferences and meetings. Dr. Griffith's distinctions include the Premier's Research Excellence Award, an NSERC Faculty of Medicine Award, and a University of Ottawa Young Researcher of the Year Award. She was also named to Canada’s list of Top 40 Under 40.

  • Simpson FC, McTiernan CD, Islam MM, Buznyk O, Lewis PN, Meek KM, Haagdorens M, Audiger C, Lesage S, Gueriot F-X, Brunette I, Robert M-C, Olsen D, Koivusalo L, Liszka A, Fagerholm P*, Gonzalez-Andrades M*, Griffith M* (2021) Collagen analogs with phosphorylcholine are inflammation-suppressing scaffolds for corneal regeneration from alkali burns in mini-pigs. Commun Biol. 2021; 4(1):608. doi: 10.1038/s42003-021-02108-y (* equivalent contribution)
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  • McTiernan CD, Simpson FC, Haagdorens M, Samarawickrama C, Hunter D, Buznyk O, Fagerholm P, Ljunggren MK, Lewis P, Pintelon I, Olsen D, Edin E, Groleau M, Allan BD*, Griffith M* (2020) LiQD Cornea: Pro-regeneration collagen mimetics as patches and alternatives to corneal transplantation. Sci Adv. 6(25):eaba2187. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.aba2187 (* equivalent contribution)
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  • Khatoon Z, Guzman-Soto I, McTiernan CD, Lazurko C, Simpson F, Zhang L, Cortes D, Mah T-F, Griffith M*, Alarcon EI* (2020) Nanoengineering the surface of corneal implants: towards functional anti-microbial and biofilm materials. RSC Adv. 10: 23675–23681 (*Corresponding authors)
  • Jangamreddy JR, Haagdorens MKC, Islam MM, Lewis P, Samanta A, Fagerholm P, Liszka A, Ljunggren MK, Buznyk O, Alarcon EI, Zakaria N*, Meek KM*, Griffith M*. Short peptide analogs as alternatives to collagen in pro-regenerative corneal implants. Acta Biomater, 2018; doi.org/10.1016/j.actbio.2018.01.011
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  • Islam MM, Buznyk O, Reddy JC, Pasyechnikova N, Alarcon EI, Hayes S, Lewis P, Fagerholm P, He C, Iakymenko S, Liu W, Meek KM*, Sangwan VS*, Griffith M*. Biomaterials-enabled cornea regeneration in patients at high risk for rejection of donor tissue transplantation. npj Regenerative Medicine, 2018; 3 (2): doi:10.1038/s41536-017-0038-8 (* equivalent contribution)
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  • Samarawickrama C, Samanta A, Liszka A, Fagerholm P, Buznyk A, Griffith M*, Allan B* (2017) Collagen-based fillers as alternatives to cyanoacrylate glue for the sealing of large corneal perforations. Cornea 37: 609-616 (* equivalent contribution)

  • Alarcon EI, Vulesevic B, Argawal A, Ross A, Bejjani P, Podrebarac J, Ravichandran, R, Phopase J, Suuronen EJ, Griffith M. Coloured cornea replacements with anti-infective properties: Expanding the safe use of silver nanoparticles in regenerative medicine. Nanoscale, 2016; 8(12):6484-9. doi: 10.1039/c6nr01339b.
  • Mak WC, Cheung KY, Orban J, Lee CJ, Turner AP, Griffith M. Surface engineered contact lens as an advanced theranostic platform for modulation and detection of viral infection. ACS Appl Mater Interfaces, 2015; 7: 25487-25494.
  • Fagerholm P, Lagali NS, Ong JA, Merrett K, Jackson WB, Polarek JW, Suuronen EJ, Liu Y, Brunette I*, Griffith M*. Stable corneal regeneration four years after implantation of a cell-free recombinant human collagen scaffold. Biomaterials, 2014; 35: 2420-2427 (* equivalent contribution)
  • Fagerholm P, Lagali NS, Merrett K, Jackson WB, Munger R, Liu Y, Polarek JW, Söderqvist M, Griffith M. A biosynthetic alternative to human donor tissue for inducing corneal regeneration: 24 month follow-up of a Phase I clinical study. Science Transl Med, 2010; 2: 46ra61
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Education

  • MBA

    University of Ottawa

  • Postdoctoral fellowship in anatomy and cell biology

    Harvard Medical School

  • Postdoctoral fellowship in physiology

    University of Alberta

  • PhD in anatomy

    University of Toronto

  • MSc in zoology

    University of Toronto

  • BSc in zoology and human biology

    University of Toronto

Awards

  • 2019 Canada Research Chair  (Biomaterials and Stem Cells in Ophthalmology, Tier 1)
  • 2011 Medal of the year for contributions to nanomaterial integration and regenerative medicine  (International Association of Advanced Materials – IAAM Nanomedical Technology)
  • 2007 Life Sciences Achievement Award  (Ottawa Centre for Research and Innovation – OCRI)
  • 2001 Canada's Top 40 Under 40 Award
  • 2000 Premier's Research Excellence Award
  • 2000 Young Researcher of the Year Award  (University of Ottawa)
  • 1993 Faculty of Medicine Award  (Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, NSERC)