Dr. Abdullah Al-Ani was born in Mosul, Iraq before immigrating to Canada with his family at age 17. He completed his high school education in Windsor Ontario before moving to BC for his undergraduate degree. He completed his undergraduate degree in Biochemistry and Microbiology from the University of Victoria. His passion for mathematics, physics and molecular biology inspired him to seek a multidisciplinary PhD degree in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Calgary in Dr. Ungrin’s Laboratory.
Abdullah’s PhD research focused on blending molecular biology, stem cells and tissue engineering principles to design and produce retinal transplants for patients with retinal degenerative diseases. His PhD work yielded several publications and prestigious awards including ones from the Canadian Institute of Health Research and Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute. Abdullah subsequently joined the Leaders in Medicine MD-PhD program and graduated with both degrees in 2022, before joining Calgary’s ophthalmology residency program in the same year.
Throughout his academic career, Abdullah developed passion for innovation, which led him to collaborate with his colleagues co-found Innovation4health; a student-led initiative that catalyzes the formation of interdisciplinary teams by matching engineers and scientists with clinicians. These multidisciplinary teams produced outstanding solutions for clinical problems in various areas of medicine. The program catalyzed the production of >100 functional prototypes and attracted >$330,000 in funding. In addition to becoming a skillful ophthalmologist, Abdullah’s long-term career goal is to bridge the gap between science, engineering and clinical ophthalmology to catalyze ophthalmic innovation and serve his patients.
Abdullah is still exploring his clinical interests within the field of ophthalmology. He is involved in several local clinical research projects under the mentorship and supervision of Drs. Fiona Costello, Amin Kherani and Patrick Gooi.
When he is not in the clinical, laboratory or on the soccer field, Abdullah can be found hiking, skiing, or exploring Calgary’s evolving culinary scene.
|2022 – Present||OPHTHALMOLOGY RESIDENCY
Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada
|2019 – 2022||MEDICAL DOCTORATE (MD)
Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada
|2014 – 2019||DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY (PHD) IN BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING
Biomedical Engineering Graduate Program, Faculty of Engineering, University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada
|2008 – 2013||BACHELORS (BSC) IN BIOCHEMISTRY AND MICROBIOLOGY
Faculty of Science, University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
|2019 - 22||Canadian Institute of Health Research MD-PhD Award (3x)
Awarded to MD-PhD candidates with exceptional academic, leadership and research performance.
|2021||Dr. Lydia Sikora Memorial Award (First place)
Awarded to medical students demonstrating academic, research and leadership excellence.
|2021||Fighting Blindness Canada' s Eye On The Cure Competition -
Inspirational Award (Co-lead)
Awarded nationally to vision scientists with innovative research ideas that are well communicated.
|2016, 18 & 21||Best Presentation Award - Ophthalmology Research Day (3x)
Awarded to the student with the best presentation at the annual UofC Ophthalmology Research Day.
|2020||John M. S. Lecky Family Award in Medicine
Awarded to medical students with high academic performance at the Cumming School of Medicine.
|2014 - 20||Till & Mc Culloch Annual Conference Travel Awards (6x)
Awarded by the Canadian Stem Cell Network to students conducting cutting-edge stem cell research.
|2015, 17 & 18||Biomedical Engineering Research Scholarship (6x)
Awarded to Biomedical Engineering graduate students displaying academic and research excellence.
|2018||Graduate Representative Council Initiative Award
Awarded to graduate students who have led an impactful initiative at the University of Calgary.
|2016 & 17||Alberta Children's Hospital Research Institute Award (2x)
Awarded to PhD students demonstrating research, academic and leadership excellence.
|2016 & 17||Queen Elizabeth I I Graduate (PhD) Award (2x)
Awarded to PhD students demonstrating academic, research and leadership excellence.
|2014 & 17||Biomedical Engineering & Graduate Studies Travel Awards (3x)||$2,000|
|2014||Government of Alberta Graduate Student Scholarship||$3,000|
|2014||Biomedical Engineering Outstanding Academic Performance Award
Awarded to graduate students achieving outstanding academic performance in year 1 (GPA 4.0).
|2008||University of Victoria Entrance Scholarship
Awarded to students with outstanding academic performance in grade 12.
|2008||President’s Renewable Entrance Scholarship - University of Windsor
Awarded for demonstrating strong academic potential and graduating grade 12 with >95% average. DECLINED
|2021||UofC Department of Surgery COVID- 19 Research Grant Support the development of a cataract surgical simulator and a point-of-view surgical recording system. (With Drs. P. Gooi and P. Huang)||$5,400|
|2021||Calgary Eye Foundation Research Grant (Co-applicant) (2x) Support the purchase of a 3D printer and a supercomputer. These grants are awarded to outstanding research initiatives. (With Drs. Chung, Costello and Benard-Seguin)||$5,000|
|2020||Neuro Nexus Challenge 1 ST Place Prize (Team Grant) Worked in a multidisciplinary team to develop a deep learning algorithm to diagnose optic neuritis.||$10,000|
|2017 - 20||Innovation 4 Health Co- founder - Fundraising Collaborated with the other co-founders to fundraise cash prizes and in-kind services to run this program. Fundraised >$80,000 in cash and >$250,000 in-kind services.||$80,000|
|2014 - 17||Stem Cell Talks Co- director - Fundraising Collaborated with co-director to fundraise >$30,000 from various research institutes and industry. Utilized to cover guest speakers' flights, student transportation and food.||$30,000|
|2014 & 15||Biomedical Engineering Equipment Grant Competition (2x) Grants to purchase necessary equipment for various research projects.||$9,000|
Click on any projects below to see what the resident is working on. Select an open project if you are interested in doing a research internship with that resident!
- Âcimowin Waspison: Cultivating curiosity, sharing stories, and taking steps forward in Canada's 'Calls to Action'on June 16, 2022
- Scaffold-Free Retinal Pigment Epithelium Microtissues Exhibit Increased Release of PEDFon November 13, 2021
- Is Use of BMP-2 Associated with Tumor Growth and Osteoblastic Differentiation in Murine Models of Osteosarcoma?on December 4, 2020
- In Vitro Maturation of Retinal Pigment Epithelium Is Essential for Maintaining High Expression of Key Functional Geneson August 27, 2020
- Automated Hypothesis Generation to Identify Signals Relevant in the Development of Mammalian Cell and Tissue Bioprocesses, With Validation in a Retinal Culture Systemon June 26, 2020