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About Sickkids
About SickKids

Helen Dimaras, PhD

The Hospital for Sick Children
Director of Global Eye Health Research
Ophthalmology and Vision Sciences

Centre for Global Child Health

Research Institute
Child Health Evaluative Sciences

University of Toronto
Assistant Professor
Ophthalmology & Vision Sciences, Faculty of Medicine

Assistant Professor
Clinical Public Health, Dalla Lana School of Public Health

Other Positions

University of Nairobi
Human Pathology, College of Health Sciences
Honorary Lecturer

Phone: 416 813 7654 x 201876
Fax: 416 813 2199
Email: helen.dimaras@sickkids.ca

For more information, visit:

Dimaras Lab Site

Brief Biography

Dr. Helen Dimaras completed a PhD in Molecular & Medical Genetics at the University Toronto in 2007. Her graduate research filled a 25-year gap in knowledge about the childhood eye cancer retinoblastoma, showing the first molecular evidence of disease progression from benign to malignant tumor. While initially encouraged by the idea that her research could help save lives and vision, she was struck by the fact that for the majority of the world’s affected children, namely those in the global south, chance at survival was so low that the results of her genetic research were for not yet relevant to their care.

A post-doctoral fellowship at The Hospital for Sick Children (2007-2011) in clinical trials and global health gave Dimaras the opportunity to switch direction slightly, and study methods aimed at reducing the disparity in cancer care around the world.

In 2011, she was appointed Assistant Professor in the Department of Ophthalmology & Vision Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and later cross-appointed to the Division of Public Health, Dalla Lana School of Public Health. She also holds an honorary lecturer position at the University of Nairobi.

Dr. Dimaras joined SickKids as Scientist (CHES) and Director of Global Eye Health Research, Ophthalmology & Vision Sciences in 2015.


Dr. Dimaras teaches undergraduate courses in genetics and global health within the U of T Human Biology Program, and a module on Technology & Innovation for global health for the Post Graduate Medical Education’s Global Health Education Initiative. Her interest in global health education has also led her to study the ethics of voluntourism and global health study abroad/service learning experiences.

Research Interests

Dr. Dimaras’ research spans the disciplines of global health, cancer genetics and clinical science. She is currently studying approaches to reduce the global retinoblastoma survival gap that results in poor survival in developing countries. Key initiatives include the design and evaluation of a centralized digital cancer pathology laboratory; design of comprehensive cancer genetics services to meet the needs of low-resource settings; and the development of a global retinoblastoma map, One Retinoblastoma World, to track patients, treatment resources and collaborations worldwide.


For a list of all publications visit: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=Dimaras