Hospital  >  Departments  >  Ophthalmology & Vision Sciences  >  Welcome to Ophthalmology & Vision Sciences

Eye care team


Dr. Brian Ballios
Dr. Brian Ballios, MD, PhD, FRCSC, DABO

Staff Physician

Acquired and Inherited Diseases of the Retina, Vitreous and Choroid

Assistant Professor, Department of Ophthalmology and Vision Sciences

The J. Ardeth Hill – Fighting Blindness Canada Professor in Ocular Genetics Research

Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
2075 Bayview Ave
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
M4N 3M5

Phone: 416-480-5280
Fax: 844-222-4579

Clinical Profile

Administrative Assistants: Elsa Cienfuegos and Diana De Jesus
Ophthalmic Assistants: Josie Panaligan
Phone: 416-480-5280
Fax: 844-222-4579


  • Sc. in Engineering Chemistry, 2007, Queen’s University, Canada
  • PhD in Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, 2013, University of Toronto, Canada
  • MD, 2015, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Canada
  • Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, 2020
  • Clinical Fellowship in Inherited Retinal Disease, 2021, Massachusetts Eye and Ear, Harvard University, USA


Dr. Ballios is a fellowship-trained clinician scientist, with a focus on medical retinal disease and a subspecialty in inherited and genetic retinal disease. He holds appointment as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Ophthalmology and Vision Sciences at the University of Toronto. He also holds staff appointment as clinician scientist at the University Health Network in the Donald K. Johnson Eye Institute, and is a staff physician at the Kensington Vision and Research Centre. He is a Scientist at the Krembil Research Institute, where he has a laboratory investigating the mechanisms of retinal disease and the development of new stem cell-based therapies.

Dr. Ballios obtained both his Doctor of Medicine (MD) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) at the University of Toronto in the combined MD/PhD program. With a background in material science and Engineering Chemistry (Queen’s University), his doctoral work focused on new approaches to the transplantation of stem cells and their progeny for the treatment of retinal degeneration. After completing his FRCSC in Ophthalmology at the University of Toronto, he undertook a subspecialty clinical fellowship in Inherited Retinal Disease at Massachusetts Eye and Ear and Harvard University.

Research Profile

Taking advantage of collaboration in fundamental neurobiology, stem cell research, and bioengineering and biomaterials expertise, he developed the first injectable biomaterial-based delivery system for stem cell transplantation in the retina. He also demonstrated a method to differentiate stem cell-derived photoreceptors with unprecedented efficiency to replace damaged photoreceptors in retinal degeneration. His work showed the importance of both the biomaterial delivery vehicle and the maturation of these cells on their survival and integration into adult retina after transplantation. His research involves combining his cross-disciplinary experience in stem cell biology and tissue engineering to develop new approaches to the transplantation of stem cell progeny for the treatment of retinal disease; to advance our ability to isolate and purify stem cell-derived photoreceptors by studying lineage fate specification in retinal progenitors; to activate endogenous retinal stem cells and direct them towards retinal repair; and, more recently, to develop new materials to act as vitreous replacements to aid in vitreoretinal surgery and ocular regenerative medicine applications. He also is developing clinical studies and trials to bring new gene and cell therapies to patients with retinal disease. Dr. Ballios holds peer-reviewed funding from Fighting Blindness Canada (FBC), and the Foundation Fighting Blindness (FFB) U.S., and has previously been supported by the BrightFocus Foundation, the Retina Foundation of Canada, and the VitreoRetinal Surgery Foundation U.S..

Research Focus:

[1] Understanding the pathobiology of retinal disease, by establishing translational models of retinal degeneration;

[2] Discovering new therapeutics to treat retinal disease, using retinal and stem cell biology;

[3] Integrating new technologies, to enhance the performance of cell-based retinal therapies; and,

[4] Developing preclinical technologies to translate to first-in-human clinical studies

The overall goal of our work is to cure retinal blindness by discovering new therapies for inherited and acquired disease.


See PubMed or Scopus for current publications.