Dr. Shawn Maloney is a scientist, an entrepreneur, a dad, a sports aficionado and an adventurer. He is also an expert on the blinding eye disease, retinitis pigmentosa (RP), which involves the gradual loss of the eye’s light-sensing photoreceptor cells. He became an expert by studying vision science at McGill University and Harvard, but he is also an expert because he was diagnosed with RP at the age of five and is now legally blind.
Living with RP has inspired Shawn to do incredible things, like travel the world and start his own business. But it has also fueled his deep interest in the science that aims to develop sight-saving treatments for RP and other degenerative eye diseases. After spending years in the lab studying RP, Shawn can get into some very in depth discussions about the disease, which is why it is so interesting to listen to his podcast: As I See It. The podcast (which is sort of like an online radio show) features Shawn’s fascinating interviews with vision scientists. Shawn explains, “there are questions that I have for scientists because I have vision loss and I am fortunate that my work experience allows me to ask certain questions. I’m personally navigating life with lower vision and asking the questions that matter most to me.” Shawn really enjoys interviewing people because he stumbles on the most interesting tidbits when he finds himself on an unexpected tangent.
In addition to getting to know the scientists, Shawn’s discussions offer a window on to the current state of knowledge. His probing questions are motivated by his overarching aim to learn more about where the science going and when it will get there. We want to know these answers too, so we will be listening in! You can listen to Shawn’s interviews with FFB-funded scientists Dr. Ian MacDonald and Dr. Michel Cayouette to learn more about gene therapy and stem cells. His interview with long-time FFB scientific expert, Dr. Bill Stell, provides a wonderful introduction to the genetic, electronic and cell-based therapies for eye diseases. We are eagerly awaiting the next episode!