Hoping to improve the lives of kidney transplant recipients using innovative imaging, Eno Hysi (Biomedical Physics PhD ’20) waits on standby to be called into the operating room at St. Michael’s Hospital, Unity Health Toronto, one of Canada’s leading centres in kidney transplant and care.
When a kidney is recovered from a donor, Hysi is on hand to assess its quality. Using a standard ultrasound machine paired with a laser and configured through his unique algorithms, Hysi’s noninvasive photoacoustic technique combines sound and light to examine kidneys for fibrotic damage. Kidneys without scarring lead to better outcomes for transplant recipients.
In recognition of this work, Hysi, a Banting and Kidney Research Scientist Core Education and National Training (KRESCENT) post-doctoral fellow, received the prestigious Polanyi Prize in Physics—named for the 1986 Nobel Prize Laureate, John Charles Polanyi. “The past recipients have been some of the most respected names in science in Ontario,” Hysi says. “It’s a tremendous honour to be in their midst.”
Hysi was already using photoacoustics to monitor the treatment response of cancerous tumours as part of his PhD when he met his collaborator, nephrologist Dr. Darren Yuen, through the Institute for Biomedical Engineering, Science and Technology (iBEST), a partnership with St. Michael’s Hospital. “I didn’t know anything about kidneys, transplants or being in an operating room,” says Hysi. “But using my scientific training to collaborate with clinicians has allowed me to contribute in ways I had never imagined.”
An early student of the Medical Physics undergraduate program at the Toronto Metropolitan University, Hysi did all three of his degrees here (bachelor of science ’10, master of science ’12 and PhD ’20). He credits his mentor Michael Kolios for inspiring his love of research and credits the university for his successes. “Just as the university grew in size and reputation, I grew up alongside it,” he says. “Here, I learned everything I needed to become a scientist.”