About us

The company's background

  • Team

    Soufiane Ajana


    Soufiane has a background in mathematics and statistics. He developed the technology commercialized by RetiNov during his PhD in epidemiology as part of the EyeRisk consortium funded by the European Horizon 2020 program. He is a 2021 winner of BPI France’s i-PhD innovation program. He also attended the HEC Challenge + program to acquire a solid grounding in entrepreneurship. Today, he guides RetiNov’s technological, regulatory and strategic vision. Finally, AMD runs in his family. So, bringing this project to fruition is a promise he has made to family members suffering from the disease, and one he intends to keep.

    Jean Le pavec


    Jean is an engineer (X-Ponts), MBA, MSc in Cognitive Sciences (ENS Ulm). He began his career in signal processing for electroencephalographic (EEG) imaging at INRIA. He developed several start-ups in modeling and digital (open innovation), intersecting a career in administration (Bercy, French Embassy in China). Jean is in charge of RetiNov’s administrative and financial management.

    Thibaud Lefèvre

    Tech Advisor

    Thibaud is an accomplished Software Engineer with significant experience in various tech startups. He is a serial entrepreneur with more than 12 years of experience at C-level positions (mainly CTO). Beyond technical proficiency, he is also staying current with industry trends, especially in healthcare where he has more than 8 years of experience. Thibaud leads the technical developments at RetiNov.

    Lindsay King


    Lindsay is a veteran startup marketer with over 12 years experience. Since 2017, she’s worked with tech companies from Series B through to IPO. Most recently, she worked in the brand marketing team at European unicorn, N26. In the past, she has held positions in proptech, fintech, and ridesharing, most notably at Uber. A dual citizen of the United States and France, she is excited to help bring French technical excellence to market in her home country. She is also a proud alumna of UC Berkeley.

    Carolina Delerue

    Web Developer

    As a sociologist, I spent 5 years working as a statistics engineer within the French Ministry. During this period, I developed a tool specialized in statistical analysis of youth integration and education. I made it a point of honor to make my data accessible to as many people as possible through computer tools. Following this enriching experience, I felt the need to challenge myself further and explore a new career path. In order to bridge the gap between technicality and theoretical concepts, I transitioned my career into web development. Thus, after undergoing training and gaining experience with Nuxt.js (a Vue.js framework) as a web developer, I enthusiastically joined the Retinov team. Today, I take great pride in being able to reconcile my core skills: sociology, statistics, and web development in support of a noble cause.

  • Scientific Board

    Cécile Declourt


    Cécile is a research director at the French National Institute of Health (INSERM), where she supervised Soufiane’s thesis and was PI of the European EyeRisk consortium. She is internationally recognized for her work in identifying risk factors for major eye diseases. She has led two major population-based epidemiological studies in this field since 1995 (POLA and ALIENOR). From 2011 to 2018, she founded and led the E3 (European Eye Epidemiology) consortium, bringing together 32 teams from 13 European countries, and was workpackage leader in two European projects (EyeRisk (2015-2019) and SenseCog (2016-2022)), awarded as part of the European Horizon 2020 program. She has been principal investigator on several national grants, including the ANR BLISAR project (2014-2018). She is the author of over 200 articles published in international journals. She also received the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) Achievement Award in 2019. Cécile is helping startup RetiNov steer its technological developments, mainly in the context of developing a blood biomarker reflecting lifestyle exposures and predictive of AMD risk.


    MD, PhD

    Jean-François has been Professor of Ophthalmology at Bordeaux University Hospital since 1999, and Head of the Ophthalmology Department since May 2013. He is the author of over 200 articles published in international scientific journals. He is involved in clinical research studies, mainly focusing on the epidemiology of eye and retinal diseases (AMD, diabetic macular edema, retinal detachment, etc.). Jean-François is a member of the Société Française d’Ophtalmologie (SFO) (former president from May 2013 to May 2015), the Club Francophone des Spécialistes de le Rétine (CFSR), the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), Association for Reasearch in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO), American Society of Retina Specialists (ASRS), Euretina, European association for Vision and Eye Research (EVER) and Club Jules Gonin (board member). He also participates in expert council meetings for pharmaceutical organizations such as Bayer, Novaris, Roche, Allergan, Laboratoires Théa and retinograph manufacturers such as Zeiss. Jean-François connects RetiNov with European ophthalmologists for beta-testing studies.


    MD, PhD

    Catherine is currently Head of the Ophthalmology Department and Head of the Ambulatory Surgery Unit at Dijon University Hospital. She is the author of over 200 articles published in international scientific journals. Her main areas of interest are retinal surgery, diabetic retinopathy and AMD. Catherine was also President of the French Ophthalmological Society (SFO) in 2016. She was Chair of the Education Committee of the European Board of Ophthalmology (EBO) and President of the EBO from 2013 to 2015. As head of the research division at Dijon University Hospital since 2012, she is in charge of all the hospital’s research programs and has been coordinator of three national clinical trials as part of the Programme Hospitalier de Recherche Clinique (PHRC). She has been a consultant to the Haute Autorité de Santé (HAS) and an expert advisor to the Agence Nationale de Sécurité du Médicament (ANSM) since 1999 on dry eye, allergy, nutrition, AMD and diabetic retinopathy. She was named Chevalier des Palmes Académiques in 2011 and Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur in 2013 (highest national distinction). Catherine is helping RetiNov to steer its strategy for penetrating the European market by leveraging her network.

    Ellen Butts


    Ellen is the Director of the Optometry and Contact Lens Service at the UPMC Eye Center. She holds the position of Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Pittsburgh where she provides primary eye care and works in association with the Glaucoma Division. She founded and serves as the Director of UPMC’s Optometry Residency and Externship programs. Dr. Butts was listed in Newsweek as the 28th Optometrist in the Nation 2021 and is the 2018 recipient of the Low Vision Award of Excellence. Ellen is collaborating with RetiNov to design and launch a clinical study at UPMC as the principal investigator.

    Bénédicte Merle


    Bénédicte, a dietician by training, is interested in the impact of nutrition on eye diseases such as AMD and visual impairment. After a doctoral thesis in epidemiology at the University of Bordeaux, two post-doctorates in the ophthalmology department of the Centre Hospitalier Intercommunal de Créteil and at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, she is currently an INSERM research fellow. Bénédicte has worked on several large French and US cohorts on AMD, with the objective of studying with the influence of lifestyle on ocular health, from overall lifestyle patterns (eg, dietary patterns) to biomarkers of the exposome. Bénédicte helps RetiNov with the design of the dietary interventions for patients at risk of AMD.

    Niyazi Acar


    Niyazi is Director of Research at INRAe, where, with Catherine Creuzot-Garcher, he heads the Eye, Nutrition and Cell Signaling team. The team’s scientific themes focus on the role of dietary lipids in the physiology of the eye and retina, and the development of innovative tools and therapies for the management of patients suffering from visual pathologies. Niyazi Acar trained as a physiologist at university, specializing in lipid nutrition, followed by a PhD thesis dedicated to the impact of dietary lipids on retinal and cerebral neurons during development and aging. Niyazi worked closely with Cécile and Soufiane on the ANR Blisar project to predict omega-3 content in the retina using a circulating biomarker. This research resulted in a patent filed in Europe, the USA and Japan. Niyazi is now collaborating with RetiNov to develop a nutritional blood biomarker predictive of the risk of advanced AMD.

  • Advisory Board

    Howard Purcell

    OD, FAAO

    Howard is President of the New England College of Optometry (NECO). Prior to his appointment, he served as the Senior Vice President, Customer Development for Essilor of America. Prior to joining Essilor he spent 13 years as Senior Director of Professional Affairs for Johnson & Johnson Vision Care. Howard is a Diplomate in the Cornea and Contact Lens Section of the American Academy of Optometry. Howard actively contributes to RetiNov‘s success by facilitating the development of strategic partnerships with key stakeholders in the vision industry, as well as playing a pivotal role in the beta test launch of its Orusight platform with optometrists nationwide in the USA.

    Jean Carrier

    Jean is a board-certified director (INSEAD). A former senior executive and CEO with successful experience in healthcare and consumer goods, he was COO of Essilor (now EssilorLuxottica) from 2014 to 2020 and CEO of Essilor of America from 2007 to 2014. Jean has extensive international experience in strategic positions in North America, Asia and Europe, as well as expertise in business, product and service innovation. He also has extensive experience in acquisitions (over 150), mergers and integrations. Jean is a former board member of Essilor, Transitions Optical, several joint ventures and non-profit boards. Jean is currently supporting RetiNov in its strategy to penetrate the North American market.


    Marie-Laure was the CEO of MesDocteurs, a major telehealth player and subsidiary of the VyV group. She is also vice-president of LET, the professional association for telemedicine companies. A graduate of the Institut d’Etudes Politiques and with a Master’s degree in organizational management, Marie-Laure is an expert in the management of development and transformation plans. As a consultant, executive committee member and entrepreneur, she has worked with Atos France, SNCF, La Poste, Vivendi and MNT. Marie-Laure is supporting RetiNov in its telehealth deployment strategy.

    Laurent Lévy

    Laurent has over 25 years of experience in IT services and management of tech companies. He set up and run several companies and offshore delivery centers in Europe, Asia and North America. In 2009, he started from scratch the Chinese subsidiary of Groupe Open. He signed several distribution contracts for European ISV and developed digital marketing and logistics’ centers of expertise serving Fortune 500 companies in Retail, Healthcare, Fashion as well as state owned Chinese companies. In 2018, he moved to the USA and started Europass Inc, a digital marketing and mobile solution company focusing on Chinese outbound tourism. In 2019, he signed a deal with New York City (largest western destination for Chinese tourists). Laurent is involved as an investor or advisor in several companies helping them grow on the US market. Laurent supports RetiNov in penetrating the US market and helps with the fundraising with American investors.

    Baris Ersezer

    Baris has a long and successful career in software and quality engineering, spanning over 20 years. He specializes in creating digital solutions for the medical field, such as medical devices and software as medical devices. He has worked as a founder & CTO of a startup and as a senior leader in a corporate environment such as Johnson & Johnson, Merck and Novartis. Baris is currently supporting RetivNov in its product development and technology strategy.

    Stephane Wolf


    Stephane is a senior executive with over 25 years’ experience at Novartis. He has been working in the field of ophthalmology for over 10 years, and was instrumental in making Lucentis a double blockbuster. More recently, he has focused on bringing non-drug solutions to the visually impaired, using transformative technologies to improve patient outcomes and their daily lives. Stephane holds an MBA from London Business School and Columbia Business School. He is a board member of “The Apfelschule”, a non-profit organization dedicated to making technology accessible to visually impaired patients. Stephane supports RetiNov in its commercial strategy with major pharmaceutical groups.