Day 1 Keynote Speaker

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Todd Golub
Founding Member -
Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard

Todd Golub is the director and a founding core member of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. He is also the Charles A. Dana Investigator in Human Cancer Genetics at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. Golub is a world leader in using genomics tools to understand the basis of cancer. He also pioneered the development of new cell-based approaches to drug discovery for cancer and other diseases.

Opening Speaker

Vivek Wadhwa
Adjunct Professor - Carnegie Mellon's School of Engineering

Vivek Wadhwa is an American technology entrepreneur and academic. He is a Distinguished Fellow & Adjunct Professor at Carnegie Mellon's School of Engineering at Silicon Valley and a Distinguished Fellow at the Labor and Worklife Program at Harvard Law School. He is also the author of books Your Happiness Was Hacked: Why Tech Is Winning the Battle to Control Your Brain—and How to Fight Back, Driver in the Driverless Car, Innovating Women: The Changing Face of Technology, and Immigrant Exodus.

Research Breakout Sessions

Cameron Chen
Tech Lead Manager - Machine Learning, Google Health

Cameron is a staff software engineer and a tech lead manager of machine learning at Google Health. He received his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering and Neuroscience from Princeton University and his BS in Electrical Engineering from National Taiwan University. Cameron's primary research interests lie at the intersection of machine learning, healthcare, and science.

Emilio Alacron
Director of Bio-nanomaterials Chemistry and Engineering Laboratory - University of Ottawa Heart Institute

Dr. Emilio I. Alarcon is a Scientist in the Division of Cardiac Surgery and Director of the Bio-nanomaterials Chemistry and Engineering Laboratory at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute. He is also an Associate Professor in the Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Ottawa. His research is focused on the fabrication, development and implementation of new materials with regenerative capabilities for tissue regeneration of heart, skin, and soft tissues.

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Sowmya Viswanathan
Scientist - Schroeder Arthritis Institute, Associate Professor - University of Toronto 

Dr. Viswanathan is a Scientist at the Schroeder Arthritis Institute and the Krembil Research Institute (University Health Network) and an Assistant Professor at the Institute of Biomedical Engineering and at the Division of Hematology, Department of Medicine (University of Toronto). Her research is focused on developing anti-inflammatory cell-based therapies including next-generation mesenchymal stromal cell (MSC) therapies, engineered MSCs, 3D MSCs and immunotherapies. Dr. Viswanathan’s lab is also focused on bioprocess optimization and translation of these cell-based therapies into clinical investigations.

Stephanie Willerth
Full Professor and Canada Research Chair - BME, University of Victoria 

Dr. Willerth, a Full Professor in Biomedical Engineering, holds a Canada Research Chair in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Victoria where she has dual appointments in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and the Division of Medical Sciences. She serves as the Acting Director of the Centre for Biomedical Research and the Biomedical Engineering undergraduate program at the University of Victoria. Her research combines stem cells, tissue engineering, drug delivery, cellular reprogramming and 3D bioprinting, investigating neural tissue engineering treatments for disorders of the central nervous system and training highly qualified personnel. She recently founded the start-up company - Axolotl Biosciences.

Fireside Chat

Sheila Singh
Biochemistry and Surgery Professor, Chief Pediatric Neurosurgeon - McMaster Children’s Hospital

Dr. Sheila Singh is a professor of surgery and biochemistry, chief pediatric neurosurgeon at McMaster Children’s Hospital, inaugural director of the new Cancer Research Centre at McMaster University. She holds a Tier 1/ Senior Canada Research Chair in Human Brain Cancer Stem Cell Biology and is the founding Director of the McMaster Surgeon Scientist Program. She is also the scientific founder and prior CEO of a start-up company, Empirica Therapeutics, a brain cancer therapeutics company that is seeking new polytherapeutic treatment options for Glioblastoma and brain metastases, which was acquired by Century Therapeutics Inc, resulting in the creation of Century Canada. 

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Alison McGuigan
Associate Professor - Chem and BME, University of Toronto

Alison McGuigan is an Associate Professor in Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry and the Institute for Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Toronto and the Erwin Edward Hart Professor of Chemical Engineering. She obtained her undergraduate degree from the University of Oxford, her Ph.D. from the University of Toronto and completed Post Doctoral Fellowships at Harvard University and Stanford School of Medicine. Her research is focused on designing predictive heterogeneous tissue mimetic systems for understanding mechanisms of tissue assembly and disease and applying these systems to improve human health.

Drug Discovery Panel

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Inès Holzbaur
Co-Founder and Managing Partner - AmorChem

Inès is the co-Founder and Managing Partner of AmorChem, and she holds a PhD in chemistry from the University of Cambridge. As co-founder, she contributed significantly to the conception of the fund’s innovative early-stage life sciences investment model. She was responsible for several investments, including being actively involved in a major collaboration between Dr. Pascal Chartrand and Hoffman LaRoche, as well as participating in the sale of an asset to Vertex Pharmaceuticals. 

Jeffrey Miner
Founder and Chief Scientific Officer - Viscient Bio Inc

Dr. Jeffrey Miner has held executive leadership positions in pharmaceutical and life science companies for over 20 years. He currently serves as founder and Chief Scientific Officer for Viscient Bio Inc. Prior to Viscient, Dr. Miner was Executive Director of Biology at AstraZeneca and Senior Director of Ardea Biosciences. Dr. Miner has drug discovery experience in the Inflammation, Oncology, Endocrine, Hepatology and Cardiovascular therapeutic areas and his work has led to the development of multiple marketed medicines.

Vaidehi Joshi
Director of Discovery Biology - Vincent Bio Inc

Vaidehi Joshi is a research scientist and leader with 10 years of experience in developing unique therapeutic solutions for early-stage biotech such as Cerner Corporation, Baxter Bioscience, and Organovo Holdings Inc. Vaidehi is currently the Director of Discovery Biology at Vincent Bio Inc. Her expertise includes participation in groundbreaking research in the areas of tissue engineering, 3D cell biology and biomaterials, as well as the initial phases of preclinical development. 

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Elle is a third year PhD student in the department of Pharmacology at Yale University. Her graduate work in the lab of Dr. Craig Crews focuses on the development of novel therapeutic strategies. Elle attended Maryville College, and subsequently, UNC Charlotte where she had her first research experience in the lab of Dr. Richard Chi working on the development of genome-wide drug screens in S. cerevisiae. by cancer cell signaling research in the lab of Dr. John Brognard at the NCI/NIH. Elle is broadly interested in cancer signal transduction, cell biology and biotech development.

Elvira An
Graduate Student - Yale University 



Day 2 Keynote Speaker

Caleb Horst
President - CellScale Biomaterials Testing

Caleb Horst is a professional engineer with experience in product development, manufacturing, sales, marketing, and business development and the president of CellScale Biomaterials Testing. Since its inception at the University of Waterloo in 2005, Caleb has led CellScale from an academic spin-off to a market leader in biomaterials testing equipment. CellScale’s products can now be found in over 300 laboratories in 33 countries and in 450+ journal articles that present data generated using CellScale test systems. 

Closing Speaker

Brian Heath 
Vice-President and General Manager - Amgen Canada

Brian Heath was appointed to the position of vice president and general manager at Amgen Canada in October 2019, with the goal of providing solutions to address serious illness with innovative medicines. With 20 years of experience in the pharmaceutical and biotech industry, Brian’s efforts have consistently put patients first through his thoughtful discourse and collaborative partnership across the community of healthcare stakeholders. Brian’s work has been highlighted in Pharmaceutical Executive, with 3 Doctor’s Choice Awards, and by a PM360 Trailblazer Award.

Space Medicine Panel

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Joan Saary
Occupational Medicine Specialist Consultant - Canadian Forces Environmental Medicine Establishment (CFEME)

Dr. Saary is an Occupational Medicine specialist focussing on extreme environments. An Associate Professor at the University of Toronto, who also holds a Ph.D. in Medical Science, and Masters in Clinical Psychology, she also instructs at the Canadian Forces Environmental Medicine Establishment, where she is involved in aircrew selection for the Royal Canadian Air Force. She consults the Canadian Space Agency where she serves as the Chair of the Medical Standards and Health Evaluation working group for the International Space Station (ISS) program.

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Paul McBeth
Clinical Associate Professor - University of Calgary

Dr. Paul McBeth is a Clinical Associate Professor in the Departments of Surgery and Critical Care Medicine at the University of Calgary. He began his career as an engineer with post-graduate training in surgical robotics and human performance evaluation, including the design and development of Project neuroArm, an image-guided neurosurgical robot system. During his medical training, he continued to develop his research interests in robotics and remote ultrasound. Dr. McBeth also holds an Adjunct position at the Schulich School of Engineering, University of Calgary where he is involved in a number of technology development projects.

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Michael Gallagher 
President and CEO - Association of Spaceflight Professionals Inc

Dr. Michael Gallagher is the President and CEO of the Association of Spaceflight Professionals Inc., an organization developing early-stage human-in-the-loop space experiments and technologies. He became a finalist for the Aerospace Medical Association’s Jeff Myers Young Investigator Award for preliminary investigations into lower body negative pressure as a possible countermeasure for bone loss in space. He also practices family and dive medicine at the Canadian Forces Base in Esquimalt, British Columbia and cares for patients in rural communities in Alberta and Canada’s north.

Mahima Kapoor
Project Coordinator - Biotech Industry

Mahima has a BSc from the University of British Columbia (UBC) and is a project coordinator in the biotech industry. In her spare time, she hosts the Canadian Space Society podcast which features underrepresented narratives of Canadians working in the space industry and academia. She's interviewed astronaut Dave Williams, medical doctor Shawna Pandya, and even a classroom teacher who's bringing space coding to her classroom.