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Keynote Speaker

Speakes - D1 Keynote
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Kiersten Combs
President - AstraZeneca Canada

Kiersten Combs is the President of AstraZeneca Canada Inc. (AZ Canada), part of AstraZeneca PLC, one of the world’s leading biopharmaceutical companies. With a strong passion for great science, improving patient care, and employee empowerment and engagement, Ms. Combs came to AZ Canada after playing a critical role in building and leading the company’s Cardiovascular & Metabolic Disease (CVMD) franchise in the U.S. Most recently, she served as Vice President – CVMD, where she was accountable for the strategic direction, marketing and sales for the company’s cardiovascular and diabetes business units. Prior to this, she led the global strategy for the launch and commercialization of roxadustat, a novel chronic kidney disease medicine, as the Global Vice President.

Future of Neurotechnology Panel

Speakers - RBS
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Taufik Valiante
Co-Director - Center for Advancing Neurotechnological Innovation to Application (CRANIA)

Dr. Valiante is interested in understanding the building blocks of the human brain (neurons), and the ultimate manifestation of their collective activity (oscillations to cognition – depending on the scale of investigation). He is currently the Director of the Surgical Epilepsy Program at the Krembil Neuroscience Center, Director of the Center for Advancing Neurotechnological Innovation to Application (CRANIA), a Scientist at the Krembil Research Institute, and has a cross-appointment at the Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering. His neurosurgical staff appointment is at the Toronto Western Hospital, and he is currently an Associate Professor of Neurosurgery at the University of Toronto.

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Frank Russo
Chief Science Officer - LUCID

Frank Russo is a professor of Psychology at Ryerson University, where he holds the NSERC-Sonova Senior Research Research Chair in Auditory Cognitive Neuroscience. He is also affiliate scientist at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, core member of the McMaster Institute for Music and the Mind (MIMM), and adjunct professor in Speech Language Pathology and Music at the University of Toronto. In his Science of Music Auditory Research and Technology (SMART) Lab at Ryerson, he conducts basic research on the biological, cognitive, and social-emotional bases of music and speech. He also engages in two related areas of applied research.

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Kerry Hu
Research Assistant - Michael Smith Laboratories, UBC

Kerry recently graduated from the University of Toronto with a specialist in Neuroscience and a focus in bioethics. She is fascinated by innovation in health technology and will leverage her passion for biotech to positively impact healthcare. Since her undergrad, she worked at HealthTech Connex in Vancouver as a clinical research assistant on an EEG-based neurotechnology device and supported a Digital Biomarkers project with IEEE. She is currently a research assistant at the Michael Smith Laboratories at UBC, creating brain organoid models for neuropsychiatric conditions like depression and Alzheimer’s disease.

Precision Medicine Fireside Chat

Speakers - Fireside
Speaker - Neurotech
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Vincent Mooser
Canada Excellence Research Chair in Genomic Medicine - McGill University

Vincent Mooser MD is the Canada Excellence Research Chair in Genomic Medicine at McGill University in Montreal since 2019. He has a broad experience in internal medicine, human genetics and genomics and pharmaceutical sciences. His work over the past 25 years (including 10 years in the industry) focuses on the exploitation of natural variations of the human genome to inform the discovery and development of novel therapeutics.

From Bench to Bedside: Achieving Clinical Translation Panel

Speakers - CEO
Neil Godera
Vice President, General Manager - Baylis Medical Technology

Neil has been with Baylis Medical for over 15 years. During this time, he has overseen the development of more than 100 products in the fields of cardiology, spinal surgery, and pain management. In 2009, Neil oversaw the successful transfer of the Baylis Pain Management division to Halyard Health (formerly Kimberly-Clark), and in 2015, Neil led the divestiture of the OsteoCool RF Ablation System to Medtronic Inc. Neil is an active member of the medical devices start-up community, a founding member of the Canadian Medical Manufacturers Association, and a board member for several organizations. He holds a Biomedical Engineering degree from University of Toronto’s department of Engineering Science.

Leila Kheradpir
Medical Devices Program Manager - Starfish Medical

Leila Kheradpir joined the Starfish Medical team in December of 2021 as a Program Manager, where she supports clients through their design and development journeys in the medical device industry. Prior to this, she worked as a Director of Hardware Engineering and Customer Service at Synaptive Medical where she lead a multidisciplinary engineering team during the design and development of Evry. This was supplemented by her background in mechanical engineering at the Toronto Metropolitan University and her Master of Science, Space Studies from the International Space University.

Alice Luo
Investment Analyst - Lumira Ventures

Alice joined Lumira Ventures in January 2022 following the Lumira Venture Innovation Program. Alice’s current focus is on conducting scientific and technical diligence of investment opportunities.  Alice holds a Ph.D. in pulmonary regenerative medicine from the University of Toronto. Prior to joining Lumira Ventures VIP, Alice was a Fellow with HaloHealth, a Canadian physician angel group where she evaluated investment opportunities in Canadian and U.S.-based health technology start-ups. During her time at HaloHealth, Alice was also a scientific consultant with Bloom Burton, a healthcare investment firm where she conducted research and data analysis across a broad range of projects to help drive investment decisions. 

Machine Learning & AI in Healthcare Panel

Speakers - Ml/AI
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Frank Rudzicz
Co-Founder of WinterLight Labs Inc.

Frank Rudzicz is a scientist at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute at Unity Health Toronto, an associate professor of Computer Science at the University of Toronto, co-founder of WinterLight Labs Inc., founding faculty member at the Vector Institute for Artificial Intelligence, and CIFAR Chair in Artificial Intelligence. His work is in machine learning in healthcare, especially in natural language processing, speech recognition, and surgical safety. His research has appeared in popular media such as Scientific American, Wired, CBC, and the New York Times, and in scientific press such as ACL, NeurIPS, JAMA, and Nature.

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Meelis Lootus
Director of AI Engineering - Sharecare

Meelis currently works as Director of AI Engineering at Sharecare, an American digital health company run by the founder of WebMD. His work focuses on the development of machine learning algorithms to diagnose health conditions in visual and voice data; by the discovery of patterns in large datasets. Meelis obtained his undergraduate degree in physics from the University of Bristol and his PhD in computer science from the University of Oxford (thesis “Automated radiological analysis of spinal MRI”). Since then, Meelis has co-founded and advised several companies, focusing on medical AI space, and is involved with the regulatory and standardisation aspects of clinical algorithms in IEEE.

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Muhammad Mamdani
Director - University of Toronto Temerty Faculty of Medicine Centre for Artificial Intelligence Research and Education in Medicine (T-CAIREM)

Dr. Mamdani is Vice President of Data Science and Advanced Analytics at Unity Health Toronto and Director of the University of Toronto Temerty Faculty of Medicine Centre for Artificial Intelligence Research and Education in Medicine (T-CAIREM). Dr. Mamdani’s team bridges advanced analytics including machine learning with clinical and management decision-making to improve patient outcomes and hospital efficiency. Dr. Mamdani is also Professor in the Department of Medicine of the Temerty Faculty of Medicine, the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy, and the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation of the Dalla Lana Faculty of Public Health. 

Ridhi Mittal
Software Developer – Opal Health Informatics Group

Ridhi is currently studying at McGill University with a major in Neuroscience and a double minor in Computer Science and Entrepreneurship. Her interests lie in the applications of machine learning and AI in healthcare, as well as the ethical implications of the emerging field. She is an AI4Good Lab Fellow, through which she collaborated with a team on a novel machine learning model for a virtual meeting tool that detects interruptions. She has also worked as a research assistant at the Opal Health Informatics Group at the MUHC Research Institute, exploring and implementing AI-powered matching algorithms to match patients for the purpose of peer support.

Closing Speaker

Speakers - closing
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Wolfram Goessling
Robert H. Ebert Professor of Medicine - Harvard Medical School

Wolfram Goessling, MD, Ph.D., is the Robert H. Ebert Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. He is an oncologist and gastroenterologist who treats patients with chronic liver disease and liver cancer. In his laboratory, Dr. Goessling seeks to identify the molecular signals that regulate liver development, regeneration and cancer formation using zebrafish and other model systems. He received his MD and doctorate from the University of Witten/Herdecke in Germany. He trained in Internal Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, served as Chief Medical Resident, and completed fellowship training in Hematology/Oncology at the combined Dana-Farber/Partners program and in Gastroenterology at the Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr. Goessling is the HMS Director of the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology and the Chief of the Gastroenterology Division at the Massachusetts General Hospital, where he holds the Jules L. Dienstag, MD and Betty and Newell Hale Endowed Chair in Gastroenterology.

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