Medical Innovation Fellows to generate new solutions

Western has recruited some of the top PhD graduates, medical students and residents from across the country to be part of the sixth cohort of its Medical Innovation Fellowship (MIF) program.

While some adaptations will take place because of COVID-19 restrictions, the program will still be host to all participants on campus over the course of the program’s 10-1/2 months. The fellowship immerses young scientists, engineers and clinicians in innovation and serves as a platform for starting and licencing a commercially viable product.

The fellowship – the first-of-its-kind in Canada – was established in partnership with the University of Minnesota Innovation Fellows program in 2015. Ordinarily, the majority of the fellowship is completed in Canada, with the initial five weeks spent working alongside Minnesota Innovation Fellows in an educational boot camp.

However, this year’s boot camp is going virtual. Beginning next month, participants will have two weeks online with Minnesota, and an additional week locally, where they will learn topics relevant to business and technology commercialization. The remaining two boot camp weeks will be spread out over the course of the program.

They will then then develop solutions and prototypes by working with researchers, clinicians and technology transfer offices to generate new intellectual property.

Because of restrictive access to local hospitals and clinics, participants this year will be remotely connected with physicians to discuss their project plans.

“There are a few hurdles this year and that, perhaps, can be seen as another lesson in how to overcome obstacles,” said Souzan Armstrong, MIF Program Director. “We’re all going to be together on campus, where teams will be able to help each other with their projects.”

Western’s BrainsCAN initiative committed more than $3.5 million over seven years to the program, along with MITACS and the Western Bone and Joint Institute’s Collaborative Training Program in Musculoskeletal Health Research.

This year’s participants include:

Sheyla Abdic
MSc, Master of Surgery, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, Western
MD, Paracelsus Medical University, Austria
BSc, Kinesiology and Health Sciences Honors, York University

During her undergraduate career, Sheyla Abdic originated a GPS-based mobile social app that facilitates consumer involvement in physical activity, secured a nationwide female entrepreneurship award and published a motivational book for female entrepreneurship. At Western, her research is focused on surgical innovation and implant design in reverse shoulder arthroplasty at the Hand and Upper Limb Centre at St. Joseph’s Hospital.

Sherif Abdou
PhD, Mechanical Engineering, MASc, Mechanical Engineering, McMaster University
BSc, Mechanical Engineering, Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt

A budding entrepreneur with a mechanical engineering background and a passion for interdisciplinary sciences, Sherif Abdou developed a novel micropump for lab-on-a-chip applications. He specializes in numerical modelling of engineering systems as well as computational fluid dynamics modelling of thermo-fluid systems. Abdou is passionate about technologies and applications that bridge the gaps between different sciences.

Saumik Biswas
PhD candidate, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Western
BSc (Honours), Medical Sciences, Brock University

The importance of medical innovation hits close to home for Saumik Biswas. His younger brother was diagnosed with a rare, sporadic bone disorder, which required complex treatment plans involving innovative surgical technologies. Biswas’ research primarily focused on explaining the interplay between mechanisms and disease pathogenesis in diabetic complications. He plans to be actively involved in translational research, where he too can improve the quality of lives of others through medical innovation – just like his brother received.

Kirill Fedorov
PhD, Biomedical Engineering, University of Toronto
BSc, Chemistry and Biology, University of Toronto

Kirill Federov’s doctoral thesis consisted of designing instruments for blood analysis and modifying surfaces for the reduction of catching on medical equipment. The thesis consisted of developing material surface coatings for plastics, metals, and ceramics used as different components of medical instruments. He wants a more sustainable approach to the medical industry, designing equipment with the intent of reducing waste.

Michael Lavdas
MESc, Biomedical Engineering, Western
BESc, Mechatronic Systems Engineering, Western

Michael Lavdas has received entrepreneurial training as a Graduate Student Innovation Scholar, delivered collaboratively by WORLDiscoveries and the Ivey School of Business. He has research experience in several fields including surgical robotics, micro CT imaging peripherals and ‘smart’ orthopaedic implantable devices for wireless infection monitoring. Prior to his graduate studies, Lavdas worked for Trudell Medical International, performing new product development, rapid prototyping and device testing functions in the respiratory medical device space.

Gordon Ngo
Resident PGY3, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Parkwood Institute
MD, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry and BESc, Electrical Engineering, Western

Gordon Ngo has had a lifelong interest in science and technology, from building model rockets to solar cars. He has previously been involved in the development and successful patenting of a vehicle operator alertness monitoring system. Integrating his background in engineering and medicine, he is passionate about bringing technological innovation to the multidisciplinary world of rehabilitation medicine, with the goal to improve patient function and quality of life.

Eveline Pasman
PhD candidate, University of British Columbia
MD, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen, The Netherlands

Eveline Pasman is currently finishing her PhD degree in Kinesiology at the University of British Columbia. Her PhD focuses on understanding the brain regions involved in postural instability with Parkinson’s disease, using a balance simulator to allow participants to perform balance tasks while in an MRI scanner. Pasman looks to combine her clinical and research backgrounds to drive medical innovation that improves the quality of life for those living with neurological diseases.

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Related:

Grants back medical innovation efforts, June 2018

Fellowship pushes boundaries of medical technologies, November 2016

New fellowship puts innovation at forefront, November 2015