We are happy to announce the speakers for the 2021 BE Symposium at the University of Windsor on Friday, October 29th, 2021. Stay tuned as speakers are added!
Keynote Address: The Really Bad Cholesterol: Lipoprotein(a) as a Causal Risk Factor for Cardiovascular Disease
Michael Boffa - Associate Professor, University of Western Ontario
Dr. Michael Boffa received his BSc, MSc, and PhD degrees from the Department of Biochemistry, Queen’s University (Kingston, Ontario, Canada). He began my research on thrombin-activatable fibrinolysis inhibitor (TAFI) while pursuing his doctoral studies under the supervision of Dr. Michael Nesheim. His first academic appointment was as Assistant Professor in this Department in 2004. In 2008, he moved to the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry at University of Windsor (Windsor, Ontario, Canada); he was promoted to Associate Professor and received tenure in 2014. He was the inaugural Academic Director of the Master of Medical Biotechnology program at University of Windsor. Since 2016, he has been Associate Professor in the Department of Biochemistry at The University of Western Ontario (London, Ontario, Canada). His research into structure-function relationships in TAFI, the role of TAFI in breast cancer metastasis, and the metabolism and pathophysiological function of lipoprotein(a) is funded by NSERC and CIHR.
Marlys Koschinsky - Professor, University of Western Ontario
Dr. Marlys Koschinsky is an internationally recognized expert on lipoprotein(a). She holds a PhD in Biochemistry from the University of British Columbia and did her post-doctoral work at Genentech Inc. (San Francisco, CA, 1988-1991), where she first began her work on lipoprotein(a). She has worked on many aspects of lipoprotein(a) biology since, with funding from provincial and national sources, charitable foundations, and the private sector. She collaborates with investigators worldwide including basic scientists and clinicians. She has delivered over 120 invited presentations in 8 different countries and has published over 165 peer-reviewed articles. In addition to attaining the rank of Full Professor at Queen’s University in 2001, Dr. Koschinsky has held numerous administrative posts including as Director of the Queen’s Cardiac, Circulatory, and Respiratory Research Program (2002-2008), Dean of Science at University of Windsor (2008-2015) and Scientific and Executive Director of Robarts Research Institute at Western University in London, Canada. Dr. Koschinsky has been the recipient of many honours and awards in recognition of her research and leadership contributions including Fellow of the American Heart Association, Fellow of the National Lipid Association, and Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences, and has been named to the Order of Ontario.
Keynote Address: Immune engineering for precision health
Lonnie Shea - Collegiate Professor, University of Michigan
Lonnie Shea is the Steven A. Goldstein Collegiate Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Michigan (U-M), which is joint between the College of Engineering and the School of Medicine. He received his PhD in chemical engineering and scientific computing from U-M in 1997, working with Professor Jennifer Linderman. He then served as a postdoctoral fellow with then Chemical Engineering Professor David Mooney in the Department of Biologic and Materials Science at the U-M Dental School. Shea was recruited to Northwestern University’s Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering and was on the faculty from 1999 to 2014. In 2014, Shea was recruited to the University of Michigan as chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering, with his recruitment coinciding with the endowment of the chair position by William and Valerie Hall. His term as chair completed on June 30, 2021. He is the Steven A. Goldstein Collegiate Professor of Biomedical Engineering and is an internationally recognized researcher at the interface of regenerative medicine, drug and gene delivery, and immune-engineering, whose focus is on preventing tissue degeneration or promoting tissue regeneration. His projects include islet transplantation for diabetes therapies, nerve regeneration for treating paralysis, autoimmune diseases and allogeneic cell transplantation, and diagnostics for immune dysfunction in cancer and autoimmunity. He is currently PI or co-PI on 7 NIH grants (6R01’s, 1 R21). Shea has published more than 250 manuscripts. He served as director of Northwestern’s NIH Biotechnology Training Grant. He has received the Clemson Award from the Society for Biomaterials, and also the recipient of their 2021 Technology Innovation and Development Award for his development of nanoparticles for tolerance in autoimmune disease. Shea is a fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) and the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES), a member of the editorial boards for multiple journals such as Molecular Therapy, Biotechnology and Bioengineering, and the Journal of Immunology and Regenerative Medicine.
Career Panel Discussion
Anna Podlesnaia - Research & Development Project Manager, Abbott
Anna Podlesnaia received her Master of Medical Biotechnology from the University of Windsor in 2017, a certificate in Management and Economics in Pharmacy from the Saint-Petersburg State Medical University in 2012, and a PharmD from the Saint-Petersburg State Chemical Pharmaceutical University in 2011. Anna began her career as a Pharmacist and worked as a Medical Specialist at a large sized international pharmaceutical company in Russia. In this role, Anna developed business relationships with local key opinion leaders, supported the efficacy study of a newly marketed drug, and organized promotional events for medical professionals. Prior to joining Abbott as an R&D Project Manager at the Ottawa location, Anna Podlesnaia worked as a Science Project Coordinator at Aphria - one of Canada’s largest cannabis companies, where she managed multiple scientific and clinical research projects as well as developed cannabis-based formulations. Her professional interests include effective communication across the organization, team leadership, influencing without authority, and all aspects of managing R&D projects including planning, scoping, budgeting, scheduling, executing, and quality control.
Tony D'Amore - Vice President Product Research & Development, Sanofi Pasteur
Tony joined Sanofi Pasteur in 1994 (then Connaught Laboratories) as a Purification Scientist. He has taken on a number of leadership roles within the Company. Since July 2015, Tony has taken on the role of Vice-President, Global Product Research & Development, responsible for process and analytical development, the manufacture of clinical trial material and the delivery of clinical supplies to the clinical trial sites. He leads a global group of over 500 staff. He holds a PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Windsor and a MBA from Wilfred Laurier University.
Harpreet Kaur - Operational Quality Specialist, Bora Pharmaceutical
Harpreet Kaur in her current role as Operational Quality Specialist at Bora Pharmaceutical is passionate and results-driven pharmaceutical regulatory specialist. In her previous roles, she served as Operational Quality Specialist and Quality Control at GSK, Toronto. Harpreet has extensive experience in product manufacturing operations, packaging, quality control testing, data review, deviation handling, customer complaint handling, audits, technical report writing, and project management. She is proficient in successful approaches for operations and new product launches. Harpreet is excited about research and development programs and cutting-edge innovations focused on enhancing patient well-being.
Development and application of CRISPR and other gene-editing nucleases
David Edgell - Professor, University of Western Ontario
David Edgell graduated from the University of Victoria with a BSc in Biochemistry and Microbiology. Following a PhD at Dalhousie University in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, he completed postdoctoral work at SUNY-Albany and the Wadsworth Center in Albany NY. There, his research focused on the evolution and mechanisms of mobile genetic element. In 2003, Dr. Edgell joined the Department of Biochemistry, Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry at Western. Dr. Edgell was a recipient of a CIHR New Investigator Award, an Early Researcher Award from the Ontario Government, and a university Faculty Scholar. Dr. Edgell was Acting Chair of the Department of Biochemistry from 2017-2019 and was Director of the non-thesis MSc program from 2013-2016. For the past 10 years, Dr. Edgell’s lab has been working the field of genome editing and synthetic biology. He has developed CRISPR-based genome editing nucleases for the modification of mammalian, algal and bacterial genomes. Current CRISPR research relates to understanding and predicting CRISPR function in bacteria and developing and testing novel CRISPR variants. Recently, his lab developed methodologies for overexpression and purification of SARS-CoV-2 antigens from eukaryotic microalgae for use in diagnostic testing. His laboratory is currently funded by CIHR, NSERC, and MITACS. Dr. Edgell is the nominated Expert Researcher for the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry in the area of CRISPR and synthetic biology.
Employment in the Health Sciences Industry: What companies are looking for, getting hired and being a great employee
Sean Peel - Chief Scientific Officer, Red Rock Regeneration Inc.
Sean is a scientist and entrepreneur with 25 years of experience in biotherapeutic and medical device development. After his post doctoral fellowship he moved from academia to industry joining GenSci Regeneration Sciences Inc. as a scientist where he worked for 4 years supporting the successful development of products for bone repair and regeneration. After this he worked as a senior scientist at Osteopharm Inc., where he also sat on the company’s management committee. He then worked as an independent consultant providing project management support to various health science companies. Sean then co-founded Induce Biologics Inc., where as Chief Scientific Officer he was involved in all aspects of the company’s operation from product development and manufacturing to human resources and financial planning. Sean then joined the Ontario Biotechnology Innovation Organization to establish and lead their Health to Business Bridge program which equips talent with the skills, knowledge and resources they need to get up to speed quickly once hired by Health Science companies. Sean is currently the Chief Scientific Officer of Red Rock Regeneration where he took their Natural Matrix Protein (NMP) graft from concept to launch in under 12 months. He has served as a mentor for health science graduates, graduate trainees and scientists considering careers outside of academic research and has often spoken at events about non-academic career paths for life science students.
We are happy to announce the speakers for the 2017 BE Symposium at the University of Windsor on Friday, September 29th, 2017. Stay tuned as speakers are added!
Keynote Address: Pharmaceutical Entrepreneurship
Ken Massey - Senior Director of Venture Development, Wayne State University
Dr. Ken Massey’s (Ph.D., University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, and B.S. Eastern Michigan University) combined 28 years of biomedical research and business experience in the academic, pharmaceutical and biotech arenas will benefit Wayne State University’s efforts to identify start-up opportunities and facilitate efforts of WSU entrepreneurs to create companies that will license and develop WSU technology. He will play an important role in interacting with other academic institutions, regional and state economic development agencies and the venture community. Before joining Wayne State, he was managing director of MicroDose Life Sciences and its associated venture capital fund, LifeLine Ventures. Prior to MicroDose, Massey was an assistant professor of anesthesiology and pharmacology at the University of Michigan before joining Pfizer where he was responsible for the scientific and operational aspects of several drug development programs.
Medical Marijuana Panel Discussion
Mara Bilibajkich - Physician
Mara recieved her doctor of medicine from Queen's University. She is interested in Canada’s medical cannabis research and is a member of the Society of Cannabis Clinicians. She is also a medical doctor at TMC Medical Centre and the medical consultant at Aphria, a Health Canada Licensed Producer of medical cannabis.
Mark Penner - Partner, Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP
Registered patent agent and partner at Fasken Martineau DuMoulin. Mark holds strong expertise on commercializing IP rights in Canada and the United States. He specializes in acquisition, protection, and enforcement of Intellectual Property in the life science, chemical, pharmaceutical and biotechnology areas. Mark Penner also specializes in corporate commercial IP, IP licensing, and protection of confidential information and trade secrets. He is actively involved in counselling clients and providing strategic IP advice.
Steven Laviolette - Associate Professor, University of Western Ontario; N.A.R.S.A.D Young Investigator
Dr. Laviolette's research interests explore the interface between neurobiology, psychology and emotion by using an integrative combination of in vivo neuronal electrophysiology and behavioural neuropharmacology. Dr. Laviolette's investigations into the neurobiology of addiction have focused on nicotine and opiates, both of which represent highly addictive substances and act on pathways in the brain that control reward, motivation and learning. Dr. Laviolette's research group has characterized and identified specific regions in the mammalian brain that control the ‘switch’ from the non-addicted state, to the addicted state following exposure to drugs of abuse. Their ongoing research seeks to precisely define and identify the neurobiological mechanisms that control the addiction process at the behavioural, molecular and single neuron levels of analysis.
Funding & Grants: Panel Discussion
Mary Dimou - Business Development Manager, Ontario Centres of Excellence
Helping Ontario's innovators and early adopters grow through knowledge, connections, and resources. Regional Focus: Toronto and Peel (West Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton, and Caledon) as part of OCE's Central Ontario Team (Toronto, GTA). Provincial Focus: Commercialization and Early Stage Investment (Market-/Investment-Ready) opportunities; GHG Emission Reduction Projects and Initiatives; Agriculture and Food Processing Companies.
Heather Pratt - Executive Director Research and Innovation, University of Windsor
With over 15 years of experience in progressive research administration, Heather has played a leading role in the development of the University of Windsor’s research enterprise and expansion. During her tenure, the University’s research funding levels have nearly doubled and its research mandate has broadened significantly to sustain increasing support for technology transfer and entrepreneurship. Heather is a founding Director of the University of Windsor’s EPICentre. Heather is currently on secondment with the WDBA in the role of Director, Project Delivery where her 15 years of local manufacturing experience provide her the resources to engage with a wide variety of stakeholders in the planning and development of the Gordie Howe International Bridge project.
Deborah Livneh - Entrepreneur-In-Residence, WEtech Alliance
Deborah Livneh’s business experience ranges from co-founding and working with startup companies to serving multinational corporations. She is notably a veteran co-founder of an innovative medical technology enterprise. Following the successful exit of the startup company, she became the Plant Manager of Gyrus-ACMI Canada, a division of the global corporation Olympus Corporation – where she was involved in the introduction and manufacturing of cutting-edge products, the assurance of regulatory compliance, and she was responsible for delivering profitable bottom line. As Entrepreneur-in-Residence at WEtech, Deborah is actively engaged in aiding companies and entrepreneurs bring their new innovative products to market. Presently, she also consults health companies on regulatory and compliance issues.
Employment Strategies: Biotechnology and Beyond
Sean Peel - Buisness Development Manager, Ontario Bioscience Innovation Organization; Cofounder and CSO, Induce Biologics Inc.
Co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Induce Biologics Inc. which develops growth factor based bioimplants for tissue regeneration. Sean is a scientist and entrepreneur with 20 years of experience in biotherapeutic and medical device development. He obtained a Ph.D. in Oral Biology from the University of Toronto after which he pursued a post-doc in tissue engineering before joining a publically listed Canadian biotech company (GenSci Regeneration Sciences Inc.), as a scientist developing tissue based graft materials. Sean then worked as a senior scientist at Osteopharm Inc., a small private Canadian biotech company developing osteoporosis therapeutics, where he also sat on the company’s management committee. Following Osteopharm he worked as an independent consultant working with companies in the area of regenerative medicine. In 2008 Sean co-founded Induce Biologics Inc., to develop affordable effective growth factor based bioimplants for tissue regeneration. He is currently the Chief Scientific Officer of Induce Biologics Inc. Sean is also an Assistant Professor (status only) at the University of Toronto where is involved in graduate student research supervision and training. He has served as a mentor for research trainees and scientists considering careers outside of academic research and has often spoken at events about non-academic career paths for life science students.
We are pleased to announce our speakers for the 2015 BE Symposium at the University of Windsor on Saturday, October 3rd, 2015 from 8:30am-4:30pm.
A big thank you to all of our speakers, panelists, judges, and moderators for the 2015 BE Symposium and BIS Competition:
- Lisa Cechetto
- Dr. Joseph Elliot
- Dr. Don Stewart
- Nicole Sleiman
- Dr. Roderick Slavcev
- Dr. Michael Salgaller
- Heather Pratt
- Vishal Gupta
- Kelly Jackson
- Mee Ling Wong
- Michal Pascowicz
- Dr. Sean Peel
Keynote "Creating a Biotechnology Enterprise"
Lisa Cechetto - Executive Director at WORLDiscoveries located in London, Ontario. WORLDiscoveries facilitates the commercialization of innovations through licensing to existing companies and/or through the formation of spin-offs.
Lisa joined WORLDiscoveries in 2014 and came with over ten years of patent and business development related experience. She has worked in both industry and academia and her most recent appointment was at Institut Pasteur Korea where she was the Director of Business Development and Intellectual Property. In this position she was responsible for the commercialization of the institute's research inputs while balancing the interests of key stakeholders including government, faculty and third parties. Prior to this role, she worked as the Patent Manager and Project Leader at ARIUS Research Inc., a biotech company that was located in downtown Toronto and subsequently acquired by Roche. Lisa obtained her Honors Bachelor of Science from the University of Guelph and her Masters of Science from McMaster University. She also graduated at the top of her class from a dual degree executive MBA program at the Kelley School of Business, Indiana University and Sungkyunkwan.
"Succssful Story from a Biotechnology Company"
Dr. Joseph Elliot - President and CEO of Windsor Botanical Therapeutics Inc. which is develping the first NHP approved for a cancer trial by Health Canada. He is also Principal at Biopharm Management Inc. (BMI) a Toronto, Canada based firm providing short and long term management services to the biopharmaceutical industry. For the past 27 years Dr. Elliot has been a serial entrepreneur and former venture capitalist. Dr. Elliot is a hands-on manager with skills and experience in all facets of the biopharmaceutical business including raising capital, financing, licensing, team building, drug development, manufacturing, regulatory affairs (FDA, Health Canada and BfArM). He has broad experience pharmaceuticals, biologicals and vaccines in oncology and infectious diseases. Through BMI, Dr. Elliot is currently Managing Director of ERC USA, the North American subsidiary of ERC Belgium, a break-through developer of therapeutic cancer vaccines.
In the past 15 years, Dr. Elliot has raised over $30 million for a number of companies in which he played a leading management role including the founding and growing several biotech companies. These include President & CEO of Receptor Therapeutics Inc., President & CEO of LymphoSign Inc., Vice President & General Manager Operations for MDS Proteomics Inc.; Chief Operating Officer for MDS Ocata Inc.; Interim Chief Operating Officer of Exogen Neurosciences Inc. He is the founding President and Chairman of PhageTech Inc. of Montreal, Quebec which had a successful IPO under the name Targanta Therapeutics Corporation. He was also initial CEO of Cytochroma Inc., (which was subsequently acquired by OPKO in 2013). He is also a past director of Nexia Biotechnologies Inc. of Montreal, Quebec, and BIOSTAR Inc. of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. From 1996 to 1999 he was a Vice President (Venture Capital) with MDS Capital Corp. specializing in early stage biotechnology investments. From 1986 to 1996 Dr. Elliot founded and successfully operated several companies, which sold and distributed vaccines and sera in over 100 countries worldwide. Prior to 1986, he held senior technical and international marketing positions with Pharmacia Canada Inc.(now Pfizer) and Connaught Laboratories Inc. (now Sanofi-Pasteur Vaccines). Dr. Elliot received his PhD in Medical Sciences from McMaster University in 1980.
"Sustainable Biotechnology Ventures"
Don Stewart - CEO of PlantForm Corporation and President at Alba Biologics Group. PlantForm is an Ontario-based biotechnology company that has successfully developed tobacco plant based low-cost manufacturing system to produce high quality monoclonal antibodies and therapeutic proteins for the treatment of cancer, HIV/AIDS and other diseases.
"BIS Pitch Presentation"
Roderick Slavcev - Associate Professor, University of Waterloo. He gained a PhD in Molecular Genetics from the University of Saskatchewan before completing a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Toronto and later taking up a position as a medical science liaison for the pharmaceutical industry. He is currently an Associate Professor at the University of Waterloo, School of Pharmacy. His research group, Mediphage Bioceuticals (MB), applies genetics, molecular biology, virology and technology transfer to the design and construction of novel biologics with the ultimate aim of bringing new treatments to the global environment, especially less developed countries. MB research projects focus on the exploitation of bacteriophage-based biotechnology and include the use of coliphages and phage-encoded genes and genetic elements to design and construct vectors for the development of novel vaccines, biopharmaceuticals and gene therapy systems, and the identification and application of novel phage genomic anti-bacterial genes to treat and dispose of the clinical culprits of global bacterial infection. Roderick is a member of the Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology and the Waterloo Biomedical Engineering Institute, and holds Chartered Biologist status with the Royal Society of Biology.
"Panel Discussion: Grants and Funding Opportunities"
Michael L. Salgaller - Vice-President of the Conafay Group. He is a life science grant specialist and raised $40 million in follow-on financing for Toucan Capital.
Dr. Salgaller has over 20 years of business, scientific, and investment experience in various life science sectors. He is currently a Vice-President with The Conafay Group, a Washington DC-based government relations firm. They specialize in non-dilutive funding and alliance development. Prior to joining The Conafay Group, he was a key member of the business development team for the healthcare practice at SAIC, a Fortune-500 government contractor. Before SAIC, he was a long-time industry executive who has held various positions in biotechnology and professional service firms. He was on the investment team of Toucan Capital, a $120M early-stage venture firm dedicated to the life sciences, where he guided company formation and helped raise over $40M in follow-on financing. He was Vice President of Clinical and Research Affairs at Northwest Biotherapeutics, leading the development of two cancer treatments currently in late-stage clinical trials. He began his career as a Senior Staff Scientist at the National Cancer Institute, where he oversaw a lab developing treatments for patients with terminal illnesses.
He is an author of the book “Biotechnology Entrepreneurship,” used as a text in numerous universities as well as NIH. He’s written over 100 articles, presentations, and book chapters, and serves on the editorial boards of several journals. He was elected to the Sigma Xi Research Honorary, as well as the Pi Delta Epsilon Journalism Honorary. Dr. Salgaller received his PhD in Pathology from The Ohio State University.
Kelly Jackson - Business Development Manager at Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) where she connects industry members with members of academia.
Vishal Gupta - Business Development Manager at Genemis. Vishal has more than six years of experience in product development and project management in Biotechnology. Vishal has led many product development projects at the Schulich School of Medicine, Western, NeoVentures Biotech Inc., London, ON and Germiphene Corporation, Brantford, ON before joining Genemis team. As Business Consultant, at Germiphene Corporation, he was actively involved in preparing Scientific Research & Experimental Development (SR&ED) reports, finding grants and preparing business plans to fund various stages of product development and commercialization of successful innovative technologies. Vishal, was instrumental in securing federal grant money awarded to fund product development from an innovative patented technology from University of Waterloo.
Heather Pratt - Executive Director of Research and Innovation at the University of Windsor with experience in academic management and financing.
Heather Pratt is currently the Executive Director, Research and Innovation at the University of Windsor. With over 15 years of experience in progressive research administration, Heather has played a leading role in the development of the University of Windsor’s research enterprise and the expansion of its scope. During her tenure, the University’s research funding levels have nearly doubled and its research mandate has broadened significantly to sustain increasing support for technology transfer and entrepreneurship. Heather is a founding Director of the University of Windsor’s Entrepreneurship Practice and Innovation Centre (EPICentre). EPICentre is a collaborative, campus-wide initiative, designed to encourage entrepreneurship and accelerate small business start-ups, which Heather has helped see to fruition and continues to guide.
Heather draws on a wealth of industry experience garnered over 15 years in the Canadian automotive manufacturing sector. Before coming to the University of Windsor, she held positions as Controller, Operations Manager, and Vice-President, Operations for organizations in Windsor-Essex’s Tool and Die and Plastics sectors. Heather is actively involved in committee and board work and currently serves on the Board of Directors of WEtech Alliance and Windsor Botanical Therapeutics. She is an alumna of the University of Windsor where she earned her Masters of Business Administration (MBA) and Bachelors of Business Studies, Accounting.
"Looking Beyond: Pathways to Employment for Biotechnology Professionals"
Sean Peel - Co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Induce Biologics Inc. which develops growth factor based bioimplants for tissue regeneration. Sean is a scientist and entrepreneur with 20 years of experience in biotherapeutic and medical device development. He obtained a Ph.D. in Oral Biology from the University of Toronto after which he pursued a post-doc in tissue engineering before joining a publically listed Canadian biotech company (GenSci Regeneration Sciences Inc.), as a scientist developing tissue based graft materials.
Sean then worked as a senior scientist at Osteopharm Inc., a small private Canadian biotech company developing osteoporosis therapeutics, where he also sat on the company’s management committee. Following Osteopharm he worked as an independent consultant working with companies in the area of regenerative medicine. In 2008 Sean co-founded Induce Biologics Inc., to develop affordable effective growth factor based bioimplants for tissue regeneration. He is currently the Chief Scientific Officer of Induce Biologics Inc. Sean is also an Assistant Professor (status only) at the University of Toronto where is involved in graduate student research supervision and training. He has served as a mentor for research trainees and scientists considering careers outside of academic research and has often spoken at events about non-academic career paths for life science students.