iBEST-Biomedical Zone projects and bios

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Our Stories

iBEST-Biomedical Zone projects and bios

Toronto, January 26, 2016


research by Dr. Waldman of cartilage being grown
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Project: Dr. Stephen Waldman’s research centres on developing techniques for growing cartilage to support patients needing prosthetic limbs and extends to growing cartilage for the ears, nose, or throat. This research has significant potential to help victims of severe burns or accidents. While others grow cartilage by using a “scaffold” of synthetic or natural materials, Dr. Waldman uses only the animal’s own cells. Using this method he has created external ears and done trachea reconstruction and knee resurfacing in animals, and nasal reconstruction in humans. He recently received a PSI Foundation grant to test knee resurfacing on humans.

Bio: Dr. Waldman is a professor of chemical engineering at Ryerson University and an affiliated scientist of the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute of St. Michael’s Hospital. His research interests are in the area of tissue engineering and the surgical repair of cartilage with applications for knee resurfacing and the reconstruction of the ear, nose and trachea. Prior to joining Ryerson in 2013, Dr. Waldman was an associate professor and Canada Research Chair at Queen’s University and a visiting professor at the University of California, Berkeley (bioengineering). Dr. Waldman did his post-doctoral and graduate training at Mount Sinai Hospital (Toronto), University of Toronto, Dalhousie University and Queen’s University.


researcher looks at fingers on a screen
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Project: Dr. Karen Cross and Dr. Alexandre (Sasha) Douplik are working on putting early-warning tools in the hands of patients at risk of amputation. As people age, blood flow to the foot and leg is reduced. In 20 per cent of the population over the age of 70 (or in people who smoke or have diabetes), this can lead to a disease called peripheral vascular disease (or PVD). In severe cases, PVD can lead to amputation of the foot or leg.

Drs. Cross and Douplik have developed a diagnostic device called Pulse Wave Velocity Imaging that doctors can use to monitor blood flow in the foot and leg as an early detection tool to prevent the devastating consequences of limb amputation. The PWVI is a small, non-invasive and remote device that uses optical technology similar to a digital camera but with specific filters using only ambient light. Their current work is designing and testing the PWVI in a small patient population; their ultimate aim is to develop an in-home patient-operated compact and handheld device for people with PVD, which would permit faster access to treatment.

Bios: Dr. Cross is a member of the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at St. Michael’s Hospital. Her main clinical interests are in the reconstruction of complex wounds from trauma, cancer, infection or disease. She is also an associate scientist with St. Michael’s Keenan Research Centre for Biomedical Science. Her research interests are in the application of novel optical imaging tools to assess skin physiology and wound healing. She works closely with Dr. Douplik, an associate professor of physics at Ryerson University and also an associate scientist with St. Michael’s Keenan Research Centre for Biomedical Science. Dr. Douplik is an expert in biophotonics with extensive experience in hospital, industrial and academic environments.


research by Simulare Medical showing procedure using 3-D printers
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Project: Simulare Medical develops high-fidelity procedure-specific surgical simulators that allow trainees to practice surgical procedures before operating on live patients. The first product, a cleft palate simulator, was developed and tested by Dr. Dale Podolsky in collaboration with four leading pediatric surgeons at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children. They will soon have access to a new 3-D printer donated by Dr. Michael Cusimano, a neurosurgeon at St. Michael’s Hospital, using a grant from the Canada Foundation for Innovation.

Bio: Dr. Podolsky is a resident in plastic and reconstructive surgery and is working toward a PhD in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Toronto. Prior to medical school he completed concurrent degrees in mechanical engineering and physics. Dr. Podolsky is conducting his research at the Center for Image Guided Innovation and Therapeutic Intervention (CIGITI) lab at The Hospital for Sick Children in the fields of surgical simulation and surgical robotics. The cleft palate simulator was developed as part of his PhD thesis.


research by CleanSlate that sanitizes portable electronics
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Project: CleanSlate UV enables health-care facilities to sanitize portable electronics – such as smartphones, tablets and thermometers – in just 30 seconds, while automatically tracking and auditing compliance. The CleanSlate UV Sanitizer is a portable machine (about the size of a printer) that uses UV technology to sanitize devices. CleanSlate UV doesn’t use harmful harm sensitive portable electronics – unlike chemical wipes - and because it uses no disposables, hospitals save money and reduce their environmental footprint. It was developed in Kingston, ON and has undergone pilots in three Ontario hospitals. The 2nd Generation technology will be launched in April, and will be undergoing additional studies at hospitals throughout North America.

Bio: CEO Taylor Mann heads a team of fellow Queen’s University graduates. While studying at Queen’s, he held several professional marketing and management positions and founded two successful startups. He is an experienced graphic designer, UX strategist (someone who figures out what makes us browse, engage, shop, play, and linger online), front-end developer and writer.


research by Komodo
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Project: Komodo OpenLab is the maker of Tecla, a device for anyone who does not have the hand dexterity to access a smartphone, tablet or computer. This includes those with limited upper-body mobility resulting from spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis, ALS, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, brain injuries, or stroke. Tecla works with all assistive switches on the market including buttons, sip-and-puff controllers, head arrays, joysticks and the driving controls of a wheelchair.

Bio: Mauricio Meza is co-founder and CEO of Komodo OpenLab, a certified B corporation that develops technologies that enable simple and easy access to mainstream technology for millions of people with mobility impairments. Meza has a background in biomedical engineering. He worked for almost a decade as an assistive technology consultant at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, recommending and supporting assistive technologies for people with disabilities prior to completing his MBA degree at Ryerson University.

About St. Michael's Hospital

St. Michael’s Hospital provides compassionate care to all who enter its doors. The hospital also provides outstanding medical education to future health care professionals in 27 academic disciplines. Critical care and trauma, heart disease, neurosurgery, diabetes, cancer care, care of the homeless and global health are among the hospital’s recognized areas of expertise. Through the Keenan Research Centre and the Li Ka Shing International Healthcare Education Centre, which make up the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, research and education at St. Michael's Hospital are recognized and make an impact around the world. Founded in 1892, the hospital is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto.

About Ryerson University

Ryerson University is Canada's leader in innovative, career-oriented education and a university clearly on the move. With a mission to serve societal need, and a long-standing commitment to engaging its community, Ryerson offers more than 100 undergraduate and graduate programs. Distinctly urban, culturally diverse and inclusive, the university is home to more than 28,000 students, including 2,300 master's and PhD students, nearly 2,700 faculty and staff, and 140,000 alumni worldwide. Research at Ryerson is on a trajectory of success and growth: externally funded research has doubled in the past five years. The G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education is Canada's leading provider of university-based adult education. For more information, visit www.ryerson.ca

Media contacts

For more information, please contact:

Leslie Shepherd
Manager, Media Strategy, St. Michael's Hospital

Michael Forbes
Manager, Public Affairs, Ryerson University
416-979-5000 ext.4282
416-999-3069 (cell)

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