2016 iBEST symposium highlights partnership between Ryerson and St. Michael's Hospital

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2016 iBEST symposium highlights partnership between Ryerson and St. Michael's Hospital

Toronto, July 8, 2016

Dr. Christian Otto speaks at the sixth annual iBEST symposium
Dr. Christian Otto, senior scientist at NASA and the University Space Research Association, was one of the keynote speakers during the sixth annual iBEST symposium. His talk discussed tracking health of space explorers. (Photo by Yuri Markarov)

Researchers, physicians and students were given an opportunity to critically examine the intersection of engineering and medical science, at the sixth annual symposium of the Institute for Biomedical Engineering, Science and Technology (iBEST), held on Friday, June 24.

Dr. Arthur Slutsky, vice-president of Research at St. Michael's Hospital, called iBEST an outstanding partnership. “It’s a win-win for both institutions. Scientists and students at both Ryerson and St. Michael’s benefit from proximity, both as neighbours in the community and as collaborators working together in the Keenan Research Centre, part of the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute of St. Michael’s Hospital,” said Dr. Slutsky.

In her opening remarks, Ryerson’s vice-president of Research and Innovation, Wendy Cukier, explained why iBEST benefits Ryerson. “We had a lot of research at Ryerson, but without access to clinicians and clinical settings there was no hope of translating that work into practice,” Cukier said. “I wanted to reinforce how important the relationship is between the two institutions but also how important the work is that every single one of you is doing.”

As keynote speaker, Dr. Slutsky spoke on the subject of mechanical ventilation, and the advances in the field in recent years. Dr. Christian Otto, ‎Lead Scientist for NASA's VIIP Risk project, was the second keynote speaker, offering insights into advances in medical science in space. Otto explained how eyes are the “windows to the brain” and presented videos that demonstrate how ultrasound is used in space to calculate intra-ocular pressure.

iBEST co-directors Dr. Ori Rotstein, surgeon-in-chief for St. Michael’s; Sri Krishnan, associate dean of Ryerson’s Faculty of Engineering and Architectural Sciences; and Michael Kolios, associate dean of Ryerson’s Faculty of Science opened the symposium. Dr. Rotstein lauded the partnership between Ryerson and St. Michael’s Hospital, which has already resulted in some “amazing collaborations” including Collaborative Health Research Program funding. He added that over 100 trainees have taken part in the iBEST program, and that many are enrolled in their “research faculty core clinics.”

Some of these research trainees also took part in the Keenan Innovation Café, a competition designed to encourage design of solutions to real health care challenges, as defined by clinicians or patients, in the field of critical illnesses. This year, the top prize for the Café was renamed the “Cukier Award for Innovation and Excellence” in honour of Cukier, who is departing Ryerson after 30 years at the University as a teacher and dynamic promoter of research and innovation.

The Keenan Innovation Café winners of the inaugural Cukier Award for Innovation and Excellence were Bethany Hughes (Ryerson), Imran Shiek (Ryerson), Kristina Collavino (Ryerson), Brent Bates (St. Michael’s) and David Ramnaraign (St. Michael’s) for their project, “Age-dependence of femur fracture repair endothelial progenitor cell therapy.” Cukier announced that she would contribute to double the amount of the travel vouchers for all the winners again this year. First place winners received $1,000 each.

The day was rounded out with presentations and panel discussions by Ryerson University and St. Michael’s Hospital researchers and scientists.

The symposium is a showcase of some the great work being done at iBEST, added Kolios. “It is exciting to see the projects that involve multidisciplinary teams of scientists and engineers with clinicians and caregivers, exemplifying the world-class training provided to our research trainees — training that will enable them to develop the next generation of health care innovations,” he said.

By Carrie Brunet Duncan, Office of the Vice-President, Research and Innovation 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.

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