2017 iBest Symposium


Friday, June 16, 2017
8:45am – 5pm
2nd Floor, Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute (LKSKI)
209 Victoria Street, Toronto

Ryerson University and St. Michael’s Hospital invite you to our annual one-day symposium in support of our collaborative activities aimed at pioneering new medical technologies and guiding fundamental research from bench to bedside.

The Institute for Biomedical Engineering, Science and Technology (iBEST) is a partnership that brings together Ryerson’s engineering and science strengths with St. Michael’s biomedical research and clinical expertise to translate biomedical research into testable healthcare solutions. This annual iBEST Symposium brings together nearly 300 biomedical experts to examine the intersection of engineering and medical science, highlighting the collaborative, multidisciplinary contributions of scientists and engineers working with clinicians and caregivers to advance biomedical research and improve patient care.

For more information about the Symposium, please contact the iBEST Coordinator at imran.sheikh@ryerson.ca.

2017 Symposium Agenda

Opening & Closing Remarks, Keynote Speakers, Trainee Event, Faculty Event: The Allan Waters Family Auditorium

Registration, Expo/Lunch: Bernie and Mildred Syron Exhibition Hall / The Tony and Anne Arrell Classrooms


8:45 to 9:00 am Registration & Breakfast
9:00 to 9:30 am Opening Remarks from Dr. Arthur SlutskyDr. Stephen Liss;
Introduction from Dr. Ori Rotstein & Dr. Michael Kolios
9:30 to 10:30 am Keynote Presentation: Dr. Ali Khademhosseini (Professor, Harvard Medical School and Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, MIT), “Nano- and Microfabricated Hydrogels for Regenerative Engineering”
10:30 to 10:45 am Coffee Break
10:45 am to 12:00 pm Trainee Event: Industry Transitions & Insights

Established professionals from diverse sectors will reflect on their career path, skills needed to succeed and impart advice to trainees on transitioning into various career paths from academia.

Industry Professionals:

  • Dr. Erica Conte, Research Funding Opportunities Manager, St. Michael’s Hospital
  • Dr. Suzie Dufour, Researcher, National Institute of Optics
  • Dr. Pamela Plant, Genomics/Molecular Biology Core Specialist, St. Michael’s Hospital
  • Tony Orsi, Patent Agent and Partner, Bereskin & Parr LLP
  • Samir Sahoo, Technology and Venture Development Manager, MaRS Innovation
  • Aaron Weinroth, Chief Marketing Officer, Tornado Spectral Systems
12:00 to 2:00 pm iBEST Expo: 

Scientists and staff from both institutions will present their research programs, highlight their research capacity and will be available for discussion to enhance collaborative activities. Industry, government and community partners will also participate in the exhibition.

*Lunch will be served*

2:00 to 3:30 pm Faculty Event: Research Theme Spotlight Presentations

Investigators from each iBEST research theme will present their research and explore opportunities for collaboration and knowledge translation, followed by a panel discussion and audience feedback.


  • Dr. Laurent Brochard, Scientist, St. Michael’s Hospital; presenting for Biomaterials, Tissue Injury & Repair (BTR)
  • Dr. Dae Kun Hwang, Assistant Professor, Ryerson University; presenting for Biomedical Delivery Systems (BDS)
  • Dr. Tom Schweizer, Director, Neuroscience Research Program; presenting for Biomedical Imaging & Therapy (BIT)
  • Dr. Ali Mazalek, Associate Professor, Ryerson University; presenting for Healthcare Analytics & Applications (HAA)
3:30 to 3:40 pm Coffee Break
3:40 to 4:40 pm Keynote Presentation: Dr. Rita Kandel (Chair and Professor, Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, University of Toronto), “Tissue Engineered Intervertebral Disc Replacement: Towards a New Treatment Option”
4:40 to 5:00 pm Closing Remarks

2017 Keynote Speakers

Nano- and Microfabricated Hydrogels for Regenerative Engineering


Dr. Ali Khademhosseini, Professor, Harvard Medical School and Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, MIT, Cambridge, MA; and Associate Faculty, Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, Harvard University, Boston, MA

Abstract: Engineered materials that integrate advances in polymer chemistry, nanotechnology, and biological sciences have the potential to create powerful medical therapies. Our group aims to engineer tissue regenerative therapies using water-containing polymer networks, called hydrogels, that can regulate cell behavior. Specifically, we have developed photocrosslinkable hybrid hydrogels that combine natural biomolecules with nanoparticles to regulate the chemical, biological, mechanical and electrical properties of gels.  These functional scaffolds induce the differentiation of stem cells to desired cell types and direct the formation of vascularized heart or bone tissues. Since tissue function is highly dependent on architecture, we have also used microfabrication methods, such as microfluidics, photolithography, bioprinting, and molding to regulate the architecture of these materials. We have employed these strategies to generate miniaturized tissues.  To create tissue complexity, we have also developed directed assembly techniques to compile small tissue modules into larger constructs. It is anticipated that such approaches will lead to the development of next-generation regenerative therapeutics and biomedical devices.

Biography: Ali Khademhosseini is Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Director of the Biomaterials Innovation Research Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He is also a faculty at the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology as well as an Associate Faculty at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering. He is recognized as a leader in combining micro- and nano-engineering approaches with advanced biomaterials for regenerative medicine applications.  In particular, his laboratory has pioneered numerous technologies and materials for controlling the architecture and function of engineered vascularized tissues. He has authored ~500 journal papers (H-index > 90, >30,000 citations) and 50 books/chapters.   In addition, he has delivered 300+ invited/keynote lectures.  Dr. Khademhosseini’s interdisciplinary research has been recognized by over 40 major national and international awards. He is a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the highest honor given by the US government for early career investigators. In 2011, he received the Pioneers of Miniaturization Prize from the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) for his contribution to microscale tissue engineering and microfluidics.  In 2016, he received the Sr. Scientist Award of Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine Society -Americas Chapter (TERMIS-AM) and in 2017 he received the Clemson Award of the Society for Biomaterials.  He is also a fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE), Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES), Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), Fellow of the Biomaterials Sciences and Engineering (FBSE) and American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).  Currently he serves on the editorial board of numerous leading journals as well as an Associate Editor for ACS Nano (IF: 13.3) and a member of NIH BTSS study section.  He received his Ph.D. in bioengineering from MIT (2005), and MASc (2001) and BASc (1999) degrees from University of Toronto both in chemical engineering. Read more at: http://www.tissueeng.net/

Tissue Engineered Intervertebral Disc Replacement: Towards a New Treatment Option


Dr. Rita Kandel, Chair and Professor, Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, University of Toronto Chief, Dept. of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Sinai Health System

Abstract: The intervertebral disc (IVD) is composed of a nucleus pulposus surrounded by an angle-ply multi-lamellated annulus fibrosus, which is integrated to the adjacent vertebral bodies. The IVD commonly undergoes degenerative changes that can be associated with chronic neck or low back pain. Current treatments for this disorder do not completely restore the functionality of the intervertebral disc. Thus there is increasing interest in developing biological disc replacements. Given the complex structure of the intervertebral disc, tissue engineering of the individual tissue components of the disc and then combining them together may be the only way to achieve this. However these tissues must integrate and the engineered disc has to be able to integrate into the host spine to ensure mechanical stability. We have developed in vitro models to begin to investigate the conditions necessary to facilitate the integration of the tissue engineered disc into the vertebral bodies. These studies should help facilitate the translation of a tissue engineered disc replacement into clinical use.

Biography: Rita Kandel MD FRCP(C) obtained her medical degree and completed her Pathology residency at the University of Toronto and completed two postdoctoral fellowships, at Tufts University and Harvard University. She is currently the Chief of Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Sinai Health System and the Chair of the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology at the University of Toronto. She was instrumental in developing a Precision Medicine Program at Mount Sinai Hospital in the areas of fetal health, cancer prediction, pharmacogenomics, and oncology. She is active in Cancer Care Ontario sitting on the Sarcoma Services Steering Committee and is a member of the Program in Evidence Based Care for Sarcoma. She has published over 200 papers and multiple book chapters. Among other numerous honours and awards, Dr. Kandel is a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences.