Event Calendar

If you are looking to solicit an event posting that may be relevant to the biomedical engineering community, please send your request along to comm.bme@utoronto.ca and we will review and share the event description below.

Talks & Speaker Series

Oct
25
Mon
Industry & Alumni Speaker Series – Kevin Ming
Oct 25 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

Industry & Alumni Speaker Series

Kevin Ming, PhD R&D Chief of Staff VitalBio

An Engineer’s Journey into Business

October 25, 2021 12:00pm – 1:00pm
Bio: Kevin Ming is an experienced business executive with an extensive background in technology and innovation. Kevin received his B.Sc. in Electrical Engineering from Queen’s University, M.A.Sc. in Electrical Engineering from the University of British Columbia, and Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Toronto, where he developed a smartphone-based point-of-care infectious disease diagnostic device. With over 10 years of experience in the innovation space, his first venture was the co-founding of a food allergy technology start-up that spun out of another University of Toronto project. After graduation he joined Haltech Regional Innovation Centre, where he worked with and advised over 200 start-ups in sectors spanning Digital Health, IT & Software, Advanced Manufacturing, Clean Tech, as well as others. Kevin has held leadership roles at Haltech (Executive Director), Enghouse Systems Ltd. (Director of Growth), and most recently Vital Biosciences Inc. (R&D Chief of Staff) where he is implementing strategic initiatives and improving product development processes in order to help “reinvent lab testing for 7.6 billion people.”
Nov
9
Tue
Seminar Series-Warren Grayson @ Online
Nov 9 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

Title: TBA

Presenter: Warren Grayson

Host: Penney Gilbert

Date: November 9, 2021

Time: 12:00pm – 1:00pm

Meeting Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83703247484?pwd=YmlCVUFpUEMyZFFtUm5Jbk5TYVlTQT09

 

Abstract:  TBA

Dec
14
Tue
Seminar Series- Kip Ludwig @ Online
Dec 14 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

Title: TBA

Presenter: Kip Ludwig

Host:  Kei Masani

Date: December 14, 2021

Time: 12:00pm – 1:00pm

Meeting Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83703247484?pwd=YmlCVUFpUEMyZFFtUm5Jbk5TYVlTQT09

 

Abstract:  TBA

Jan
11
Tue
Seminar Series- Amy Keating @ Online
Jan 11 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

Title: TBA

Presenter: Amy Keating

Host: Michael Garton

Date: January 11, 2022

Time: 12:00pm – 1:00pm

Meeting Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83703247484?pwd=YmlCVUFpUEMyZFFtUm5Jbk5TYVlTQT09

 

Abstract:  TBA

 

Feb
8
Tue
Seminar Series- Ankur Singh @ Online
Feb 8 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

Title: TBA

Presenter: Ankur Singh

Host: Milica Radisic

Date: February 8, 2022

Time: 12:00pm – 1:00pm

Meeting Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83703247484?pwd=YmlCVUFpUEMyZFFtUm5Jbk5TYVlTQT09

 

Abstract:  TBA

 

Mar
8
Tue
Seminar Series- Mikhail Shapiro @ Online
Mar 8 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

Title: TBA

Presenter: Mikhail Shapiro

Host: Naomi Matsuura

Date: March 8, 2022

Time: 12:00pm – 1:00pm

Meeting Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83703247484?pwd=YmlCVUFpUEMyZFFtUm5Jbk5TYVlTQT09

 

Abstract:  TBA

 

Events & Workshops

Oct
27
Wed
Synthetic Biology: Life Redesigned, with James Collins from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. @ Online
Oct 27 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

Synthetic Biology: Life Redesigned, with James Collins from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The lecture will take place on Wednesday October 27, from 12-1PM (Eastern Time) on Zoom and will be recorded. For security purposes, you must have a Zoom account to access the lecture.

External members are required to register at https://tinyurl.com/LLEoct27 to receive the link and passcode. Registration closes at 9am on Monday October 25.

Should you have any questions, please email Jennifer Hsu (Manager, External Relations) at jennifer.hsu@utoronto.ca.

ABSTRACT

Synthetic biology is bringing together engineers, physicists and biologists to model, design and construct biological circuits out of proteins, genes and other bits of DNA, and to use these circuits to rewire and reprogram organisms. These re-engineered organisms are going to change our lives in the coming years, leading to cheaper drugs, rapid diagnostic tests, and synthetic probiotics to treat infections and a range of complex diseases. In this talk, we highlight recent efforts to create synthetic gene networks and programmable cells, and discuss a variety of synthetic biology applications in biotechnology and biomedicine.

BIO
Professor James Collins is the Termeer Professor of Medical Engineering & Science and Professor of Biological Engineering at MIT, as well as a Member of the Harvard-MIT Health Sciences & Technology Faculty. He is also a Core Founding Faculty member of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University, and an Institute Member of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. He is one of the founders of the field of synthetic biology, and his research group is currently focused on using synthetic biology to create next-generation diagnostics and therapeutics. Professor Collins’ patented technologies have been licensed by over 25 biotech, pharma and medical devices companies, and he has co-founded a number of companies, including Synlogic, Senti Biosciences, Sherlock Biosciences and Cellarity, as well as Phare Bio, a non-profit focused on AI-driven antibiotic discovery. He has received numerous awards and honors, including a Rhodes Scholarship and a MacArthur “Genius” Award, and he is an elected member of all three national academies – the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the National Academy of Medicine.
Lectures at the Leading Edge (LLE) is an annual lecture series hosted by the Department of Chemical Engineering & Applied Chemistry at the University of Toronto. LLE engages world-class researchers and thought leaders in Canada and around the world to spark conversations on the latest innovations in existing and emerging areas relevant to chemical engineering, applied chemistry and the engineering profession.
Nov
4
Thu
BUILDING A BIOTECH VENTURE November 4 @ 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm @ Online
Nov 4 @ 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm
BUILDING A BIOTECH VENTURE November 4 @ 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm @ Online

Join us on November 4th for an information session to learn about the Building a Biotech Venture Program.

Take your first steps toward entrepreneurship with the Building a Biotech Venture program, a program for trainees who are doing regenerative medicine- or precision medicine-related research in labs at the University of Toronto or its affiliated hospitals.

This year, Medicine by Design is offering this program in partnership with Precision Medicine Initiative (PRiME) as well as our foundational partners the Health Innovation Hub (H2i), a campus-linked accelerator at the Temerty Faculty of Medicine; and Talk Boutique.

Through a series of workshops over winter/spring 2022, teams will:

  • Learn how to think about their research in terms of a product or business;
  • Build a business canvas and develop their product or venture concept;
  • Receive guidance from industry experts on intellectual property, clinical translation, and early-stage stage investment.
  • Create a pitch deck and receive coaching on telling their venture story; and
  • Receive regular mentoring from entrepreneurs throughout the process.

The program will culminate in a pitch competition in May, where the first-place team will receive $25,000 and the second-place team will receive $10,000 in research funding to advance their product concept.Click here to read about HDAX Therapeutics, the team who received research funding as the winner of last year’s pitch competition.

To learn more about the program and how to apply, please join us virtually on November 4, 2021, from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. EST for an information session. This session will provide an overview of the program and how to apply, as well as an introduction to H2i’s 10-point plan, which outlines 10 key elements of a business canvas.

Click here to read about HDAX Therapeutics, the team who received research funding as the winner of last year’s pitch competition.

If you have any immediate questions regarding this program, please contact Stephanie Hume (stephanie.hume@utoronto.ca).

This program will be offered virtually.

Building a Biotech Venture program breakdown:

  • Phase 1: Program Information Session and Team Building 
    November 4, 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
    This session will provide an overview of the program and how to fill out the business one-pager, which is required to enroll, as well as an introduction to H2i’s 10-point plan, which outlines 10 key elements of a business canvas.

This session will be followed by a team building session the week of November 15 for trainees to build or add expertise to their teams. Stay tuned for more details.

*Phase 1 of the program will be open to all trainees within the Medicine by Design and PRiME communities.

  • Phase 2: Venture Development Workshops
    January-April 2022

The program will include workshops run by industry experts to help in scaling their ventures and prepare them for the pitch competition. The program will include workshops run by industry experts to help teams in scaling their ventures and prepare them for the pitch competition.

-Workshop 1: Mentor introduction Event (January)
-Workshop 2: Intellectual property (February)
-Workshop 3: Clinical translation and regulatory affairs (March)
-Workshop 4:  De-mystifying the pathway through to early-stage investment (March)
-Workshop 5: Pitching and presentation skills workshop (April)

*To apply to phase 2, teams must submit a one-page business canvas outlining their venture concept. Proposed product or venture concept must have an application to regenerative or precision medicine. Application documents to be provided post information session. 

*Each team must have at least one team member who’s current supervisor has a faculty appointment at U of T to be eligible for Phase 2.

  • Session 3: Medicine by Design Pitch Competition
    May 2022
    Select teams will pitch for a chance to receive $25,000 (first place) or $10,000 (second place) in research funding.
Dec
9
Thu
Medicine By Design 6th Annual Symposium
Dec 9 @ 9:00 am – Dec 10 @ 12:00 pm

Event Details

Day 1: Thursday, December 9 — 9:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Day 2: Friday, December 10 — 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Join us for the sixth annual Medicine by Design symposium. The symposium will bring together principal investigators and trainees from across the University of Toronto and its affiliated hospitals, along with industry partners, the investment community, government, the not-for-profit sector and international collaborators. The theme of this year’s symposium is, “A Systems Approach to Regenerative Medicine.”

We will also hold a virtual poster session featuring the research of select trainees working on Medicine by Design-funded projects.

Day 1 Plenary Speakers

Session 1: Deciphering cell-cell communication

“Tissue homeostasis and inflammation”
Ruslan Medzhitov, PhD
Department of Immunobiology,
Yale School of Medicine

Session 2: Interconnected organs-on-chips

“Deconstructing the patient with systems biology, and reconstructing her with organs-on-chips”
Linda G. Griffith, PhD
Department of Biological and Medical Engineering,
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Day 2 Plenary Speaker and Panel

Session 3: Strengthening our bioinnovation ecosystem

“Lessons learned from COVID-19”
David R. Walt, PhD
Wyss Institute, Harvard University

Additional panellists

  • Catherine Beaudry – Partnership for the Organization of Innovation and New Technologies (4POINTO), Polytechnique Montreal
  • Michael May – CCRM
  • Beate Sander – Toronto Health Economics and Technology Assessment Collaborative (THETA), University Health Network

General Registration

Space is limited. Register at this link.  Registration will be open until Dec. 8 at 5 p.m. unless all spots are filled before that time.  If you have any questions, please email info.mbd@utoronto.ca.

Virtual Poster Session

The symposium will feature a virtual poster session to highlight the innovative research taking place in Medicine by Design-funded labs. Trainees in labs that have received funding from Medicine by Design, currently or in the past, can submit an abstract using the symposium registration form. The abstract submission deadline is Sunday, October 19 at 11:59 p.m. Symposium registration is automatic with poster abstract submission. Limit of one entry per Medicine-by Design funded lab.

SUBMIT POSTER ABSTRACT

All attendees are encouraged to browse the posters, which will be displayed on the virtual platform, at any time during the symposium. Trainees whose posters are featured in the session will be available to discuss their work on December 9, from 12:25 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Student Seminars

Oct
28
Thu
Omar Mourad and BME UofT
Oct 28 @ 12:00 pm – 12:30 pm

Event Name: Graduate Seminar Series: Cell and Tissue Stream

Graduate Seminar Series for the Institute of Biomedical Engineering (BME). This day is for cell and tissue stream presenters.

Presentation Title: Modeling HFpEF myocardial dysfunction in a heart‐on‐a‐chip platform

Abstract:
Rationale & Objective:
Heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) is an advanced stage of heart disease characterized by impaired muscle relaxation, a thickened myocardium, and diffuse fibrosis. It is a systemic disease and is highly associated with comorbidities such as metabolic syndrome. Due to its complex nature, no in vitro HFpEF models are available yet, and animal models are unsatisfactory. My research is aimed at generating an in vitro model of HFpEF myocardial dysfunction by leveraging established heart-on-a-chip technology used by our group.

Methods:
In our heart-on-a-chip platform, human pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes (hPSC-CMs) are combined with cardiac fibroblasts in a fibrin gel to generate cardiac microtissues that self-assemble around flexible rods. Rod deflection can be measured to determine both passive and active force of these tissues under electrical stimulation. To model the HFpEF myocardium, our goal is to design a treatment protocol that results in tissues that display increased passive force with an unchanged active force relative to healthy tissues. To achieve this, we will treat the tissues with combinations of factors known to induce specific phenotypes associated with HFpEF such as CM hypertrophy and myocardial fibrosis, as well as an environment that mimics metabolic syndrome, a comorbidity highly associated with HFpEF.

Results:
I have screened combinations and doses of factors known to induce hypertrophy and fibrosis of CMs in vitro in monolayer and identified a combination that robustly increases hPSC-CM cell size. In addition, qPCR experiments have confirmed that the hypertrophy that I observed is pathological and not physiological, evidenced by upregulation of fetal genes. I have used this treatment regimen in on our heart-on-a-chip platform and generated tissues with 2-3x increased passive force, and unchanged active force relative to control.

Conclusions & Significance:
These studies will enable us to uncover molecular pathways that might be involved in the pathophysiology of HFpEF myocardial dysfunction. An in vitro model of the disease can be used as a drug screening platform in the future, which is highly significant due to the lack of empirical therapeutic options for HFpEF currently available.

Supervisor Name: Dr. Sara Nunes Vasconcelos

Year of Study: 3

Program of Study: PhD

Zoom link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89610372821?pwd=azd4SCtYVWtreVovaGNPV1c2NGY2Zz09

Meeting ID: 896 1037 2821

Password: 483329

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Kayla Soon and BME UofT
Oct 28 @ 12:30 pm – 1:00 pm

Event Name: Graduate Seminar Series: Cell and Tissue Stream

Graduate Seminar Series for the Institute of Biomedical Engineering (BME). This day is for cell and tissue stream presenters.

Presentation Title: Development and Characterization of Vessel Arteriovenous Malformations (AVM)-on-a-Chip

Abstract:
Arteriovenous malformation (AVM) is the abnormal formation of blood vessels characterized by the direct connection between arteries and veins. As a result, vessels are dilated/enlarged with weakened vessel walls that are prone leakage and hemorrhage, which are highly prevalent in patients with AVMs and often fatal. Mutations in the KRAS gene (KRASG12V) in endothelial cells (ECs) have been identified in clinical AVM samples, leading to increased ERK1/2 phosphorylation and causing disruption of VE-cadherin binding. Our goal is to create an AVM-on-a-chip model to better understand AVM pathology and to uncover potential therapeutic drug targets. KRASG12V ECs expressing mScarlet, normal GFP-expressing ECs, and fibroblasts were seeded in hydrogel in the central chamber of a microfluidic platform. A ratio of KRASG12V ECs and normal ECs was used to mimic the heterogeneity of AVMs and to create focal areas of mutated cells. ECs self-assembled over the course of 7 days creating media-perfused microvessels. Vessel permeability/leakage was assessed via a fluorescent tracer. KRASG12V positive vessels showed significant larger diameter compared to microvessels consisting of non-mutated ECs. Mimicking the characteristics of AVMs in vivo, vessels containing the KRASG12V ECs were also more 2-fold more permeable to a fluorescent tracer than vessels without the mutation by 30 minutes. This is likely due to the disruption of cell-cell VE-cadherin in KRASG12V ECs, which will be quantified by immunofluorescence. Next steps include the assessment of the effects of different drugs (e.g. MEK inhibitors, which act upstream of ERK1/2), in vessel dilation, permeability, and VE-cadherin mediated cell-cell binding. We were able to recreate in vitro the key characteristics of AVMs, namely vessel enlargement and low barrier function, in a dynamic, perfused system. By developing an in vitro AVM in a human relevant model, we can improve our understanding of the AVM pathophysiology and reliably assess drug therapies.

Supervisor Name: Sara Vasconcelos

Year of Study: 2

Program of Study: MASc

Zoom link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89610372821?pwd=azd4SCtYVWtreVovaGNPV1c2NGY2Zz09

Meeting ID: 896 1037 2821

Password: 483329

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Nov
3
Wed
Xiaoshu Cao and BME UofT
Nov 3 @ 12:00 pm – 12:30 pm

Event Name: Graduate Seminar Series: Clinical Stream

Graduate Seminar Series for the Institute of Biomedical Engineering (BME). This day is for clinical stream presenters.

Presentation Title: Investigating the Effects of Rostral Fluid Shift and Obstructive Sleep Apnea on Airway Narrowing in Asthma

Abstract:
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is highly prevalent in asthma patients and has well-recognized relationship to asthma severity. This suggests a potential pathophysiological link between the two. Previously, we showed breathing against an occluded upper airway to simulate obstructive apneas could generate negative pleural pressure, draw fluid into the thorax, and narrow small airways. In this study, we aimed to investigate the role of OSA on fluid shift and airway narrowing in individuals with asthma. We hypothesized due to larger degree of negative pleural pressure generated by obstructive apneas.
Methods
Participants underwent an in-laboratory overnight sleep study using polysomnography. Before and after sleep, we measured TFV and respiratory system reactance at 5Hz (X5), as an index indicating small airway narrowing, using oscillometry technique. Changes in all measures between the two groups will be compared using analysis of covariance (ANCOVA).
Results
Compared to non-OSA group, participants with coexisting OSA showed significantly higher TFV and more narrowing in small airways overnight.
Conclusion
The results suggest that increases in TFV resulting from greater negative intrathoracic pressure swings during obstructive apneas are one mechanism by which OSA could worsen asthma at night.

Supervisor Name: Azadeh Yadollahi

Year of Study: 4

Program of Study: PhD

Zoom link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89610372821?pwd=azd4SCtYVWtreVovaGNPV1c2NGY2Zz09

Meeting ID: 896 1037 2821

Password: 483329

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Nov
11
Thu
Atoosa Ziyaeyan and BME UofT
Nov 11 @ 12:00 pm – 12:30 pm

Event Name: Graduate Seminar Series: Cell and Tissue Stream

Graduate Seminar Series for the Institute of Biomedical Engineering (BME). This day is for cell and tissue stream presenters.

Presentation Title: Developing and characterizing an in vitro osteochondral model for evaluating therapies to treat Psoriatic arthritis

Abstract:
The absence of a cure for PsA and limited studies surrounding its models increases the need to develop a reliable PsA model. We are developing a high-throughput ex vivo PsA model that allows reliable testing of novel therapeutic agents. Osteoarthritis (OA) and PsA share common features, and OA is considered a less inflammatory disease than PsA. Samples from OA patients are commonly used as controls for studies in PsA. Our lab has developed and validated an explant co-culture model consisting of cartilage and synovium tissues from end-stage OA patients to evaluate injectable therapies.
This co-culture system will be modified to include PsA synovial fluid (SF) and the osteochondral interphase. The presence of PsA synovial fluid is critical to better understand the role of immune cells such as T cells, neutrophils, and macrophages. We aim to use the validated OA model supplemented by PsA-related inflammatory components to build an inflammatory arthritis model that resembles PsA. Our model provides multiplexed and multivariate readouts of gene expression, secreted factors, extracellular matrix changes, and protease activity simultaneously in cartilage, synovium, and bone. This model may then be used to screen novel therapies for PsA.

Supervisor Name: Sowmya Viswanathan & Vinod Chandran (co-supervisor)

Year of Study: 2

Program of Study: MASc

Zoom link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89610372821?pwd=azd4SCtYVWtreVovaGNPV1c2NGY2Zz09

Meeting ID: 896 1037 2821

Password: 483329

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Juliana Gomez and BME UofT
Nov 11 @ 12:30 pm – 1:00 pm

Event Name: Graduate Seminar Series: Cell and Tissue Stream

Graduate Seminar Series for the Institute of Biomedical Engineering (BME). This day is for cell and tissue stream presenters.

Presentation Title: Molecular and functional maturation of engrafted pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes

Abstract:
The postnatal human heart has limited capacity to regenerate after injury. The transplantation of human pluripotent stem cell derived cardiomyocytes (hPSC-CMs) is a novel approach to regenerate the myocardium lost following injury and mitigate the pathological remodeling that ultimately leads to heart failure. However, in vitro hPSC-CMs have an immature phenotype that likely contributes to the transient arrhythmias observed during the initial weeks following cell transplantation, hindering safe translation into the clinic. Since we have histological evidence that engrafted hPSC-CMs mature over time and we know that graft-related arrhythmias subside after 3 weeks post-transplantation, we hypothesized that maturational changes in molecular and functional properties of hPSC-CMs in vivo allow the transplanted cells to electromechanically couple and beat in synchrony with the host myocardium in infarcted hearts. Considering that changes in hPSC-CMs post-transplantation remain largely unexplored, the aim of my project is to evaluate the dynamic phenotypical and transcriptional changes of the transplanted cells in vivo.
We are using single nucleus RNA sequencing (snRNAseq) to determine the transcriptional profile and cell population heterogeneity of the hPSC-CMs prior to transplantation and at different time points post-transplantation in both small (guinea pig) and large (pig) animal models. I will be focusing on the molecular changes that hPSC-CMs undergo following transplantation into the pig myocardial infarction model.

Supervisor Name: Michael Laflamme

Year of Study: 3

Program of Study: PhD

Zoom link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89610372821?pwd=azd4SCtYVWtreVovaGNPV1c2NGY2Zz09

Meeting ID: 896 1037 2821

Password: 483329

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Nov
12
Fri
Travis Douglas and BME UofT
Nov 12 @ 12:30 pm – 1:00 pm

Event Name: Graduate Seminar Series: Molecular Stream

Graduate Seminar Series for the Institute of Biomedical Engineering (BME). This day is for molecular stream presenters.

Presentation Title: A tethered-transcription system for on site cytosolic RNA manufacturing

Abstract: –

Supervisor Name: Dr. Leo Chou

Year of Study: 3

Program of Study: PhD

Zoom link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89610372821?pwd=azd4SCtYVWtreVovaGNPV1c2NGY2Zz09

Meeting ID: 896 1037 2821

Password: 483329

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