Synapse Life Science Pitch Competition Press Release

Teams finalized for 2016 Synapse Life Science Competition

Innovation Factory is pleased to share that teams have been finalized for the third annual Synapse Life Science Competition!

During the Meet & Greet on January 6, life science innovators and grad students got to know each other in a speed dating-style session where both the innovators and students had the opportunity to select their picks for partnerships in moving forward in the competition. The resulting teams are:

20/20 Optimeyes

Team Members:  Dr. Heather Sheardown, Frances Lasowski, Ben Muirhead

Description:  We have developed a new mucoadhesive drug delivery vehicle that will be used to deliver Cyclosporine A, the only drug that is currently FDA approved for treating dry eye. This condition affects 10-20% of the population, and limits their ability to participate in outdoor activities, use a computer, or wear contact lenses.

Student Participants: Denise Kam & Aliyah Mohamed


Team Members:  Dr. Sana Jahanshahi-Anbuhi, Dr. Carlos Filipe

Description: When enzymes and bio-reagents are shipped around the world, they are shipped in dry ice. This is to preserve their activity since some of these molecules are fragile and are not able to withstand ambient conditions. Such sensitivity and instability nature of bio-reagents, make running the biological assessment beyond the laboratories and in remote areas a significant challenge. We have proposed a technology, which in summary an inexpensive and simple method is developed for creating biosensors-in-pills which allows for storage of labile reagents over long periods of time.

Student Participants: Areeba Athar & Sherry Yang


Team Members: Alexander Theodorou, Ryan Odenthal, Yanesh Prithipaul

Description: NeurOculus utilizes a virtual reality headset, which allows the wearer to interact and move in 3D space, combining the dynamic aspects of gameplay with the structured aspects of therapy. This novel therapeutic device is designed to address cognitive deficits following a traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Student Participant: Manish Kar

Oral Health Innovation Ontario

Team Members:  Dr. John Bembenek, Joan Bembenek

Description: My innovation is a containment system for particle blasting used in the mouth, hand held or on a countertop. This system isolates the working area completely, removes the spent particles carefully and simultaneously during the procedure with high suction, and safe disposal. With the new adhesives and resins now routinely used in dentistry this conditioning of any tooth surface increases the bond strength of the restoration, no matter which restorative material is being used.

Student Participants: Stephen Catapano & Ricky Ghosal

Penta Medical

Team Members:  Alexa Roeper, Mehdi Zargar, Amit Mehta, Andres Garcia

Description: Penta Medical is developing a technical medical fabric with five key benefits; it promotes faster healing, reduces inflammation, alleviates musculoskeletal related pain, is antibacterial, and is highly sustainable.

Student Participant: Jacob Brodka


Team Members: Sergio Aguirre, Dr. Aaron Fenster, Matthew Asselin

Description: We have developed a medical image-guidance platform than be used to target cancers and deliver therapeutic interventions less invasively. Our platform will enable doctors to plan, deliver and monitor specific therapies with greater accuracy, thus, greatly reducing the risks of side effects and deliver better therapeutic outcomes.

Student Participant: Matthew Currie

Qidni Labs Inc.

Team Members: Dr. Morteza Ahmadi

Description: Qidni Labs Inc. is working on an implantable artificial kidney, which is based on a durable and biocompatible nano-filtration technology. This medical device provides access to renal replacement therapy, continuously and automatically. Our implantable artificial kidney would reduce several costs associated with caregivers, dialysis. equipment, and travel, providing patients and their insurance providers a cost saving of several tens of thousands of dollars a year per patient.

Student Participant: Michael Wong


Team Members:  Andrew Martinko, Chad Sweeting, Derek Jouppi

Description: Suncayr has developed a colour-changing indicator to detect when your sunscreen is no longer protecting you. The indicator is applied directly to the skin before applying sunscreen. When you are protected, the indicator is one color, but when the sunscreen wears off and your skin is exposed to UV, the indicator immediately changes to another color. This gives an easy visual warning that your sunscreen is no longer protecting you, so you can reapply and stay protected.

Student Participant: Chitman Josan


Team Members: Asfia Soomro, Dr. Rheinstadter, Richard Alsop

Description: We combine optical microscopy, tensile tests, and X-ray diffraction on scalp hair of healthy and unhealthy individuals, to determine its significance as a biomedical marker. With this research, hair may one day be able to save time in diagnosing certain cancers, and other medical conditions.

Student Participant: Kara Tsang


Team Members:  Theo Versteegh, Jeff Fischer

Description: TopSpin360 (TS360) is a patent pending device developed to prevent concussions. Poor neck strength can lead to a greater concussion risk, so the TS360 system is built as a self-driven system affixed to a helmet to increate neck strength and minimize concussion risk.

Student Participants:
Ibsar Hashmi & Jaskiran Nanda

Virtual Possibilities

Team Members:  Mitch Wilson, Dr. David Langlois, Lawrence Schembri

Description: Virtual Possibilities Inc. (VPI) is commercializing novel surgical navigation system technology designed to markedly improve the safety profile and accuracy of laparoscopic procedures. Our solution will reduce surgical tool-patient tissue collisions, reduce costly readmission procedures and improve the efficiency, workflow speed and preoperative planning in an operating room, by increasing surgeon’s confidence in the correct placement of hardware therapy.

Student Participant: Xiaoyue Wang

Thus far, the eleven teams have developed executive summaries and are currently working hard on developing commercialization plans for their innovative concepts. The three teams with the strongest commercialization plans will then compete in a pitch showcase on April 6, 2016.

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