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Medical Innovation Fellows work to develop new technologies

on July 24, 2021

Western has recruited some of the top scientists, engineers and medical residents from across the country to be part of the seventh cohort of its Medical Innovation Fellowship (MIF) program.

Moving into its seventh year, the Western Medical Innovation Fellowship (MIF) program has recruited a group of talented clinicians, scientists and engineers to tackle some of the medical field’s most pressing challenges.

The program takes place over 10.5 months where fellows will learn about topics relevant to business and technology commercialization, prior to being immersed in clinics, where they identify market needs. They then develop and prototype solutions by working with researchers, clinicians and technology transfer offices to generate new intellectual property. Graduates of the program have become leaders in industry, research and health care and have started their own companies.

Launched in 2015, the program initially recruited three fellows per cohort; it has now grown to eight. Starting in August the fellows will complete a boot camp that lays the groundwork for the rest of the fellowship meeting with academic researchers, clinicians, industry representatives, venture capitalists that provide training on innovation, prototyping, intellectual property, regulatory affairs and business strategy.

“We are excited for what lays ahead for the new cohort. Previous cohort have clearly demonstrated that even a pandemic cannot stop our innovators and entrepreneurs from overcoming challenges and finding new ways of achieving our objectives” says Souzan Armstrong, the program director, “the new cohort will build on the wisdom of previous fellows and forge their own path for creativity and entrepreneurship in the coming months.”

The program is led by WORLDiscoveries, the business development and technology transfer office for London’s research institutions. Western’s BrainsCAN initiative committed more than $3.5 million over seven years to the program, along with MITACS and the Western Bone and Joint Institute’s Collaborative Training Program in Musculoskeletal Health Research.

This year’s participants include:

Malcolm Eaton

BSc, Microbiology, The University of British Columbia
PhD, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, The University of Calgary

Malcolm Eaton is passionate about exploring the root causes of disease, mainly how genetic and environmental interactions affect fetal development. After his time researching inborn errors in metabolism at Newborn Screening Ontario, Malcolm completed a PhD at the University of Calgary. He discovered novel ways in which the placenta adapts to dietary changes. Malcolm’s primary expertise are in genetics and endocrinology and are supported by technical knowledge in data analytics and image analysis.

Sydney Robinson

BASc, Mechanical Engingeering, Queen’s University
MESc, Biomedical Engineering, Western University

Sydney completed her BASc in Mechanical Engineering with a specialization in biomechanics at Queen’s University. She went on to complete her MESc in Biomedical Engineering at Western. Sydney’s thesis project focused on the use of four-dimensional computed tomography (4DCT) to characterize healthy motion of the wrist and to differentiate healthy and injured wrists. Sydney is passionate about medical device design and how to deliver innovative solutions to patients.

Oleksiy Zaika

BSc, Biomedical Sciences, University of Guelph
MSc, Clinical Anatomy, Western University
PhD Candidate, Anatomy and Cell Biology, Western University

Oleksiy Zaika’s graduate research has been supported by the Ontario Graduate Scholarship, Frederick Banting and Charles Best Doctoral Award through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and international presentation and publication honors. He co-founded and is currently the President of the Western Chapter at the University Consulting Group, which has excelled at providing pro-bono work for non-profits in Canada in the specialties of medical services, professional development, and social impact. Oleksiy is passionate about the acceleration of individualized medical solutions using artificial intelligence, 3D printing and genomics, which aim to improve patient quality of life and decentralize accessibility of care.

Jeffrey Poon

MB, BCh, BAO, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
FRCS(C), Orthopaedic Surgery Residency, McMaster University

Jeffrey Poon is an orthopaedic surgeon who has trained and worked in a wide variety of environments and healthcare systems. He believes that healthcare can be delivered more safely and efficiently. Jeff plans to integrate his experiences with his wide variety of interests to innovate solutions. Outside of medicine, he is passionate about any outdoor activity. He has surfed, sailed, skied, biked, hiked, climbed and dived in almost every continent except Antarctica. He likes any thing that keeps him adventuring and loves to help others do the same.

Olumide Olotu

BSc, Kinesiology, McMaster University
MD, St. George’s University School of Medicine

Olumide Olotu is a recent medical graduate with an interest in Orthopedic surgery. He is Nigerian by birth and moved to Canada to pursue university education. Prior to medical school, he graduated with a B.Sc Kinesiology from McMaster University and worked at a physiotherapy clinic for a few years. He is a registered kinesiologist with the College of Kinesiologists Ontario. Experience in Physical rehabilitation and Accident benefits claims relating to Motor vehicle accident (MVA) and Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) patients.

Eveline Pasman

PhD, University of British Columbia
MD, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen, The Netherlands

Eveline Pasman recently finished her PhD in Kinesiology at the University of British Columbia. Her PhD focused on better understanding the brain regions involved in postural instability in Parkinson’s disease using a novel balance simulator that allows participants to perform balance tasks while supine in an MRI scanner. Pasman is returning to the Medical Innovation fellowship program again this year to continue work on a project and mentor the new cohort of fellows. She also holds a medical degree from the Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands, and has clinical experience working as a neurology resident. She aims to combine her clinical and research backgrounds, together with her experience at the Medical Innovation Program, to drive medical innovation that improves the quality of life of patients, especially those living with neurological diseases.

Valentin Lyashenko

BEng, Chemical Engineering and Computer Science, Ryerson University

Valentin Lyashenko is an innovative engineer and an aspiring entrepreneur, with a technical background in chemical engineering, computer science and cybersecurity from Ryerson University. His unique educational background in combination with his previous industry and startup experience makes him a truly multidisciplinary professional. Lyashenko has worked several years in the engineering industry and gained excellent hands-on problem-solving skills. He is passionate about technologies and their applications in the medical domain to improve the quality of our lives directly.

Xinyi Li

BEng, Chemical Engineering, East China University of Science and Technology
MEng, Reaction and Process Control, Western University
PhD, Biomedical Engineering, Western University

Xinyi Li is currently finishing her PhD in the School of Biomedical Engineering at Western University. Her doctoral research focuses on multifunctional drug delivery systems for localized treatments of diseases. As a result, she developed expertise in biomaterials, microfluidics, and drug delivery. Her doctoral thesis involves collaboration with research teams in different fields, and she acquired strong project management and communication skills. At Western, she also actively participated in diverse curricular and extracurricular activities, where she gained experience in research translation and commercialization. Li firmly believes that the advancement in science and technology can bring a positive impact to society. She aims to pursue a career in the medical device industry with a focus on biotechnology and nanotechnology.

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