Western Medical Innovation Fellowship Program
The Western Medical Innovation Fellowship (MIF) immerses talented young scientists, engineers and clinicians in training and research environments that build innovation leaders and create novel medical technologies. The 2018-19 cohort of fellows accomplished this in spades.
As part of their program, the fellows completed the Medical Innovation Commercialization Bootcamp at the University of Minnesota and later consulted with clinicians across the local healthcare industry and developed two projects to address needs they discovered that fit within their areas of expertise.
These two projects are being spun-off into two London-based innovative medical startups thanks to the support of BURST, an incubation program for high-potential medical technology startups through the TechAlliance of Southwestern Ontario.
Both of the projects – ONPoint Medical and Tune-Out Medical – received an award valued at 70k each to help incorporate the businesses, develop prototypes and further enhance the technologies for market.
ONPoint Medical is a medical device company focused on developing products to improve diagnostics and treatment outcomes in physiotherapy and rehabilitation clinics. Tune-Out Medical aims to help ophthalmologists and patients undergoing eye surgery by providing a way to mask ocular sensation in order to prevent disruptive reflexive movements that can lead to surgical complications and cancellations.
“Being awarded these funds really helps the fellows pave the next phase of their entrepreneurial path post MIF program” said Souzan Armstrong, the director of the program. BURST will provide mentoring to the fellows, focusing their efforts on four main pillars: market validation, company structure, intellectual property and investor readiness.
Entering its fifth year, the Western Medical Innovation Fellowship – in partnership with Western’s BrainsCAN – attracted six talented scientists, engineers, and clinicians to take part in the intense 10.5 month program. The goal is to shape inventive and creative leaders that develop novel medical technologies that solve complex problems faced in healthcare. The 2019-20 cohort will focus on neuroscience, pediatrics, and surgery thanks to support from BrainsCAN, WORLDiscoveries®, the Ontario Brain Institute and Burroughs Wellcome Fund.
From L to R: Upon completing the 2018-19 program Ibrahim Marwa founded Tune-Out Medical, which provides solutions for ophthalmologists to mask ocular sensation. Bartosz Slak went on to join Ultrahaptics as a research and development engineer and Mahmoud Ramin joined Info-Tech Research Group as a research specialist. Maryam Siu and Jacob Reeves founded ONPoint Medical which provides solutions for balance assessment to facilitate rehabilitation.
With year over year growth of the program, the Medical Innovation Fellowship has placed special focus on securing funding and strengthening partnerships. The Ontario Brain Institute and Burroughs Wellcome Fund have provided grants for several program initiatives. Parkwood Institute and University Hospital have allowed more viewership for the fellows to ensure their clinical immersions are as insightful and valuable as possible. The program has also brought on more mentors to provide customized coaching to match the fellows’ interests and needs.
The cohort for 2019/2020 reached six members. From L to R, Souzan Armstrong, the director of the program welcomes Wagner H. Souza, who holds a PhD in neuroscience, Adam Paish, a PhD candidate in medical biophysics, Sathyanarayanan Sridhar who holds a PhD in bioengineering, Bashar Yafouz, who holds a PhD in biomedical engineering, Jeiran Eskandari a medical doctor, and Maryam Majedi a PhD candidate in computer science. They are joined by Rebecca Gould, the program’s new project coordinator.