Celebrating a Legacy of Innovation: Ting-Yim Lee’s Career Achievement Award

on January 15, 2024

Celebrating a Legacy of Innovation: Ting-Yim Lee’s Career Achievement Award

WORLDiscoveries is honoured to have presented Dr. Ting-Yim Lee with the Career Achievement Award at this year’s Vanguard Award Ceremony, recognizing his monumental contributions to medical imaging. Dr. Lee, a distinguished scientist,Director of PET/CT Research and medical physicist at Lawson Health Research Institute and St. Joseph’s Health Care London, is celebrated for his innovative work, which has significantly advanced medical technology and patient care.

A Pioneering Force in Medical Imaging

With an illustrious career marked by leadership and innovation, Dr. Lee pioneered advanced methods to analyze medical images from CT, MRI, and PET technologies. His efforts have produced important insights into diseases, aiding the diagnosis and treatment of countless patients. His academic contributions include 290 research papers, cited nearly 19,000 times, reflecting the profound impact of his work on the medical community.

Transformative Contributions and Lasting Impact

Dr. Lee’s work initially centred on dynamic CT scans for studying blood flow in stroke and cancer patients, and addressing challenges in cardiac imaging. He later transitioned his focus to PET scans, enhancing the detection of prostate cancer through quick, efficient scanning techniques. His development of CT Perfusion software has been instrumental in ovarian cancer trials across the U.S., showcasing its value as an early biomarker in treatment response assessment.

Innovations Translated into Clinical Practice

Beyond research, Dr. Lee’s practical contributions include eight patents and licensing agreements with GE HealthCare, translating his innovations into tools used in everyday clinical practice. His commitment to mentorship is equally noteworthy, having guided 70 graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, clinicians, and research associates, with many achieving prestigious accolades.

In response to receiving the award, Dr. Lee expresses gratitude for the support of colleagues and trainees, highlighting that such achievements result from collaborative efforts. WORLDiscoveries acknowledges that Dr. Lee’s work has transformed industries and inspired a generation to pursue innovation and entrepreneurship, leaving an indelible mark on society.


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Intellectual Property Strategy Boot Camp: A Launchpad for Innovators and Entrepreneurs

on January 15, 2024

Intellectual property (IP) is vital in the fast-paced innovation world. WORLDiscoveries, in collaboration with Western’s Faculty of Law and the Western Intellectual Property & Innovation Legal Clinic (WIPILC), brings you the IP Strategy Boot Camp. This intensive, six-week course empowers inventors, entrepreneurs, and start-ups with the essential skills to protect and commercialize their intangible assets in today’s digital economy.

Participants will dive into the intricacies of IP management, learning to navigate and leverage their intellectual assets effectively. The curriculum covers everything from the basics of IP rights to the complexities of commercialization, including IP audit, valuation, and the strategic aspects of patent filing and trademark registration. It’s a comprehensive toolkit for anyone looking to make their mark in innovation.

The program culminates in a certificate of completion, acknowledging the participants’ commitment and newfound expertise in IP strategy. This is more than just a course; it’s a collaborative effort that bridges legal education and practical innovation, providing invaluable insights and professional development opportunities, especially for law students.

Ideal for a diverse range of innovators, the IP Strategy Boot Camp is a step forward in combining innovation with legal acumen. It’s an opportunity to gain practical skills and insights, positioning participants at the forefront of intellectual property management and commercial success.

With WORLDiscoveries at the helm, this program is a testament to our dedication to fostering innovation and equipping the next generation of leaders with the tools they need to succeed in a data-driven world.

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Top row: Clara Sun, Lydia Ji and Eastelle Ding, Bottom row: Ronald Cheung and Aaron Cheung

Proteus Innovation Competition: Catalyzing Commercialization in Ontario’s Academia

on January 15, 2024

Entering its ninth year, the Proteus Innovation Competition continues to ignite the entrepreneurial spirit across Ontario’s universities. This dynamic four-month contest challenges innovators to develop and pitch commercialization strategies for novel technologies. With a $5,000 cash prize, the competition motivates participants to transform academic research into market-ready innovations.

Contestants select from five cutting-edge technologies from Ontario’s leading universities – Western University, McMaster University, the University of Windsor, the University of Waterloo, and Wilfrid Laurier University. The competition journey involves three key stages: abstract submission, a Business Plan Workshop, and a final pitch event.

This year’s technologies showcase diversity and potential, from advanced composite membranes and app-based support platforms to novel food packaging, wearable health monitors, and VR training for mental health. These innovations represent a leap forward in addressing varied industrial and societal challenges.

Sponsorship opportunities are available, offering visibility in the innovation ecosystem and supporting this collaborative effort, which includes participation from several universities and established companies.

Since its inception in 2015, the Proteus Innovation Competition has been a platform for nurturing innovation and business skills. Participants gain more than just a chance to win a prize; they get an opportunity for business strategy development, networking, and playing a role in bringing Ontario’s research innovations to market.

Proteus Innovation Competition is a prime example of the fusion of academic brilliance and practical application, resonating with the overarching theme of fostering innovative thinking and actionable solutions in academia

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Graduate Student Innovation Scholars: Fostering Future Innovators

on January 15, 2024

The Graduate Students Innovation Scholars (GSIS) program, in collaboration with the Morrissette Institute for Entrepreneurship, Ivey School for Business, and WORLDiscoveries, exemplifies our unwavering dedication to fostering the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs.

This unique program offers graduate students the opportunity to transcend traditional academic boundaries, combining academic rigor with an entrepreneurial spirit. It empowers students to apply their discipline-specific knowledge in an entrepreneurial context, with a primary mission of guiding them in transforming research technology into viable market solutions.

Participants in the GSIS program embark on a transformative journey, bridging groundbreaking technologies with real-world market opportunities. They develop intellectual property strategies and chart strategic paths for commercialization.

Beyond the classroom, scholars emerge with a profound understanding of commercialization and concrete outcomes, including well-crafted business plans and compelling pitches. While competition is a driving force, a sense of camaraderie prevails as teams vie for coveted awards recognizing the best business plans and pitches.

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WE-Empower! Program’s Inaugural Triumph: Celebrating Women’ in Innovation

on January 15, 2024

This past year marked a significant milestone for WORLDiscoveries with the successful launch and completion of the first year of the WE-Empower! Program. This innovative initiative, dedicated to advancing self-identifying women in research commercialization, has established itself as a transformative platform in its inaugural year. It aligns seamlessly with Western University’s strategic plan,

“Towards Western at 150.”

The WE-Empower! Program, in its essence, embodies the strategic themes of Western University’s plan: “Greater Impact,” “People, Community and Culture,” and “Western’s Place in the World.” It was one of the 24 projects awarded a portion of the $13.3 million funding from the Strategic Priorities Fund (SPF), designed to propel initiatives contributing to the University’s strategic commitments. The program’s alignment with the University’s strategic goals, particularly in fostering an inclusive community and promoting impactful research, was a key factor in securing this funding.

The WE-Empower! Program Fund, committed to nurturing groundbreaking ideas, awarded two $50,000 grants to outstanding participants, Meagan Furnivall and Erin Iredale. Meagan, a pioneer in midwifery, developed technology focuses on developing groundbreaking technology to enhance the safety and experience of skin-to-skin contact during caesarean birth. Erin Iredale, an expert in Medical Biophysics, led a team focused on developing electrotherapeutic strategies for brain cancer treatment. Their accomplishments reflect the program’s core value of propelling innovative ideas into practical applications and demonstrate its alignment with Western’s strategic priorities.

Program Structure and Impact

The eight-month mentorship and educational journey of the WE-Empower! program covered essential areas like entrepreneurship, IP protection, and market research, resonating with the strategic plan’s emphasis on fostering a culture of innovation and community engagement. Expert industry leaders and business development professionals provided support and training, enabling participants to transform their innovative ideas into commercially viable products.

The program’s first phase involved educational seminars and panel discussions, equipping participants with knowledge of business development. The second phase saw these women applying their acquired skills to their innovative projects, exploring funding opportunities, and translating their groundbreaking ideas into marketable ventures.

The journey of Meagan, Erin, and their peers in the program’s first year epitomizes the mission of empowering women in research commercialization and technology transfer. Their achievements and the demonstrated entrepreneurial spirit paved the way for future innovations. These inspiring stories highlight the critical role of women in driving forward-thinking ideas and creating a lasting impact in the field of innovation.

The Graduate Students Innovation Scholars (GSIS) program, in collaboration with the Morrissette Institute for Entrepreneurship, Ivey School for Business, and WORLDiscoveries, exemplifies our unwavering dedication to fostering the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs.

This unique program offers graduate students the opportunity to transcend traditional academic boundaries, combining academic rigor with an entrepreneurial spirit. It empowers students to apply their discipline-specific knowledge in an entrepreneurial context, with a primary mission of guiding them in transforming research technology into viable market solutions.

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The Medical Innovation Fellowship Program: Bridging the Gap Between Innovation and Medicine

on January 15, 2024

The Medical Innovation Fellowship (MIF) program, offered through WORLDiscoveries, is a remarkable testament to the power of collaboration, creativity, and a shared commitment to improving lives. As the program welcomes its latest cohort, it continues to leave a significant mark in medical innovation, where groundbreaking ideas meet real-world healthcare needs.

The New Faces of Medical Innovation

The new cohort brings together individuals with diverse expertise and backgrounds, promising to infuse fresh perspectives into the healthcare technology landscape.

Bianca Dias, with a Medical Degree and Health Tech MBA, brings 15 years of clinical experience treating Obesity and Diabetes. Her vision to integrate Precision Medicine with medical devices aims to revolutionize disease prevention and treatment.

Leah Veldhuis, a BASc graduate in Biomedical Engineering, has a rich background in designing novel medical devices. Her passion for solving unmet medical needs led her to co-found MILKit, focusing on a device that deactivates HIV in breast milk.

Lamees Mohammed, with a BSc in Genetics and an MSc in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, combines her strong foundation in neuroscience research with a passion for innovation. Her work in metabolic regulators of neurodevelopment and innovative techniques in RNA quantification highlights her entrepreneurial spirit.

Moshe Jacobs, with an HBA graduate in Kinesiology from Western University and MD from Lugansk State Medical University, specialized in innovative medical delivery using 3D printing technology for surgical instruments in rural Ukrainian communities. His work focuses on integrating technology with medicine to improve access to surgical treatments.

The Rise of Vessl Prosthetics: A Success Story

The MIF program’s impact is exemplified by the success story of Sydney Robinson and Oleksiy Zaika, co-founders of Vessl Prosthetics Inc. Their journey began within the MIF program, leading to the creation of an innovative automatically adjustable prosthetic socket that addresses the critical issue of poor socket fit for lower limb amputees. This invention automatically adjusts to limb size changes and has garnered significant recognition and financial support, including a $25,000 prize at the 2022 MSK Innovation Competition.

The MIF program fosters a culture of problem-solving and innovation. Now in its ninth year, the program offers a unique blend of business and technology commercialization education. Fellows collaborate with researchers, clinicians, and technology transfer offices to generate new intellectual property and prototype solutions for unmet clinical needs.

As the new cohort embarks on their transformative journey, they contribute to the legacy of the MIF program and its commitment to improving healthcare globally. The program, supported by Western’s BrainsCAN initiative, is a testament to WORLDiscoveries’ dedication to nurturing innovation and collaboration.

The journey of these talented individuals is not just about advancing their careers but about shaping the future of healthcare and patient care worldwide. As we celebrate the achievements of our alums and welcome the new cohort, the MIF program continues to inspire innovation and entrepreneurship, demonstrating a shared commitment to improving healthcare and patients’ lives worldwide.

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Group RSP Onboarding: Shaping the Future of Retirement

on January 15, 2024

Understanding and planning for retirement is a crucial step for us all. Matthew Davison, alongside his colleagues Chuck Grace and Leon Feng, is leading the charge in transforming how Canadians approach this essential stage of life. Together, they have developed a groundbreaking Group RSP onboarding platform tailored to guide employees through decisions involved in enrolling in an employer-sponsored retirement plan. This innovative tool stands to enhance financial wellness and decision-making.

Davison, an expert in the confluence of mathematics, physics, and financial technology, holds a Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics from Western University, preceded by a Bachelor of Applied Science in Engineering Science, specializing in Geophysics, from the University of Toronto.

The Group RSP onboarding platform is a digital tool designed to help employees easily understand and make decisions about their retirement savings plans offered by their employers. It simplifies choosing investment options based on each employee’s personal risk tolerance, financial goals, and other factors. The platform uses a combination of interactive questionnaires, gamified elements, and data-driven insights to guide users in making informed choices for their future financial well-being.

Central to this platform is the harmonious fusion of empirical research, behavioural finance insights, and gamification. Davison notes, “We’ve been working on the financial wellness of Canadians for about five years now,” underscoring the depth of research and collaboration. This innovative approach to risk tolerance assessment represents a departure from conventional financial tools, integrating advanced data capture that aligns with Canada’s stringent regulatory standards and the principles of the emerging Open Banking regime.

The platform’s core function is to empower employees, providing them with a clear, intuitive understanding of their financial futures by simulating various investment outcomes. “Our tool simulates different outcomes over time, giving different solutions based on timelines and client needs. It can show you what your portfolio might look like at the end of that period of years,” explains Davison, illustrating the platform’s capability to project realistic financial scenarios. This is supported by actuarial modelling, which offers employees insights into optimal investment strategies and savings patterns tailored to their unique financial goals.

Partnership with WORLDiscoveries

Integral to the platform’s journey to market has been the collaboration with WORLDiscoveries. This partnership has been pivotal in navigating the complex terrain of commercialization and intellectual property protection. Davison commends this collaboration: “We enjoyed our work with WORLDiscoveries. Tristan Harrison was our supporting Business Development Manager, and working with him was a great experience,” highlighting the crucial role WORLDiscoveries played in bringing this innovation to life.

Davison’s vision for the platform extends beyond its current capabilities. Looking to the future, he sees it fundamentally reshaping Canadian retirement planning. “We’ve already licensed the software to a financial institution for their onboarding,” he reflects on the potential for continuous improvement and adaptation based on user feedback from partners.

The Group RSP onboarding platform epitomizes the power of collaborative innovation in solving complex challenges. Simplifying the retirement planning process not only enhances financial literacy among employees but also paves the way toward a more financially secure future for Canadians. This tool is not just a technological advancement; it’s a step towards a more financially aware and prepared society.

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Beyond the Beat: Flownostics’ Non-Invasive Revolution in Heart Health

on January 15, 2024

Dr. Aaron So’s trailblazing work in medical technology, exemplified by the cutting-edge quantitative functional vascular imaging technology, perfectly aligns with this annual report’s theme, “Innovating with Purpose.” His technology provides the world’s first and only solution to reveal real and quantitative hemodynamic information in the coronary arteries and capillaries of the heart from a single contrast injection and CT scan, a significant leap in non-invasive cardiac CT diagnostics.

A Visionary’s Journey

Dr. So obtained his Ph.D. in Medical Biophysics from Western University and his Bachelor of Science with Honours from McMaster University. He is currently a Lawson Scientist and Professor in the Department of Medical Biophysics at Western University. As part of an active research program, he is dedicated to mentoring students at various academic levels at Western, serving as a research supervisor, thesis examiner and advisory committee member. Beyond his academic activities, he is also taking an active role in the commercialization of this technology with the founding of FlownosticsTM Inc. This Canadian company will bring the technology to market. His reason for doing so is clear, “Each step forward in cardiac diagnostics extends lives and enhances the quality of every heartbeat,” reflects Dr. So, capturing the essence of his commitment to medical research progress and the commercialization of the technology

Flownostics: Pinnacle of Precision and Practicality

The Flownostics’ technology enables rapid and accurate blood pressure measurement across an atherosclerotic plaque in a coronary artery, which can determine if a patient with coronary artery disease requires further invasive diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. This novel technology overcomes the limitations of the existing technology in the field, for which the assessment is based on computationally intensive fluid dynamics simulation. “Flownostics’ technology represents a significant advancement in non-invasive cardiac CT diagnostics,” So asserts.

Because brute-force computer simulation is unnecessary, Flownostics’ technology allows rapid and onsite blood pressure analysis for the coronary arteries without sending the cardiac CT images to a remote lab for analysis, facilitating a much faster patient triage and clinical decision-making. It can also provide a more reliable assessment for coronary stenosis with heavy calcification than the simulation-based approach because CT image artifacts emanating from dense calcification may reduce the accuracy of fluid dynamics simulation.

This capability complements another Flownostics technology, which can further resolve the blood flow velocity and pressure within a single heartbeat (~1000 milliseconds) and is particularly useful for assessing the heart-induced pulsating blood flow characteristics in patients with valvular heart diseases. A potential application of this technology is to determine in patients with aortic stenosis whether the blood flow ejected from the left heart chamber into the ascending aorta is obscured by the calcified aortic valve, from which the need for aortic valve replacement can be assessed. The Flownostics suite of technologies is in its own category for a comprehensive and non-invasive assessment for cardiac patients.

Strategic Partnerships and Future Horizons

Dr. So’s alliance with WORLDiscoveries has been instrumental in navigating the complex realm of intellectual property and market strategy. “WORLDiscoveries guided me step by step…how this IP can be protected…where you can bring your technology to commercialization,” acknowledges Dr. So. This partnership is crucial in bringing the suite technologies of Flownostics to the forefront of cardiac care. “Dr. So’s technology is a clear advancement over the gold standard invasive method to determine fractional flow reserve and has numerous clinically important advantages over competitive non-invasive methods that have been in development by others. With further clinical validation through a global multi-centre clinical trial that is happening right now and Dr. So’s commitment to enhancing the technology exemplified by three independent Flownostics technology patents’ filings thus far, we envision Flownostics will become the non-invasive gold standard for cardiac assessment”, says Kirk Brown, Lawson’s Manager of Business Development. 

As Flownostics progresses through clinical validation, its potential to revolutionize healthcare delivery is increasingly becoming apparent. Rapid, accurate hemodynamic assessments and non-invasive, precise flow measurements promise to streamline the diagnostic process, deliver swift results, and advocate a patient-centric approach to cardiac evaluation. With the strategic backing of WORLDiscoveries, Flownostics is poised to become a cornerstone in innovative cardiac care, improving patient outcomes and enhancing lives globally.

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Empowering Youth Worldwide: The Fourth R Program’s Journey of Education and Innovation

on January 15, 2024

Empowering Youth Worldwide: The Fourth R Program’s Journey of Education and Innovation

In an age of rapid educational evolution, the demand for programs that equip adolescents with academic knowledge, nurture healthy relationships, and mitigate risky behaviours is rising. In response to this pressing need, “The Fourth R” emerges as a beacon of innovation. The Fourth R was developed at the CAMH Centre for Prevention Science, boldly extending the traditional three Rs of education—Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic—by introducing a transformative fourth element: Relationships. This groundbreaking program changes the educational landscape and profoundly shapes the lives of young individuals.

The Fourth R program recognizes that relationships play a pivotal role in the lives of young individuals and society. Just as schools teach foundational academic skills, The Fourth R believes schools should provide accurate information and ample opportunities to practice healthy relationship skills. This approach has resonated with educators and communities alike.

More than 5,000 schools in Canada and the United States have embraced the Fourth R program, incorporating it into their curricula to empower students with the skills needed for positive relationships. As part of its ongoing success story, The Fourth R is poised to embark on an international journey, reaching out to the Dominican Republic in 2023-2024. 

The Dominican Republic Initiative

This significant milestone marks the expansion of The Fourth R program beyond Canadian and American borders to make a meaningful impact in the Dominican Republic. At the forefront of this international venture is Heidi Luft, serving as an Assistant Professor in the School of Nursing at The University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) and a member of The Center for Violence Prevention at UTMB. Luft’s role extends further as the Lead of the Dissemination and Implementation Team at the UTMB Institute for Translational Science, an initiative supported by the NIH Centers for Translational Sciences Award. This role is a testament to her dedication to adapting evidence-based interventions for new, resource-limited contexts with significant needs. Luft’s involvement with The Fourth R program commenced during her tenure in the Dominican Republic, where she first identified the program’s immense potential for enacting positive change.

Luft shared her vision with Claire Crooks, Director of CSMH and a founding partner of The Fourth R, along with program co-founders Ray Hughes and David Wolfe, and Education Professor Emeritus Peter Jaffe. Their shared enthusiasm for the program’s impact laid the foundation for its introduction in the Dominican Republic.

A Model for Global Change

The Fourth R’s expansion to the Dominican Republic holds promise for the nation’s youth and serves as a potential model for similar international adaptation efforts. Claire Crooks, The Fourth R founding partner and director of CSMH, emphasized the need for culturally sensitive and locally informed programming in teen dating violence prevention.

The collaboration between Heidi Luft, CSMH, and partners in the Dominican Republic exemplifies the power of education and community engagement in fostering healthy relationships and reducing risky behaviors among adolescents. As this international journey unfolds, the hope is that it will inspire other regions to adopt similar initiatives.

Behind the scenes, WORLDiscoveries, has played a pivotal role in driving the success of The Fourth R program. 

In 2020, the management of The Fourth R’s operations was entrusted to WORLDiscoveries, leading to significant improvements, including developing a new website and electronic delivery system for the program’s 100 products tailored to Canadian and American school boards. Claire Crooks praised the transition, noting that it alleviated pressure on her research team and allowed for a more streamlined approach to commercialization.

Empowering Researchers for Success

WORLDiscoveries extends its support to The Fourth R and other direct-to-market products and researchers across London. The department provides expertise in patenting technologies, formulating intellectual property strategies, product development, and licensing, and even supports establishing new companies, fostering a vibrant ecosystem of innovation and commercialization.

The expansion of The Fourth R program to the Dominican Republic is a testament to the enduring importance of holistic education. Programs like The Fourth R are shaping an empowered generation.

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Forging Innovation Partnerships: WORLDiscoveries and Ontario Colleges

on January 15, 2024

In today’s dynamic world of innovation, the path to success is often paved with collaboration. At WORLDiscoveries, we stand at the forefront of celebrating innovation and entrepreneurship, driven by our commitment to nurturing partnerships within our community. One outstanding collaboration that exemplifies our mission is our partnership with Ontario Colleges, including Collège La Cité and Durham College.

Central to this strategic alliance is our shared dedication to Intellectual Property (IP) and our joint efforts to drive innovation and economic growth through specialized educational programs focused on IP. Often considered an intangible asset, intellectual property is pivotal in scaling and competing effectively.

Intellectual Property (IP) has gained tremendous prominence as the economic landscape increasingly shifts toward knowledge-based industries. It now represents a substantial portion of the total value of companies in Canada. In this context, we recognize a unique opportunity to explore further and harness the potential of IP resources with the support of institutions like IPON, which funds IP educational programs for Ontario colleges.

By joining forces with Ontario Colleges, WORLDiscoveries is embarking on an exciting collaboration with partners like Collège La Cité and Durham College. Together, we aim to leverage the educational resources related to IP in a way that has never been done before. This partnership extends our reach and amplifies our impact, ultimately enhancing Ontario’s potential for innovation and economic prosperity.

Our collaboration with Collège La Cité and Durham College, is more than just a partnership; it is a testament to our unwavering commitment to innovation, entrepreneurship, and our collective endeavour to unlock the full potential of Intellectual Property. This union is a beacon of hope for Ontario’s future, promising more jobs, economic growth, and a brighter tomorrow for all.

In a changing world where innovation drives progress, collaborations like this serve as a powerful reminder. They remind us that when brilliant minds come together, possibilities become boundless. Together, we are purposefully innovating and steering Ontario toward a more prosperous and innovative future.

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