Conference Speakers

We are delighted to welcome each of these accomplished individuals to speak at AIM 2019 during either our keynote discussions or panel sessions! Quick Links:

Keynote Speakers


Dr. Jason Fields, PhD

President, CEO - Life Sciences Ontario

Dr. Jason Field is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Life Sciences Ontario (LSO). LSO collaborates with governments, academia, industry and other life science organizations across Canada to promote and encourage commercial success throughout the diverse sector. Following graduate school, Jason worked in the pharmaceutical industry as a research scientist developing scalable manufacturing processes of active pharmaceutical ingredients. In 2007, Jason joined the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade (MEDT) where he led a team of senior advisors dedicated to growing Ontario’s life sciences and information and communication technologies sectors. Jason was integral to the development of strategic policy initiatives and spearheaded negotiations with several major ICR and life sciences companies during his tie at MEDT.

Dr. Bruce Seet, PhD, MBA

Director of Medical Affairs - Sanofi Pasteur

Dr. Bruce Seet has a diverse background and experience. He earned is Bachelor (Human Physiology) and Doctoral (Microbiology and Immunology) degrees from Western University,followed by a post-doctoral research fellowship at the Lunenfeld Research Institute at Mt. Sinai Hospital. Bruce joined Sanofi Pasteur in 2014 and is now the Director of Medical Affairs. After a decade of research in academia, Dr. Seet joined GalaxoSmithKline (GSK) in 2006, holding a variety of roles in Medical Affairs, Marketing, Policy and Market Access and Reimbursement, and supported a range of therapy fields including vaccines, oncology, and other specialty care products. While at GSK, he completed his MBA at the Rotman School of Management. Dr. Bruce Seet uses his unique experience to enhance the professional development of graduate-level trainees. He also serves on the Research Management Committee as well as the HQP Development Committee for BioCanRx, a Network Centres of Excellence (NCE) that accelerates the clinical development of promising cancer immunotherapies in Canada. He is also the President and founder of the Science to Business Network (S2BN)

Linda Zhao, PhD

Strategic Partnerships Manager

Linda Zhao received her PhD from the University of Toronto in December 2017, where she focused on immune cell development and its role in multiple sclerosis. During her PhD, Linda was a Brand Ambassador at Adecco working with New England Biolabs.  Linda joined Toronto-based biotech company Cyclica as a Solutions Scientist. Cyclica aims to help drug discovery become faster, safer and cheaper, by providing scientists with an integrated network of cloud-based and AI-augmented technologies. As a Solutions Scientist, Linda worked with users of Cyclica’s platform to demonstrate uses, identify new research and development opportunities and providing insights for long-term growth. Linda is now the Strategic Partnerships Manager at Cyclica where she provides technical support, manages client projects and maintains client relationships and supports all business development and marketing activities.

Ali Etemad, PhD

Assistant Professor Electrical and Computer Engineering
Queen's University

Dr. Etemad is a member of the Biomedical and Intelligent Systems research group at the department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. After earning his doctorate in Electrical and Computer Engineering at Carleton University in 2014, Dr. Etemad became the director of the Ambient Intelligence and Interaction (Amii) lab. Ambient intelligence is the notion of integrating artificial intelligence, machine learning and data science into every aspect of our lives in order for our environment to continuously understand, analyze and interact with us seamlessly. The Amii lab aims to design, develop and utilize wearable and internet of things (IoT) devices and design and implement machine learning, pattern recognition and data-driven methods using advanced cloud-computing frameworks to perform usability analysis to move towards a pervasively intelligent environment and achieve ubiquity in interaction.

Brenda Brouwer, PhD

Head of Academic Partnerships
Vector Institute

Brenda Brouwer provides leadership for the RAISE AI talent development initiative. She has served as Vice-Provost and Dean of the School of Graduate Studies, where she provided academic and administrative leadership, including the expansion and development of graduate credentials including professional and applied advanced degrees, and the establishment of policies and best practices that support academic excellence and acadmicand professional development for students. Brenda was president of the Canadian Association of Graduate Studies (2014-2017) and involved in activities to strengthen graduate education in Canada and the formation of highly skilled and sought-after graduates to support societal well-being, global economies, and the advancement of technology and innovation. Brenda has also served on the Ontario Universities Council on Quality Assurance (2014-2018), the provincial body responsible for assuring the quality of all programs leading to degrees. At the Vector Institute, Brenda works with institutions, industry, startups, incubators and accelerators to advance AI research and drive its application and commercialization across Canada.

Shyam Ramchandani, PhD

Vice President of Research and Development
Analytics 4 Life

Dr. Ramchandani is a serial life sciences entrepreneur with over a decade of drug discovery industry experience. Prior to his entrepreneurial success, Shyam was a research scientist at Tularik Inc. and Cytokinetics, actively participating in preclinical studies including drug discovery and business development efforts in cancer, immunology, and cardiac muscle biology. Currently Shyam has adjunct appointments in Ophthalmology and the Smith School of Business at Queen’s University. Shyam has an MBA from Queen’s University and earned his doctorate in Pharmacology and Therapeutics at McGill University with his thesis work being the basis for founding MethylGene, a Canadian biopharma company that merged with Mirati Therapeutics. At Analytics4Life Shyam aims to transform healthcare using artificial intelligence to develop medical imaging solutions, beginning with coronary artery disease.

Panel A: Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in Industry

Stuart Young, PhD

Medical Affairs 
Sanofi Pasteur

Stuart Young received an undergraduate degree in Chemical and Bioengineering from McMaster University, where he first began research during NSERC Undergraduate Summer Research terms. He completed a PhD at Queen’s University in the Collaborate Biomedical Engineering program, developing polymeric biomaterials for cell delivery, tissue engineering, and drug delivery and studying the immune responses in vivo. After graduation, Stuart enrolled in the Graduate Diploma in Pharmaceutical & Healthcare Management and Innovation to bridge from academia to industry, and is currently working on co-op in the Medical Affairs department at Sanofi Pasteur in North York.

Ahmed Elharram, PhD

Scientific Affairs

Dr. Ahmed Elharram received both his master’s and PhD degrees at Queen’s University in the department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, and in Drug Development, Therapeutics, and Human Toxicology in the department of Biomedical and Molecular Science. His thesis research, entitled Aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 knockout mice as a potential model of Vascular Cognitive Impairment and Alzheimer’s disease, focused on the characterization of a novel mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease and Vascular Cognitive Impairment, as well as the assessment of a variety of different novel therapeutics for treatment. He is currently working in the Scientific Affairs department at AstraZeneca in the field of Respiratory, Inflammation, and Autoimmunity, and his work focuses on PRECISION, a referral enhancing, capability-building, and policy-shaping program aiming to improve the quality and speed of care for patients with severe asthma.

Muhammad Usama Arabi, PharmD, RPh

Medical Affairs

Muhammad Usama Arabi is a Rare Disease Medical Affairs Intern at Pfizer Canada. He helps the medical team with market analysis for upcoming medical projects and gathering clinical insights via establishing relationships with key opinion leaders. Prior to starting the PHMI Graduate Diploma program at Queen’s University, Usama completed his Doctor of Pharmacy degree at the University of Toronto while simultaneously working at various hospitals across Ontario including CAMH, Belleville General Hospital and St. Joseph’s Health Centre. After working in direct patient care for a number of years, Usama decided to enter the pharmaceutical industry in order to maximize his impact on healthcare and innovative medicine development.

Ayesha Shabbir, PharmD

Medical Affairs 
Bristol-Myers Squibb

Ayesha completed her PharmD in Pakistan. After graduation, Ayesha worked in the first JCIA accredited (Joint Commission of International Accreditation) hospital in the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council), American Hospital Dubai as a Clinical Pharmacist Associate. With the opportunity and eager to pursue further in the hospital setting  -  guiding and collaborating with the physicians in Oncology, she landed an opportunity as a Specialty Pharmacist in Oncology at one of the largest private South African healthcare group, Mediclinic Group Inc. With clinical expertise, she started off as a Patient Recruitment Specialist, then moved to Apotex Inc. as a Global Medical Affairs Professional. She joined the PMHI program at Queen’s in 2018 and working with a dynamic, challenging team of Medical Advisors in Medical Affairs at Bristol-Myers Squibb.

Scott Fitzpatrick, PhD

Scott completed his PhD in Biomedical Engineering at McMaster University in 2012. Following graduation, he joined Covalon Technologies as a biomaterials scientist. Using his expertise in ophthalmic biomaterials, he joined Bayer in 2014 as a Medical Science Liaison. Today, Scott is a member of Bayer's Global MSL Steering Committee for Ophthalmology  and is the Medical Lead for National Brand Campaign and a Core Member of Bayer Canada's Innovation Council.

Panel B: Making the Leap into Industry

Senior Medical Science Liaison

Nuala Trainor, PhD

Director of Biological Programs

Dr. Nuala Trainor has obtained her PhD in Biomedical Engineering a the University of Oxford. She has 15 years of experience in cell culture, tissue engineering, medical devices and bioreactor development. Dr. Trainor now works at Octane where she focuses on the customization of Octane’s automated bioreactor platform developed for the clinical production of cell therapy and tissue engineered regenerative medicine products. Octane is a medical technology company that develops, manufactures, and commercializes regenerative medicine solutions for medical device and cell therapy companies. Her experience in industry has led her to take on leadership roles in business strategy, commercial translation and customer interaction alongside technical leadership in R&D, process development, and technology introduction to the market.

Jim Banting, PhD

Assistant Vice-Principal (Partnership and Innovation) 
President and CEO
PARTEQ Innovations

Dr. Banting has over 15 years of experience in the life science sector. He was the head of business development at Sigma-Tau Pharmaceuticals, focused on rare diseases, and transitioned to the Human Genome Sciences, a biotechnology company in which he led the due diligence and negotiation of a number of in- and out-licensing, manufacturing, platform, and co-development related collaborations. PARTEQ aims to provide researchers with intellectual property and commercialization expertise necessary to advance their discoveries to benefit the public. Dr. Banting and his team provide strategic direction to enhance and grow partnerships and collaborations with industry, and to support knowledge translation and the various avenues for the commercialization of research.

Maurice Shen, PhD

Head of Academic Relations

Maurice obtained his PhD. in Pharmacology from the University of Toronto in 2015. His thesis examined the physiological role of a novel dopamine receptor complex, the D1-D2 heteromer, in drug addiction and depression-related behaviours, as well as the associated neuroadapatations. Maurice believes that the current research process can be greatly complemented by the recent advance in machine learning technology. Maurice has worked to harness the recent advances in machine learning technology to improve research processes. He is dedicated to building a digital research tool that can benefit the scientific community as a whole by speaking to researchers and incorporating their needs into BenchSci. Taking on the role as Head of Academic Relations at BenchSci he focuses on engaging and supporting outreach to academic influencers. He is dedicated to building a digital research tool that can benefit the scientific community as a whole by speaking to researchers and incorporating their needs into BenchSci.

Craig Dejardins, MBA

Director, Office of Strategy, Innovation & Partnerships 
City of Kingston

Craig Desjardins has a unique blend of business, innovation and community development with experience in the the private, public and academic sectors. Craig joined the City of Kingston and is now the Director, Office of Strategy, Innovation and Partnerships. Prior to joining the City of Kingston, Craig’s work focused on the strategic development of the eastern Ontario entrepreneurial ecosystem. Now, Craig is focused on leveraging the innovative entrepreneurial talent of Kingston to support a connected innovative ecosystem by enhancing relationships with the city, post-secondary institutions, levels of government and community partners and stakeholders to support a smart and livable Kingston. The Smart Kingston strategy is based on economic development, innovation in municipal service delivery and development of the Kingston brand.

Panel C: Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Industry


© 2019 by the Science to Business Network. 

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