2017-2018 Competition

The McGill Faculty of Medicine (now Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences) wishes to thank each of the judges who contributed to the many stages of this event. We were overwhelmed by their enthusiasm and support.

STEVEN ARLESS, BSc’71(Chemistry), is a prominent McGill alumnus who returned to his alma mater in the fall of 2016 as Professor of Practice in the Faculty of Medicine (now Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences), as part of the Department of Surgery’s cutting-edge Surgical Innovation Program. After graduating from McGill, he worked for 17 years at Smith & Nephew Inc., serving as President for close to five years. His experience includes extensive involvement in technology transfer and strategic acquisition projects across the United States and Canada, and numerous international marketing mandates in the areas of orthotics, prosthetics, orthopaedics, wound care and, more recently, cardiovascular diseases. His innovative talent led him to CryoCath Technologies Inc., which he nurtured from a startup to commercial success, serving as President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) from 1996 to 2006, ultimately selling this to Medtronic Inc. for $400 million. Mr. Arless completed an MBA at Concordia University in 2008. He maintained his interest in the diagnosis of and minimally invasive therapies for rhythm disorders of the heart, assuming the position of CEO of CardioInsight, in 2009. He is Co-Founder and Chairman of the Board of Soundbite Medical, a Montreal-based shockwave technology company, also in the field of cardiovascular diseases.


JAKE BARRALET, PhD is Director of Innovation for the Steinberg Centre for Simulation and Interactive Learning and for the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at McGill University; Associate Director of the Injury Repair Recovery Program at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC); Vice Chair, Surgery Research; and Director of Research for the Division of Orthopaedic Surgery at McGill University. His expertise includes biomaterials and nanomaterials innovation, with 15 years’ academic and three years’ industrial experience. Interested in science with a focus on tissue regeneration and material synthesis, he is pursuing productive partnerships to achieve the goal of bringing new innovations to the public. Dr. Barralet received his undergraduate degree in Materials Science and Engineering from Leeds University in 1990. He followed this with a PhD in Bioceramics from the University of London and postdoctoral studies at Tokyo Dental and Medical University. He worked for Smith & Nephew developing bone graft, bandaging and spine repair technologies for three years before starting his academic career at the University of Birmingham. In 2004 he joined McGill as Associate Professor in the Faculty of Dentistry. In 2012 he was jointly appointed to the Department of Surgery in the Faculty of Medicine (now Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences). Dr. Barralet has been awarded a Canada Research Chair in Osteoinductive Biomaterials.


FRANCIS BELLIDO, PhD has more than 30 years of international experience in the life sciences and finance industries, holding several top executive positions in both small and large companies. He is currently the President and CEO of SoundBite Medical Solutions Inc., a medical device startup which develops and commercializes wire-based devices and generator consoles to treat chronic total occlusions within the cardiovascular system. He was previously President and CEO at Supratek Pharma, a pharmaceutical company specializing in the development of cancer drugs. Prior to Supratek Pharma, Dr. Bellido was President and CEO of SGF-Santé, where he managed a $500M health science investment portfolio. Earlier in his career, Dr. Bellido held several executive positions with Eli Lilly in the United States and Europe, including Strategic Asset Director, Global Business Unit Manager, and Head of Regulatory Affairs. He has a master’s degree in pharmaceutical sciences and a doctorate in medical microbiology from the University of Geneva in Switzerland, and an MBA degree from the Université de Montréal. Dr. Bellido holds the position of Invited Professor at the School of Management at the Université du Québec à Montréal.


PETER BLECHER, MDCM’92, is based in Toronto. Since medical school, he has been involved in the startup of numerous medical technology companies. He was the founder of Sequent Biotechnologies Inc., a private biotechnology company acquired by Microbix Biosystems, Inc. in September 2005. He has served as an Independent Director of Microbix since December 6, 2005. Microbix is a life science company and leading manufacturer of viral and bacterial antigens and reagents for the global diagnostics industry. Their expertise in cell biology has led to the development of new products, including LumiSort, an animal reproductive product for use in livestock industries, Kinlytic, a biopharmaceutical thrombolytic agent used to treat blood clots, and VIRUSMAX, a technology used to increase influenza vaccine manufacturing yields. They are a public company listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX: “MBX”) focused on growing their virology products business, as well as commercializing new products, including LumiSort and Kinlytic. Dr. Blecher worked as an emergency physician for close to 25 years, mostly at Lakeridge Health in Oshawa, a large acute-care hospital east of Toronto. He has been working in the area of chronic pain management since 2006 and is a Medical Director for CPM Centres for Pain Management, Canada’s largest network of integrated pain management clinics. For the past four years he has been the Chief Medical Officer and co-founder of Starseed Medicinal, Inc., an ACMPR-regulated and federally-licensed medical cannabis company, focused specifically on the development of novel, evidence-based cannabinoid medicines, research, and delivery devices.


RENJIE BUTALID is an award-winning entrepreneur whose work lies at the intersection of technology startups, social innovation, and cross-sector civic engagement. He is currently the Associate Director of the McGill Dobson Centre for Entrepreneurship, where he oversees the Centre’s entrepreneurship and mentorship programs including the McGill Lean Startup Program, the McGill Dobson Cup and the McGill X-1 Accelerator. Prior to joining McGill, Renjie was Head of Global Expansion for the New York City-based startup NextDayBetter, a global storytelling platform for diaspora communities. Renjie led the growth of NextDayBetter’s presence from two cities in 2013, to nine cities across four countries in 2015. Previously Renjie was Director of Ventures at Igniter, a digital and social innovation agency. He led socialsca.pe, a global social enterprise-mapping project in collaboration with Ashoka, the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation and MaRS. Renjie also led marketing and customer acquisition for PINE, an Igniter venture, driving downloads for the Mindfulness mobile app. ELLE Magazine listed PINE as one of their Top 12 Mindfulness Apps. PINE became Partner, and is now a member of the Cossette Health portfolio. Renjie has worked for Social Innovation Generation (SiG), co-founded TEDxWaterloo, and volunteered for the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders in the Philippines. In 2012, Renjie was named top 40 Under 40 by the Waterloo Region Record. In 2013, Renjie was named a Global Shaper by the World Economic Forum. He is also a member of the Banff Forum. Renjie holds a BA in Economics from the University of Waterloo and an MA in International Relations from Corvinus University of Budapest.


DIANE CÔTÉ is CEO of MEDTEQ, the Medical Technology Industrial Research and Innovation Consortium, whose mission is to accelerate the development of innovative solutions by supporting collaborative projects of teams of industrial, academic and clinical partners. She is Vice President of the Board of Directors of the Fonds de Recherche du Québec – Santé (FRQ-S). She is a member of the Board of Directors of CIMTEC (Centre for Imaging Technology Commercialization) and a member of the Life Sciences Advisory Group of Global Affairs Canada.

Ms. Côté was a member of the Expert Group on Health of the Canadian Space Agency. She was also a member of the Board of Directors of AlterGo, a non-profit organization supporting social inclusion of people with functional disabilities. She was previously Vice President - Quebec of MEDEC, the national association created by and for the Canadian medtech industry. During her work in industry, she was CEO and a board member of a healthcare technology company specializing in artificial intelligence tools for risk management. She held various assignments at IBM as a member of the Sales and Communications executive management team. She also led several mandates in strategic planning, financing and partnerships at Innovitech, a strategic broker focusing on new technologies and on the development of innovative economic models.


SHAWN ERRUNZA is an MDCM and MBA joint program candidate at McGill in his second to last year. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering and previously co-founded a venture-backed medical software company, Jintronix, Inc, which combines evidence-based treatments, virtual games, and motion tracking sensors to offer a fun and effective tool for physical rehabilitation. He raised $2.5M in two financing rounds led by Madrona Venture Group, and obtained FDA clearance and Health Canada approval for Jintronix’s physical rehabilitation software. It was accepted to Microsoft Accelerator for Kinect powered by Techstars and was selected for a $100,000 Grand Challenges Canada Rising Stars in Global Health Grant. Shawn has been actively involved at the McGill Dobson Centre for Entrepreneurship as a mentor since 2015.


THOMAS FEVENS, PhD is an Associate Professor, Computer Science and Software Engineering, at Concordia University, and an Adjunct Professor, Dept. of Surgery, at McGill. He was a Post-Doctoral Fellow at McGill from 2000 to 2001 in the School of Computer Science, specializing in Computational Geometry. He is a Director for the Surgical Innovation Program, a collaboration between McGill, Concordia and the École de technologie supérieure. While at Queen’s University, Dr. Fevens obtained a BSc in Astrophysics with honours in 1990, a MSc in Computing and Information Science in 1994 specializing in Numerical Analysis, a MSc in Physics in 1993 specializing in General Relativity and a PhD in Computing and Information Science in 1999 specializing in Computational Geometry. An expert in Artificial Intelligence and Medical Imaging, he has published several articles on Computer- Aided Breast Cancer Malignancy Classification, Clinical Image Segmentation, and Deep Learning for Medical Imagery. His areas of research also include: Surgical Innovation - Software, Computational Geometry, Computer Gaming, and Wireless Networks.


CHERIF HABIB is the CEO of Dialogue, Canada’s leading telemedicine company. Prior to Dialogue, he was the CEO of EMcision, a medical devices development and commercialization company (acquired by Boston Scientific). Previously, he was a Senior Consultant at McKinsey & Co, where he advised top management on a range of strategic issues. Cherif holds an MBA from the Wharton School.


RAYMOND HAKIM, MDCM’76, is Professor of Medicine in the division of nephrology and hypertension at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center. He received a master of science degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a PhD in engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and worked in Montreal as a research engineer for Hydro-Québec. He then attended medical school at McGill University and performed his residency in internal medicine at the Royal Victoria Hospital of the MUHC. He carried out his renal fellowship at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. From 1980 to 1987, he served on the faculty of Harvard University and was Associate Professor of Medicine and attending nephrologist at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. In 1995, Dr. Hakim was one of the founders and the Chief Medical Officer of the Renal Care Group, a provider of outpatient dialysis services. The group merged with Fresenius Medical Care in 2007, and Dr. Hakim became the Chief Medical Officer, serving from 2009 to 2012. He has published extensively on clinical and basic research in dialysis and plasmapheresis, and has contributed more than 35 chapters to medical books. Dr. Hakim is the recipient of numerous awards, including being listed among the “Best Doctors in America” and “America’s TOP Physicians” for multiple years, the Medal of Excellence from the American Association of Kidney Patients Award, and the prestigious Belding H. Scribner Award in 2017.


DAN RODEN, MDCM’74, received BSc and medical degrees from McGill University, and trained in Internal Medicine at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal. He then went to Vanderbilt University where, after fellowships in Clinical Pharmacology and Cardiology, he joined the faculty. His initial career focus – that he has maintained – was the clinical, genetic, cellular, and molecular basis of arrhythmia susceptibility and variability responses to arrhythmia therapies. Dr. Roden served as Director of the Division of Clinical Pharmacology from 1992 to 2004 and in 2006 was named to lead Vanderbilt’s broader efforts in genomics and pharmacogenomics discovery and implementation. He is Principal Investigator for the Vanderbilt sites of the National Institutes of Health’s Pharmacogenomics Research Network (PGRN) and the National Human Genome Research Institute’s Electronic Medical Records and Genomics (eMERGE) Network. He directs the Vanderbilt DNA databank BioVU, a discovery resource that as of spring 2018 included 250,000 samples linked to de-identified electronic medical records. He is a leader in Vanderbilt’s PREDICT project that since 2010 has preemptively embedded pharmacogenomic variant data in the electronic medical records of more than 14,000 Vanderbilt patients. Dr. Roden has received many awards including the Distinguished Scientist Award and the Douglas Zipes lectureship from the Heart Rhythm Society and the Distinguished Scientist Award and the inaugural Functional Genomics and Translational Biology Medal of Honor from the American Heart Association. He currently serves on the Advisory Council to the National Human Genome Research Institute and the Science Board of the FDA. He has been elected to membership in the American Society for Clinical Investigation and the Association of American Physicians, and fellowship in the American Association for the Advancement of Science.


AARON ROLLINS, MDCM’01, is the founder of Elite Body Sculpture, America’s largest body contouring company with seven locations nationwide. Dr. Rollins is a specialist in body sculpting and is the inventor of AirSculpt, a patented process for minimally invasive body contouring and fat transfer. He has been featured on numerous media outlets, including Good Morning America, Extra!, E News, as well as being featured in Europe on RTL and Nova TV. To fulfill his dream of combining art and science, after studying sculpture he decided to attend medical school, graduating from McGill University in 2001. He has received many awards for his distinguished work, including an IDEA from the Industrial Designers Society of America (Bronze, 2005) for medical and scientific products. His FireBow torque device for endovascular surgery was recently FDA approved and is likely to be sold to industry in the next year. Dr. Rollins is affiliated with the American College of Surgeons, the American Board of Laser Surgery, the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery and the American Society of Liposuction Surgery. He is also a member of the World Academy of Cosmetic Surgery. Dr. Rollins was awarded the Compassionate Doctor Certification in 2013.


ELAINE WANG, MD’77, is Senior Medical Director for Seres Therapeutics Inc. in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Dr. Wang is a passionate pharmaceutical development physician who aims for efficient clinical development and thoughtful medical affairs in order to provide effective and tolerable agents to those who can benefit as quickly as possible. As Director of Clinical Development and Medical Affairs at Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals Inc. (BIPI), Dr. Wang recognized the importance of having the opportunity to train the next generation of clinical researchers and to expose them to opportunities outside of academia. Her current position at BIPI and former positions as Senior Director of Clinical Research at Replidyne Inc. and Vice-President of Clinical Development at Sanofi Pasteur afford her the ability to offer trainees the industry perspective of clinical research, and insights into the drug development process. At the same time, she is well-acquainted with conducting research at an academic institution. Earlier in her career, Dr. Wang had a primary appointment as Associate Professor in Pediatrics and cross appointment at the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation at the Hospital for Sick Children and the University of Toronto. Her academic research examined diagnostic evaluation, prognostic markers, and interventions in respiratory infections, particularly those due to respiratory syncytial virus.

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