On November 17, 2017, President and Vice-Chancellor Elizabeth Cannon & Vice-President (Research) Ed McCauley, hosted the 2017 Peak Scholars Celebration Luncheon. Scholars were nominated by their Deans to be recognized for their achievements in entrepreneurship, innovation, and knowledge engagement where their academic work has had an impact outside of the academy; including community and knowledge engagement, entrepreneurship, tech transfer, innovation, and collaborative research, resulting in a positive social or economic impact in our communities.
Innovate Calgary joined the celebration to recognize 29 individuals who received patents between 2016–2017.
2017 Nominated Peak Scholars
David G. Dick, Faculty of Arts, Assistant Professor
The Integrity Network is a working group of ethics professionals from corporate, academic, and non-profit sectors that meets four times a year to discuss and engage business ethics issues. Now six years old, the Integrity Network has grown from a small informal lunch group to an organization with regular meetings and more than 100 participants from 50 organizations.
Jeff Caird, Faculty of Arts, Professor, Department of Psychology
The Teen and Novice Driver Crash Mitigation Project
Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among those aged 15 to 20 in Canada, the U.S. and worldwide. This project involved more than 10 years of problem-driven research by researchers across Canada that was funded by the AUTO21 Network of Centres of Excellence and led by the nominee that focused on identifying contributors (e.g., alcohol, cannabis, distraction, fatigue and lack of experience) and developing countermeasures (e.g., education, interventions, graduated licensing, policy, and training) to reduce teen and novice drivers’ motor vehicle crashes.
Trevor Tombe, Faculty of Arts, Associate Professor, Department of Economics
Yukon Government Financial Advisory Panel
Like many governments around the world, low commodity prices have hit Yukon hard. Their projected budget shortfalls over the coming years are large, with no immediately obvious or easy solution. In response, the Yukon Government created a 'Financial Advisory Panel' of five independent experts to come up with options and engage with Yukoners to deal with these financial challenges. The panel will complete its work in November, and its report will guide government budgets in the coming years.
Andrew Demchuk, Cumming School of Medicine, Professor, Departments of Clinical Neurosciences and Radiology
Endovascular Reperfusion Alberta
Endovascular Reperfusion Alberta is a multiple stakeholder project that I was the physician lead for which intended to improve access for rural patients to acute stroke mechanical thrombectomy treatment. A pre-hospital pathway was created that streamlines processes to limited any time bottlenecks. Stakeholders included the Cardiovascular Health and Stroke Strategic Clinical Network, STARS, RAPID, AHS, and all stroke centres in the province.
Cheryl Barnabe, Cumming School of Medicine, Associate Professor, Departments of Medicine and Community Health Sciences
Group for Research with Indigenous Peoples (GRIP) and the Alberta Indigenous Mentorship in Health Innovation (AIM-HI) Network
Together with David Turner, GRIP engages scholars, stakeholders and Indigenous community members from diverse disciplines, professions, and institutions to encourage respectful research that aids Indigenous Peoples in achieving well-being.
The AIM-HI Network will enhance capacity in health research led by Indigenous scholars. The AIM-HI Network provides Indigenous scholar mentorship activities and opportunities for experiential engagement and advancement in Indigenous health research, scholarships for mentees, and a suite of recruitment and retention activities.
Fiona Clement, Cumming School of Medicine, Associate Professor, Department of Community Health Sciences
Health Technology Assessment Unit
The Health Technology Assessment (HTA) Unit is a policy-responsive research team that supports governments to develop evidence-informed policy. In 5 short years, Fiona has expanded the Unit to be the only Unit in Canada that supports multiple provinces enabling pan-provincial coordination and collaboration on key policy issues.
Katrina Milaney, Cumming School of Medicine, Assistant Professor, Community Rehabilitation and Disability Studies
Calgary Recovery Services Task Force and Final Report and Recommendations
Dr. Milaney has been actively engaged in community-based research and knowledge translation activities for 15 years. In 2017 she worked collaboratively with the Calgary Recovery Services Task Force to advance several evidence-based recommendations to Alberta Health to enhance addiction and mental health supports for homeless Calgarians. This research and engagement project led to 750,000 in new dollars for community-based responses to streamline access to health services for Calgary’s most vulnerable. This project also led to a needs assessment to develop interventions in response to the current opioid crisis that is currently underway.
Lindsay McLaren, Cumming School of Medicine, Associate Professor
Community Water Fluoridation Cessation: Equity, Controversy, and Decision-making in Population and Public Health
Dr. McLaren’s research focuses on community water fluoridation, and is anchored in the City of Calgary’s decision to stop the practice of fluoridation in 2011. The research program is interdisciplinary in scope and includes, for example, studies aimed at understanding 1) the process and circumstances that led to council’s decision to stop fluoridation, and 2) the implications of fluoridation cessation for children’s dental health.
Randal Johnston, Cumming School of Medicine, Professor, Department Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
Dr. Johnston served as President and CEO of Genome Prairie/Alberta for five years and helped initiate the funding of multiple genomics projects and the establishment of multiple biotech start-ups. In his current role as Director of the Master in Biomedical Technology graduate program, he has coordinated and taught over 100 science students, providing an efficient bridge to employment in the biotech sector.
Scott Patten, Cumming School of Medicine, Professor, Department of Community Health Sciences and Psychiatry
Epidemiology of Mood Disorders in Canada
Dr. Patten’s research examines the burden, distribution and determinants of mood disorders in the Canadian population. This includes making detailed comparisons of mood disorder prevalence, incidence and associated mortality in relation to personal, environmental and clinical characteristics.
Shalina Sheryl Ousman, Cumming School of Medicine, Associate Professor
AlphaB-crystallin as a Therapy for the Injured Peripheral Nervous System
After many decades of research, there is still a lack of medications to promote long distance axon regeneration and functional recovery for millions of individuals with peripheral nerve injuries. With my PhD student Erin-Mai Lim, we recently showed that alphaB-crystallin, a small heat shock protein that is expressed by Schwann cells (the glial cells of the peripheral nervous system), was therapeutic in improving remyelination and functional recovery in animals with peripheral nerve crush damage. With a provisional patent in hand, we are now testing the medicinal effect of alphaB-crystallin in models with human relevant injuries.
Stephen Wilton, Cumming School of Medicine, Assistant Professor, Cardiac Sciences Medicine
Measuring and Improving Outcomes for Patients with Heart Disease
Stephen is leading the Acute Myocardial Infarction Quality Assurance (AMIQA) Canada initiative, a nationwide observational study that is trying to identify opportunities to improve care and prevent sudden cardiac death in people who have survived a heart attack.
Jason Johnson, Faculty of Environmental Design, Associate Professor, Architecture
Constructing Digital Futures
Constructing Digital Futures is an SSHRC funded initiative that brings together design researchers from all over North America to collaborate on projects that develop and promote digital tools for design literacy. This project has been a platform for engaging communities in the production of design artifacts through digital tools and has resulted in a number of public art projects across Alberta.
Joshua Taron, Faculty of Environmental Design, Associate Professor, Architecture
Constructing Digital Futures
Founded in 2008, the Laboratory for Integrative Design (LID) has focused on the ways in which computational techniques impact the design of architecture and the built environment at all scales. Constructing Digital Futures uses the LID as a platform that enables people to play a greater role in the design and adaptation of their built environments while training emerging architects to approach the interface between designers and clients as an entrepreneurial opportunity.
Irene M. Herremans, Haskayne School of Business, Professor
Innovative International Internships in Sustainability
Ten Master of Science students in Sustainable Energy Development engaged in internships in Ecuador where they had an opportunity to apply their technical knowledge in three communities. The interns worked with high school students and community leaders to guide them in becoming agents of change in their communities. In addition to providing numerous benefits both to the interns and their communities, the research team gained insights in educating for sustainability and developing sustainability leaders. Thus the project played a role in fulfilling the UN Sustainable Development Goals through U of C’s campus as a learning lab.
Michael Robinson, Haskayne School of Business, Director, Creative Destruction Lab - Rockies
Creative Destruction Lab Rockies
Michael is the Director of CDL-Rockies, a new initiative at the University of Calgary that provides support to seed and early-stage massively-scalable science-based ventures. The program will provide the opportunity for 25 ventures to seek mentoring and potentially financial support from a group of over 30 highly engaged accomplished business angels drawn from across Western Canada. The program will also involve MBA students working with the ventures over a nine-month period as they seek to use science to transform Canada’s social, industrial, and economic landscape.
Mohammad Keyhani, Haskayne School of Business, Assistant Professor, Entrepreneurship and Strategy
The “Entrepreneur Tools” list (https://entrepreneur-tools.zeef.com/) is a comprehensive, curated and crowdsourcing-enhanced list of tools and resources initially made for entrepreneurship students at the University of Calgary, which has now become a popular reference for start-ups and entrepreneurs around the world. The project is currently under expansion and will soon include a new page on crowdfunding resources, and another page specific to Alberta entrepreneurs.
Nicole Culos-Reed, Faculty of Kinesiology, Professor, Health & Exercise Psychology
Cancer and Physical Activity
Nicole’s work examines the role of exercise in cancer survivorship, with a focus on the translation of best-evidence to best-practice, and building sustainable community-based exercise programs for survivors. In Alberta, work is building towards the integration of exercise into standard cancer care within the Alberta Cancer Exercise (ACE) program.
Jennifer Koshan, Faculty of Law, Professor
The Equality Effect
Since 2010, Jennifer Koshan has been a member of the legal team of the Equality Effect, an international network of human rights advocates working collaboratively to improve the lives of women and girls by using human rights law to achieve concrete change. Through the Equality Effect’s “3 to be Free” project, Professor Koshan co-edited a book project on marital rape, The Right to Say No: Marital Rape and Law Reform in Canada, Ghana, Kenya and Malawi (Hart Publishing, 2017), which will be used as the basis for law reform and litigation activities in the Equality Effect’s African partner countries.
Elena Di Martino, Schulich School of Engineering, Associate Professor, Civil Engineering
Vividia: Virtual in Vivo Diagnostics
Vascular surgeons lack the tools to accurately estimate the rupture potential for aortic aneurysms when deciding whether and when to perform risky repair procedures. In order to maximize patient survival via an optimal risk/benefit analysis, these clinicians need to discriminate with maximum accuracy ‘benign’ from ‘malign’ aortic aneurysms. For decades clinicians have used the maximum diameter of the vessel as a generalized proxy for its rupture potential; however, this approach has failed at accurately representing this risk leading to high patient mortality. Our team proposes to develop Vividia, a health IT imaging software designed to non-invasively assess aortic aneurysm wall vulnerability. It will enable a personalized method of rupture risk assessment based on local wall strength. It is estimated that Vividia can reduce sudden aneurysm-related mortality by 50%, paving the way for a new clinical gold standard in the field of aneurysm diagnostics.
Janet Ronsky, Schulich School of Engineering, Professor
Biomedical Research and Innovation
Dr. Ronsky has driven many biomedical engineering research and technology development initiatives, including establishing the Centre for Bioengineering Research and Education (CBRE). Her biomechanics research has led to novel imaging infrastructure and approaches sought globally. Janet’s leadership with Zymetrix Biomaterials & Tissue Engineering Technology Development Centre has resulted in several innovations and spin out companies, including a patent and commercial product with BOSE ESG (now TA Instruments).
Kristina Rinker, Schulich School of Engineering, Associate Professor
Early Cancer Detection
Research performed in Dr. Rinker’s laboratory has led to a high accuracy blood test for breast cancer detection. Kristina has also led the launch of the Early Cancer Detection Initiative (ECDI), a pan-university initiative within the Charbonneau Cancer Institute and in partnership with the Cumming School of Medicine, Schulich School of Engineering and Tom Baker Cancer Centre. The ECDI aims to accelerate discovery, development and translation to practice of early cancer detection innovations.
Marjan Eggermont, Schulich School of Engineering, Senior Instructor, Mechanical and Manufacturing
Zygote Quarterly Journal
Zygote Quarterly (ZQ): A Open-source Online Bio-Inspired Design Journal. This project engages the public in topics related to Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) through bio-inspired design and entrepreneurial thinking. Ms. Eggermont co-founded, designs and publishes ZQ to showcase many aspects of innovation and creative thinking with the goal of enriching the fields of engineering and design by show-casing how ideas can be inspired from nature and then turned into products and systems that can positively impact society.
Zhangxing (John) Chen, Schulich School of Engineering, Professor, Department of Chemical & Petroleum Engineering
Dr. Chen’s research interest focuses on modeling and simulation of advanced oil and gas recovery processes. By simulating recovery processes using state-of-the-art computational and visualization techniques and equipment, he is developing computer simulators to identify risk and study feasibility before new processes are put into practice. His work is uncovering new, more economical and sustainable ways to recover oil and gas resources.
Gregory Welch, Faculty of Science, Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry
Low-cost Organic Solar Cells
This research project centers on the utility of common ‘dyestuffs’ for the fabrication of colored, cheap, and flexible solar cells. Dr. Welch’s team of talented students design new photoactive materials based on dyes, make them using environmentally friendly methods, and use them to create the next generation of photovoltaics.
Lisa Gieg, Faculty of Science, Associate Professor
Innovations in Petroleum Microbiology
Dr. Gieg's research in the area of petroleum microbiology examines both beneficial and detrimental microbial processes ongoing in deep subsurface petroleum reservoirs, shallow fuel-impacted groundwater, oil sands tailings ponds, and energy infrastructure in order to better understand how microbial processes can be exploited or prevented with an eye towards innovative biotechnology development and improved industrial practices. She is a co-founder and chief scientific officer of Helios Genomics, a genomics sequencing company that helps identify problematic microbes in oil and gas operations.
Marc Strous, Faculty of Science, Professor, Department of Geoscience
Alkaline Biotechnology for Conversion of CO2 to Methane
A team of UCalgary investigators is scaling up technology that will eventually remove CO2 from the atmosphere, use it for bioenergy and sequester it below ground. The technology is so simple that it was already used in elementary school classrooms for hands-on-learning on biofuels and climate change.
Michael P. Lamoureux, Faculty of Science, Professor, Mathematics
PIMS Innovation Coordinator
As Innovation Coordinator for the Pacific Institute for the Mathematical Sciences, Dr. Lamoureux builds collaborations between academic and industrial researchers using mathematical expertise to solve challenges in developing commercial products and processes. Funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, these initiatives include PIMS’ Industrial Problem Solving Workshops, Graduate Math Modelling in Industry Workshops, Lunchbox events, industry roundtables, and other events that bring together scientists for intensive focus periods studying specific topics of commercial interest.
Dorothy Badry, Faculty of Social Work, Associate Professor
Caregiver Curriculum on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder
Dorothy Badry created and developed the Caregiver Curriculum on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder that has been disseminated international and is located on the website fasdchildwelfare.ca She was the recipient of the Premier’s Council for the Status of Persons with Disabilities Award of Excellence in Education in December 2016 for her work in the area of FASD education and research. She is a research lead with the Canada FASD Research.
Julie Drolet, Faculty of Social Work, Associate Professor
Alberta Resilient Communities Project
The Alberta Resilient Communities project aims to better understand the social, economic, health, cultural, spiritual and personal factors that contribute to resiliency among children and youth while empowering them and their adult allies and communities to enact resilience building strategies.
Jeff Biernaskie, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Associate Professor
Understanding Stem/progenitor Cell Biology to Enhance Regeneration and Improve Outcomes after Skin and Nervous System Injury
Dr. Biernaskie’s research lab is focused on understanding how specialized niche cells modulate stem/progenitor cell behavior and how these cellular interactions ultimately influence tissue homeostasis and tissue repair. His lab is particularly interested in the role of mesenchymal stem/progenitors that reside in skin, with the ultimate goal of exploiting these cells to improve tissue regeneration following injury. His interests also extend to the nervous system where he studies neural stem cell regulation and the role of glial cells in promoting nervous system regeneration.
Sabine Gilch, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Assistant Professor
Understanding Chronic Wasting Disease Prions to Improve Surveillance and Assess Public Health Risks
The overarching goals of this research is to study the cell biology of prion infection in order to define new treatment strategies for human patients, and to investigate pathogenesis and diagnosis options for chronic wasting disease which is spreading among wild cervids. This research program involves a network of national and international collaborators and serves public, environmental and animal health in Canada and worldwide.
Susan Kutz, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Associate Professor
Working with Northerners to Build Capacity and Support Healthy Wildlife and Healthy Communities
For over 20 years Dr. Kutz has dedicated her career to studying wildlife health in the Arctic and promoting healthy northern communities. She works in partnership with northern indigenous stakeholders to ensure that their concerns drive the research questions and their knowledge is incorporated in the research design, implementation, and interpretation. Through ongoing school outreach programs, she and her undergraduate and graduate students engage youth by bringing locally relevant science into northern classrooms.
2016–2017 Patent Recipients