Peak Scholars in Entrepreneurship, Innovation & Knowledge Engagement

2019 Scholars

2019 Peak Scholars

Peter Dawson, Faculty of Arts, Professor, Department Head

Digitally Preserving Alberta’s Cultural Heritage

Dr. Dawson engages with government and community partners through research activities that focus on digitally preserving heritage sites in Alberta and the Canadian Arctic. Dawson is the creator and director of the Alberta Digital Heritage Archive, an online repository containing high resolution 3D images and interactive computer models of over a dozen heritage sites in the province. Many of the heritage sites contained in the archive have since been lost due to the impacts of climate change and human-caused destruction. The archive contains a lasting record of these important heritage resources, ensuring they will remain accessible to future generations.


Thomas O'Neill, Faculty of Arts, Associate Professor 

Creating Healthy and High-Performance Teamwork in Organizations

Dr. Tom O’Neill has worked with many organizations in order to support the development of meaningful, engaged, impactful work within the context of high-performance teamwork. Industries include oil and gas, energy, finance, and education. In addition, Dr. O’Neill has worked with start-ups and in all levels of the organization (C-suite to front lines). Dr. O’Neill conducts assessments of team health using his CARE Model of team effectiveness (Communicate, Adapt, Relationships, and Education/learning) and provides feedback to leaders and teams. Structured goal setting helps teams and their members feel more connected to the purpose of the team and their organization.


Nicole Racine, Faculty of Arts, Postdoctoral Associate, Sessional Instructor

Maternal Adverse Childhood Experiences in Primary Care: Implications for Maternal-Child Health Professor, Economics

Dr. Nicole Racine is leading the ACEs-HIGH project in collaboration with 40 healthcare providers at the Riley Park Maternity Clinic, in Calgary, AB. Her work is focused on understanding whether asking about Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) in prenatal care leads to improved maternal and child health outcomes.


Cora Voyageur, Faculty of Arts, Professor

Indigenous Wellness and Community Building Capacity Professor

Women play the important role of transferring language, traditions, and cultural knowledge to younger generations. Recently, schools and other community agencies have taken over those tasks. Dr. Voyageur’s research builds upon our ongoing Sohki Teyhew Group’s CIHR-funded research into mature women’s wellness in which participants discuss cultural and traditional activities that help them to maintain wellness and good health as they age. The Sohki Teyhew participants identified a need for younger women to learn (or re-learn) traditional and cultural skills and activities. They believe this task is best be done by connecting middle-aged and younger women with nohkoms, Elders and other community experts who have the necessary cultural and traditional knowledge.


Sarah Kenny, Faculties of Arts and Kinesiology, Assistant Professor

Injury Prevention in Dance

Dr. Kenny’s research is unique in Canada, bringing together the disciplines of Kinesiology and Dance. Specifically, Dr. Kenny applies her experience as a contemporary dancer to the science of injury epidemiology. As lead of a longitudinal project with Alberta Ballet, Dr. Kenny’s research is impacting the international dance medicine and science community, contributing towards refined international standards of how dance-related injury is defined and captured, but also close to home, advocating for recognition of dancers as both artists and athletes.


Sandy Hershcovis, Haskayne School of Business, Associate Dean 

Harassment Policy and Bystander Intervention

Dr. Hershcovis conducts research on witness reactions to workplace harassment. Her research examines the failure of bystanders to speak up about sexual harassment, and investigates the extent to which workplace social networks protect and enable harassers. She recently gave expert testimony before House of Commons and Senate committees that influenced public policy and Canadian law on workplace harassment.


Harrie VredenburgHaskayne School of Business, Professor

Project Reconciliation

Dr. Harrie Vredenburg is part of the professional team supporting Project Reconciliation, an initiative to acquire majority (51%) ownership of the TransMountain pipeline and its expansion by a coalition of western Canadian Indigenous communities, at the request of the former Chief of the Thunderchild First Nation, Delbert Wapass.  Dr Vredenburg has represented Thunderchild’s equity stake in Prairie Thunder Resources, a private company majority-owned by Edge Natural Resources of Texas, for more than two years on that company’s board of directors.


Anna-Maria Hubert, Faculty of Law, Assistant Professor 

Geoengineering Research Governance Project

Prof Anna-Maria Hubert’s research explores how emerging science and technology should be regulated to ensure effective, fair and democratically accountable governance in a time of global environmental change. She leads the “Geoengineering Research Governance Project”, an interdisciplinary collaboration with the University of Oxford and Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies in Germany. The project seeks to understand how legal frameworks can evolve to meet the challenges posed by technologies planned for deliberate large-scale interventions in natural systems to counteract climate change. A major output of the project is the development of a draft Code of Conduct for Responsible Geoengineering Research. The draft Code has received significant attention, and been considered by several international bodies and governmental agencies, offering an example of how research and transdisciplinary engagement can transform law and policy through innovative scholarly outputs.   


Claire Barber, Cumming School of Medicine, Assistant Professor

Patient-Centered Framework for Measuring, Monitoring and Optimizing Rheumatoid Arthritis Care

In collaboration with patient partners and national organizations including the Arthritis Alliance of Canada and the Canadian Rheumatology Association with support from a CIHR-funded project, Dr. Barber has led the development of a Patient-Centered Framework for Measuring, Monitoring and Optimizing Rheumatoid Arthritis Care. The framework defines a central vision for quality improvement and performance measures aligned to 6 strategic objectives addressing areas for optimizing care. Her work has significantly advanced, regional and national efforts for quality improvement in inflammatory arthritis care across Canada.


Shelagh Coutts, Cumming School of Medicine, Professor

CT And MRI in the Triage of TIA and Minor Cerebrovascular Events to Identify High Risk Patients (CATCH)

Dr. Shelagh Coutts was the principal investigator of the CATCH study that showed that CT angiograms of the brain and neck in the assessment of minor stroke and transient ischemic attack (TIA) patients can predict which patients are at risk for a recurrent stroke and disability.


Kirsten Fiest, Cumming School of Medicine, Assistant Professor 

Engaging Patients as Partners in Critical Care Medicine Research

Dr. Fiest's work is novel as she engages former ICU patients and family members as equal members of the team in her program of research. Dr. Fiest collaborates with patients and family members on delirium research by engaging them in drafting study materials, study recruitment and participation in focus groups. This project not only engages patients and family members but is also of high importance in the field of critical care.


Rebecca Haines-Saah, Cumming School of Medicine, Assistant Professor

Seeing Beyond the Numbers

Dr. Rebecca Haines-Saah is recognized across Canada as a leading voice for harm reduction and drug policy reform in the context of the opioid overdose death crisis. In partnership with community groups mumsDU and Moms Stop the Harm, the “Seeing Beyond the Numbers” Project challenges the stigma of substance use, suicide, and overdose by sharing family experiences of grief and advocacy.


Catherine Lebel, Cumming School of Medicine, Associate Professor 

Improving MRI Scanning in Young Children

Dr. Lebel and her team have transformed the MRI scanning experience for children into a rocketship adventure, allowing them to collect a large, longitudinal neuroimaging dataset, and to detail brain development across early childhood. Furthermore, in partnership with Anesthesia, Child Life, and Diagnostic Imaging at the Alberta Children’s Hospital, they are conducting a study to see if similar preparation methods reduce the need for anesthesia for children undergoing clinical MRI scans.


Nancy Marlett, Cumming School of Medicine, Associate Professor 

Patient and Community Engagement Research in Partnership with Alberta’s Strategic Clinical Networks

Patient and Community Engagement Research or PaCER, in partnership with Alberta’s Strategic Clinical Networks,  the O’Brien Institute of Public Health and Continuing Education is incubating an innovative science of patient engagement.  Patients and researchers learn how to conduct and support research - by with and for patients.  The graduates of the UofC certificate program bring a patient research voice to health care transformation. PaCER has gained recognition nationally and internationally as it expands across Canada.


Heather Bensler, Faculty of Nursing, Instructor, Director of Indigenous Initiatives

Indigenous Initiatives Connecting Nursing Students, First Nations Communities and the Broader Calgary through Community Engagement

As the Director of Indigenous Initiatives, Heather engages students, faculty, and most importantly Indigenous partners in creating meaningful programs that address community-identified needs. Through innovative means, Heather builds the faculty's capacity to implement the University's Indigenous Strategy and the TRC Calls to Action specific to nursing education.


Eloise Carr, Faculty of Nursing, Professor

Enhancing the Lives of People with Chronic Pain Who Live with a Dog: The Human Animal Pain Interactions (HAPI) Network

Dr. Eloise Carr is the lead investigator for a new research network - Human-Animal Pain Interactions (HAPI). Our symposium 'Gone to the Dogs' brought together over 100 people representing researchers, community partners, and the general public. In just three years we have established a growing network of researchers, community organizations, patients and the public across North America, and beyond, that suggests living with a dog can bring health and social benefits for people living with chronic or persistent pain.


Sarah Dewell, Faculty of Nursing, Postdoctoral Associate

Linking Nursing Knowledge and Genomics through Innovative Education

Dr. Sarah Dewell connects nursing knowledge and genomics to enrich the implementation of genomic health care. Dewell has helped create a knowledge engagement hub which provides needed genomics educational resources within a Canadian healthcare context and exposure to international genomic nursing education, research, and practice.


Tam Truong Donnelly, Faculty of Nursing, Professor

Breast Cancer Screening Among Arabic Women Living in the State of Qatar

As the Lead Principal Investigator, Dr. Tam Truong Donnelly, a full professor, Faculty of Nursing and Adjunct Professor, Cumming School of Medicine established large multidisciplinary research teams including colleagues from nursing, medicine, epidemiology, and education, as well as partners from major Qatari institutions (Hamad Medical Corporation, Qatar Ministry of Health, Qatar Primary Health Care, Qatar Centre for Cancer Care and Research) to address health priorities in Arab-speaking population in Qatar. One of her studies investigating breast cancer screening practices of Arab women have influenced healthcare policy and delivery in Qatar and across the Middle East region. 


Kuljeet Singh Grewal, Postdoctoral Associate

Influence of Mixed-use Neighborhood Developments on the Performance of Waste-to-Energy CHP Plant

Dr. Kuljeet Grewal is conducting research on sustainable neighborhood design that also involves planning of clean energy resources. He recently quantified the energy generation by waste-to-energy (WtE) based CHP plant for various mixed-use neighborhoods configurations. It is estimated that 13.5% energy demands of Alberta can be fulfilled by WtE facilities.


Caroline Hachem-Vermette, School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape, Professor

Towards High Energy Performance, Climate Resilient Neighborhoods: Developing Methodologies and Tools Assistant

The research conducted in Dr. Hachem-Vermette’s lab (Solar  Energy and Community Design Lab  (SECDL) aims at developing procedures, methodologies and tools for the design of climate resilient, energy self-sufficient, mixed-use communities, and the assessment of their environmental impact from a life-cycle perspective.


Tawab Hlimi, School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape, Assistant Professor

The Green Alley Project

The Green Alley Project is a resilience and revitalization design strategy for Downtown Calgary, advocating for the potential of alley ways to serve as integrated natural infrastructures for stormwater management and vibrant public places for pedestrian activity. Working with the Calgary Downtown Association, the mission of the Green Alley Project is to transform perceptions and to highlight potentials through the integration of design research and a series of design installations. 


Jiaxun (Jennifer) He, Schulich School of Engineering, Associate Professor

Bioretention for Enhancing Urban Stormwater Management

Dr. Jianxun (Jennifer) He pursues knowledge engagement and collaborative research activities that address real-world practice issues in the field of water resources engineering. Her research ranges from improving understanding of physical mechanisms through field monitoring to developing modeling tools in order to enhance water resources management for sustaining societal functions and healthy ecosystems.


Pedro Pereira Almao, Schulich School of Engineering, Professor

Industrialization of Greenhouse Gases (CO2 and Methane) to Produce High Value Carbon Nano-fibres

Dr. Pereira Almao develops catalysts and processes to unlock the energetic potential of resources from bitumen to bio-wastes, in close collaboration with industrial sponsors since 2003. In parallel he has also investigated on his own, into transforming the ultimate environmental irreversible impact of the use of fuels, the green house gases CO2 and methane.


Derek Lichti, Schulich School of Engineering, Professor

Imaging Metrology

Dr Derek Lichti’s research focuses on developing new methods for precise 3D measurement from imaging sensors. One of his inventions, MillMapper, has changed mining service industry practice for comminution mill monitoring.


Amir Nezhad, Schulich School of Engineering, Assistant Professor

Nanobiosensing Technology for Point of Care Detection of Brain Injuries, Cancer and Infection

Dr. Amir Sanati-Nezhad is the Canada Research Chair in BioMEMS and leads the microfluidic sensing technology and novel medical devices at the University of Calgary. He has developed various sensing technologies for rapid diagnosis and management of diseases like brain injuries, cancer and infection. His technology development, translational research and entrepreneurship approach have resulted in several innovations, patents and spin out companies. These technologies, once are commercialized and accessible to patients, will be predictive for early disease diagnosis and monitoring the recovery process, with the impact on the health of Canadian patients.


Viola Birss, Faculty of Science, Professor

Clean Energy Storage and Conversion

Dr. Birss’ research focuses on better understanding fuel cell reaction mechanisms, on CO2 conversion in high temperature electrolysis cells, utilizing their teams very promising metal oxide catalyst, and also on improving performance and lifetime of low-temperature PEM fuel cells through the development of paradigm-shifting nanoporous carbon scaffold materials.  Dr. Birss has been collaborating with Honeywell Aerospace for over 25 years, and recently two start-up companies have evolved from her group: SeeO2 Energy and Momentum Materials.


Ian Lewis, Faculty of Science, Assistant Professor

Harnessing microbial metabolism to fight infections

Dr. Ian Lewis specializes in using metabolomics to investigate infectious diseases. He is the founder and head of the Calgary Metabolomics Research Facility, the principal investigator on two Genome Canada projects related to infectious diseases, and is the project leader of APEX—a new provincial wide network that enables translational research. The research and innovation initiatives in the Lewis lab are focused on drastically reducing infectious disease testing timelines in hospitals across Canada. These tools will markedly improve clinical outcomes for all Canadians who suffer from microbial infections.


Joel Reardon, Faculty of Science, Assistant Professor

Improving Mobile Privacy

Dr. Reardon focuses research on security and privacy issues related to smart phones. His recent efforts have been the study of the ads and analytics companies that are present in a wealth of nomially free apps but which allow their developers to monetize it through the wholesale harvesting of private user data and behavioural profiling. His work has resulted in on-going regulatory actions against major companies and media coverage in venues such as the CBC and  Financial Times.  Google Play's Designed For Families program has also changed their requirements shortly after the release of a large-scale study that showed that a majority of Children's games are potentially illegally tracking children.


Venkataraman Thangadurai, Faculty of Science, Professor

Advanced Electrochemical Energy Storage and Conversion Technologies: All-Solid-State Batteries and Fuel Cells

Dr. Thangadurai develops next generation electrochemical energy storage and conversion systems that utilize advanced solid state electrolytes and electrodes for all-solid-state Li  batteries, solid oxide cells, and gas sensors. He is pioneer in the development of 6V stable solid state Li ion electrolytes and chemical stable perovskites and utilization of garnets in high energy density lithium-sulfur batteries and perovskite-type oxides in fuel cells. He is the founder and scientific advisor with Ion Storage Systems, a solid state battery company in Maryland, USA.


Mea Wang, Faculty of Science, Associate Professor

Innovation at the Intersection of Computing and Networking with Entrepreneurial Thinking

Dr. Wang conducts innovative research at the interaction of computing and networking with entrepreneurial thinking.  She closely collaborate with industry partners (AT&T, Cybera, and OASIS) to propose and prototype innovative solutions in areas of multimedia networking, cloud computing, network management, and IoT.  She is also very active in entrepreneurship education.  She has been the Technovation regional ambassador from 2014 to 2019.  She is currently teaching the Software Entrepreneurship course.


Richard Ramsey, Faculty of Social Work, Professor Emeritus


In 1983, Dr. Ramsey, along with colleagues Bryan Tanney, Roger Tierney, and Bill Lang set out to address the lack of effective skills to empower everyone to help save lives from suicide. This groundbreaking program addressed a critical need for suicide intervention skills in many workplaces and communities. It spread across Canada and made its way to the USA, Australia, and beyond. The four founders' partnership became LivingWorks, a social enterprise dedicated to building a world free from suicide loss. 


Kathleen Sitter, Faculty of Social Work, Associate Professor

Participatory Visual Media: Creativity, Innovation, and Impact

Dr. Sitter pursues knowledge engagement and participatory research activities using creative storytelling approaches to improve quality of life for people with disabilities through thought provoking first-person creative works that engage key stakeholders in social issues. Dr. Sitter has lead and co-led several projects including Making the Journey in Transportation and Love Bytes: Supporting Sexual Health for Persons with Disabilities. Dr. Sitter's research contributions have led to implementing important legislative and service delivery changes in supporting the human rights of persons with disabilities. Her work includes over 90 arts-based media with a reach of over +1MM people in knowledge translation efforts.


Cindy Adams, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Professor

Novel Model of Communication using a One Health Approach towards Community Engagement

Combining the different knowledge, skills and perspectives gained from a career in social work and a doctorate in Veterinary Epidemiology, Dr. Adams has pioneered a research program pertaining to the impact of clinical communication on outcomes of care for animals and their owners.  She developed and implemented the first clinical communication skills training program in veterinary medicine.


Ina Dobrinski, Cumming School of Medicine, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Professor 

Modeling Disease in Swine by Transplantation of Gene Targeted Germ Cells

Dr. Dobrinski’s current project with Recombinetics, Inc., is supported by an NIH-NIGMS Phase II SBIR award to transfer germ cell transplantation technology in swine developed by Dr. Dobrinski’s group to generate commercially valuable swine models for the study and treatment of human disease.


Ed Pajor, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Professor

Knowledge Translation and Community Engagement at the Calgary Stampede

Over the past 10 years, Dr. Pajor has developed an exemplary program in knowledge translation and community engagement with the Calgary Stampede.  Dr. Pajor’s efforts have led to the development of numerous science based animal care programs that improves the welfare of animals used at the Calgary Stampede.  Dr. Pajor’s community engagement involves direct communication with the public, the press, and numerous government officials on a regular basis to ensure that science based information is part of the public discourse on animal welfare issues.


Innovate Calgary Special Recognition

Parvus Therapeutics
Dr. Pere Santamaria, Cumming School of Medicine

Parvus is pioneering a novel class of disease-modifying therapeutics, called Navacims, that represent a paradigm shift in the way that autoimmune diseases are treated.

Navacim drug candidates are able to selectively blunt the action of pathogenic immune cells, restoring immune tolerance and potentially reversing disease.

Parvus has entered into a worldwide collaboration and license agreement with Genentech,  to develop, manufacture, and commercialize novel Navacim therapeutics for the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), autoimmune liver diseases (ALD), and celiac disease (CD).


Willow Biosciences
Dr. Peter Facchini, Faculty of Science

Willow Biosciences is a synthetic biology company, rooted in innovative cannabinoid production. They are a multidisciplinary team of world-leading discovery biologists, biochemists and geneticists dedicated to harnessing the therapeutic potential of plants. 

Willow was formed through the merger of BIOCAN Technologies and Epimeron. Willow recently expanded operations to include three facilities in Alberta, California, and British Columbia.


2018-19 Patent Recipients

Gerald Zamponi and Philip Diaz: T-type Calcium Channel Modulator and Uses Thereof (US 10,227,332)


Viola Birss, Beatriz Molero Sanchez and Paul Addo: High Performance Oxygen snd Fuel Electrode For Reversible Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Applications (US 10,147,955)


Daniel Holloway: Suturing Training Device and Method (US 10,347,155)


Viola Birss, Xiaoan Li and Daniel Kwok: Porous Carbon Films (US 10,258,932)