Innovators at St. Mike’s share $500,000
November 23, 2022
TORONTO – St. Michael’s Foundation’s 8th annual medical research competition, Angels Den, awarded three St. Michael’s teams a combined $500,000 to fund their research innovations. Six teams of St. Michael’s Hospital’s all-star scientists battled it on Angels Den for a chance to win.
They pitched their breakthrough projects to three celebrity judges, a panel of 70 jurors and an online audience of thousands. Their aim? To help transform healthcare in Canada. And the winners are …
- Odette Award for Health System Innovation:
With more than 5,000 confirmed positive respiratory viruses reported in Canada last week alone, the need is urgent to improve patient care in this space, and reduce hospital stays. Dr. Laurent Brochard (pictured on right) and Dr. Muhammad Mamdani (pictured on left) won this award for their project: Breathe Easy: The Personalized Ventilator is Here. The prize will fund the design of AI algorithms that analyze a patient’s status minute-by-minute, and alert clinicians when each patient’s ventilator needs to be adjusted, rather than waiting the usual 2-4 hours for regular check-ins. This technology is anticipated to decrease hospital stays by 40 percent and mortality by 10 percent.
- The Keenan Award for Medical Discovery:
Patients with kidney stones can visit the emergency department 20, 30, even 100 times in their lives, because even when stones are removed, fragments are left behind which form into new stones. Dr. Monica Farcas won this award for Suctioning Stones for Clean Kidneys, a device that sucks up fragments during kidney stone surgery leaving the patient stone-free. Dr. Farcas will use the prize money to take her prototype to the next level and change the lives of hundreds of millions of people across the world.
- The Canada Life People’s Choice Award:
Endometriosis is an agonizing pelvic disease that afflicts 10 percent of women and people assigned female at birth. Dr. Carmen McCaffrey, a minimally invasive gynecologic surgeon, and Dr. Elizabeth Miazga, a fellow, won this award for MyEndo: The App that Eases Endometriosis, an app with free online treatments that manage the pain and can even prevent the need for surgery (which can take 5-10 years to access). The team will use the prize money to expand the app’s suite of treatments so that women everywhere suffering from painful endometriosis can get the relief they deserve.
The judges included:
Gillian Riley is executive vice president, president & CEO, Tangerine Bank. She has solidified its position as Canada’s leading digital bank by delivering an award-winning client experience through simple and innovative banking solutions. She’s moved the dial on gender parity at Tangerine with an increase in women’s representation at the manager-level and above, and women’s participation on the Board. Gillian is a two-time award recipient of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women by the WXN.
Samantha Yammine, PhD is a neuroscientist and popular science communicator. As @science.sam on Instagram and Tik Tok, she’s an innovative leader in making science more familiar, accessible, and inclusive. Sam is a regular guest expert on Netflix, TVO Kids, CBC GEM, Discovery UK, CBC Radio, and AsapSCIENCE. She sits on the Board for RCIScience and ScienceUpFirst. Sam was named one of Toronto Life’s Top 50 Most Influential People in Toronto in 2021.
Eugenia Addy is a seasoned educator, a community organizer, a media personality and a passionate advocate. She is also the CEO of Visions of Science, a charity that helps young people from marginalized communities reach their fullest potential by connecting them to STEM. Eugenia holds both an HBA in Chemistry and Biology and a PhD in Chemistry from the University of Toronto. You’ve likely seen her work in national magazines and newspapers and on the TEDx stage.
The event was hosted by Reshmi Nair. An award-winning journalist with more than 15 years of experience, Reshmi Nair has covered breaking news around the world on TV and radio. A familiar voice to Torontonians, she most recently anchored CP24 TONIGHT, following over a decade at CBC. As the current co-host of The Rush with Reshmi Nair and Scott MacArthur on Newstalk1010 Toronto, she breaks down the biggest issues impacting the city today, and discusses where we’re headed tomorrow.