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Coming Fall 2022

On November 16, six teams will compete for two research prizes: The Odette Award for Health System Innovation and The Keenan Award for Medical Discovery.

Each team will pitch to celebrity judges who, along with our panel of jurors, will vote for the winners. At stake? Half a million dollars of funding. And once again, you, the audience, will get to choose your favourite team for The Canada Life People's Choice Award.

Contact Farrah Hasan  to learn more about Angels Den sponsorship and jury opportunities. RSVP to get insider updates before the show.

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Transforming Scientific discoveries in novel therapies, better diagnostics, vaccines, or medical devices that will improve patients’ lives.

Keenan Award For Medical Discovery

Odette Award For Health System Innovation

Improving our health care system by increasing effectiveness, efficiency, equitability or sustainability.

The Awards

Thank You To Our Sponsors

People’s Choice Award Sponsor
Top Prize Sponsors
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Corporate Jurors
Where They Are Now Sponsor
Team Biographies
Registration Sponsor

John Barford
Birch Hill Equity Partners
Greg & Susannah Belton
Tony Cesta
Gail Dhruv
Nicole Eaton
Tim Griffin
Margaret Harvey
Colleen Johnston
Elaine Kierans & Shawn McReynolds
Joe Mazzocco
James McPhedran
Lisa Melchior
Pat Meneley
Mary Mullen
David Peterson
Kate Stevenson
Daniel Sullivan
Frank Techar
Richard Thorpe
Mary Throop

Jurors
Team Award Sponsors
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Joe Mimran

Joe Mimran is a Canadian business pioneer who helped build the likes of Joe Fresh, Club Monaco, Pink Tartan, Alfred Sung, Gry Mattr, and Rise Little Earthling. He is now the chairman of Gibraltar & Co., a venture capital firm, and serves on the board of Riv Capital and LXR. He is a recipient of Canada’s most prestigious fashion and marketing awards, and is a celebrated patron of the arts. Joe also starred on CBC’s hit show Dragons’ Den.

Samantha Yammine

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 also named one of Toronto Life’s Top 50 Most Influential People in Toronto in 2021.

Eugenia Addy

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.

Meet Our Judges

Gwen Harvey, Co-Chair
Melissa Martin, Co-Chair
Nancy Abbey
Cath Bradley
Jill Burgin
Dr. Erica Conte
Gail Dhruv
John McCartney
Weston McComb
James McPhedran
Mary Mullen
Sherri Neldner
Tony Rodrigues
Dr. Ori Rotstein
Mark Smithyes

Gwen Harvey, Co-Chair
Melissa Martin, Co-Chair
Nancy Abbey
Cath Bradley
Jill Burgin
Dr. Erica Conte
Gail Dhruv
John McCartney
Weston McComb
James McPhedran
Mary Mullen
Sherri Neldner
Tony Rodrigues
Dr. Ori Rotstein

Mark Smithyes

Angels Den Fundraising Team

It’s Personal: Cancer Treatment Designed Just for You

Dr. Rola Saleeb  |  Dr. Sunit Das

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Odette Award For Health Innovation

Winner

Dr. Howard Ginsberg

Neurosurgeon Investigator and Spine Program Director, St. Michael’s Hospital

Dr. Arash Zarrine-Afsar

Affiliate Scientist and Biochemist, Keenan Research Centre for Biomedical Science, St. Michael’s Hospital

THE CHALLENGE: Getting an accurate cancer diagnosis can take days in pathology. That means surgeons can’t make treatment decision on the spot, and patients wait anxiously to find out whether they have cancer – and just how serious it is.

THE SOLUTION: Neurosurgeon and biomedical engineer Dr. Howard Ginsberg and scientist Dr. Arash Zarrine-Afsar are developing a rapid tumour diagnostic system that tells surgeons in 10 seconds whether the tumour is in fact cancer, and if so, what type it is.

Watch Their Pitch

Congratulations to our 2021 Winners

Meet Our Teams

This year’s Angels Den competitors are pitching research projects that make access to care faster. That customize treatments to each patient. That prevent disease and disability. That make health care more human. This is HUMANCARE.

Keenan Award for Medical Discovery

Suctioning Stones for Clean Kidneys

Dr. Monica Farcas

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Dr. Monica Farcas

Investigator, Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, Surgeon-Entrepreneur, Urologist, St. Michael’s Hospital

THE CHALLENGE: The pain of kidney stones is excruciating and 10 percent of adults have an attack in their lifetime. While surgeons can remove kidney stones by breaking them with lasers, the process leaves tiny fragments, like sand, that can create new stones over time. With too many recurrences, people can lose their kidney function altogether.

THE SOLUTION: Dr. Monica Farcas has invented a device that sucks up the kidney stone fragments during surgery leaving the patient completely stone free. Now they want to take the prototype to the next level. For the patient, the innovation means healthy kidneys and a pain-free life. And for the health-care system, it means fewer emergency visits and operations.

Watch Their Pitch

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Keenan Award for Medical Discovery

Popping Bubbles to Keep Muscles Alive

Dr. Jane Batt  |  Dr. Howard Leong-Poi

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Dr. Jane Batt

Scientist, Keenan Research Centre for Biomedical Science, and Respirologist, St. Michael’s Hospital

Dr. Howard Leong-Poi

Clinician Scientist, Keenan Research Centre for Biomedical Science and Cardiologist, St. Michael’s Hospital 

THE CHALLENGE: Say you’ve hurt your arm or leg and you’ve damaged some nerves. That stops muscles below the injury from contracting, which in turn leads to muscle wasting. If the nerve activity returns quickly, then muscle wasting is avoidable. Yet because nerves tend to grow slowly, the unused muscle can degrade, scar and die. The upshot? You might never use that limb again. But what if the muscle was kept alive while the nerve regrows?

THE SOLUTION: Dr. Jane Batt and Dr. Howard Leong-Poi say it’s possible. They are using microscopic bubbles containing genes that sustain muscles. The bubbles are injected into the blood stream and when they reach the target muscle, clinicians use ultrasound waves to pop them and release the genes, keeping the muscle active and healthy until the nerve grows back.

Watch Their Pitch

Keenan Award for Medical Discovery

COVID-19 and Ketamine: Treating the Mental Health Crisis

Dr. Venkat Bhat  |  Dr. Karim Ladha

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Dr. Venkat Bhat

Investigator, Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute and Psychiatrist, St. Michael’s Hospital

Dr. Karim Ladha

Scientist, Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, and Anesthesiologist, St. Michael’s Hospital 

THE CHALLENGE: One in 10 Canadians who’ve had COVID-19 suffers from severe post-infection symptoms (long COVID). More than a third of those with long COVID experience depression, anxiety, or cognitive impairment, also known as brain fog. So far, there are no proven treatments. But there’s hope. Glutamate is a neurotransmitter required for normal brain functioning. It just might be that when the glutamate balance is disrupted, long COVID brain symptoms occur. Could regulating glutamate be the answer?

THE SOLUTION: Ketamine is well-known for bringing about fast antidepressant effects by acting on the glutamate system. Dr. Venkat Bhat and Dr. Karim Ladha believe it can also reduce depression and brain fog in long COVID. Their plan is to administer ketamine intravenously to long COVID patients at a dose that impacts the glutamatergic system. If it works, we’ll have an easily accessible and relatively cheap drug available to countries around the world.

Watch Their Pitch

Odette Award for Health System Innovation

Respiratory Alert: Stopping the Next Outbreak

Dr. Andrew Pinto  |  Dr. Stephanie Garies

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Dr. Andrew Pinto

Scientist, MAP Centre for Urban Health Solutions, Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, Family Physician, St. Michael’s Hospital

Dr. Stephanie Garies

Post-Doctoral Fellow, MAP Centre for Urban Health Solutions, Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, St. Michael’s Hospital

THE CHALLENGE: The COVID-19 pandemic caught us by surprise. Health care providers and decision makers had to play catch-up. And too many people, especially those experiencing disadvantage, paid the price. How can we get better at detecting a respiratory illness outbreak and get ahead of it, before it turns into another pandemic?

THE SOLUTION: Family doctors are the first to see patients with respiratory illness, and these visits are detailed in electronic medical records (EMRs). Dr. Andrew Pinto and Dr. Stephanie Garies are designing algorithms that monitor EMRs for signs of respiratory outbreaks. So when a cluster of patients in Sudbury present with symptoms, and similar cases pop up in Kingston or Hamilton, public health officials can be quickly notified and have a fighting chance of putting the brakes on a potential epidemic.

Watch Their Pitch

Odette Award for Health System Innovation

Breathe Easy: The Personalized Ventilator is Here

Dr. Laurent Brochard  |  Dr. Muhammad Mamdani

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Dr. Laurent Brochard

Clinician Scientist, Keenan Research Centre for Biomedical Science, Keenan Chair in Critical Care and Acute Respiratory Failure, and Intensive Care Physician, St. Michael’s Hospital

Dr. Muhammad Mamdani

Scientist, Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute and Vice President, Data Science and Advanced Analytics, and Odette Chair in Advanced Analytics, St. Michael’s Hospital

THE CHALLENGE: Mechanical ventilation saves lives. But if it’s not matched to each patient, it can further damage lungs, cause anxiety, pain and discomfort, and even injure other organs. For too many patients, that can mean prolonged stays in hospital, and lead to long-term disability or even death. Not surprisingly, each patient needs different levels of ventilation. How can clinicians make sure a patient gets the full benefit of mechanical ventilation, with none of its bad effects?

THE SOLUTION: Dr. Laurent Brochard and Dr. Muhammad Mamdani will create and deploy into practice AI algorithms that analyze a patient’s status, minute-by-minute. The clinicians then use this information to adjust the ventilation based on patients’ real-time needs which results in less sedation, fewer complications and deaths, and quicker recovery. And for hospitals, that means ICU beds are freed up faster to care for other critically ill patients.

Watch Their Pitch

Odette Award for Health System Innovation

MyEndo: The App that Eases Endometriosis

Dr. Carmen McCaffrey  |  Dr. Elizabeth Miazga

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Dr. Carmen McCaffrey

Investigator, Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgeon, St. Michael’s Hospital

Dr. Elizabeth Miazga

Clinical Fellow, Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery, St. Michael’s Hospital

THE CHALLENGE: Endometriosis is an agonizing pelvic disease that afflicts 10 percent of women and people assigned female at birth. Diagnosis is often delayed by 5-10 years and surgery may take years to book, leaving women to suffer with chronic pain, infertility, and significantly impaired quality of life. First-line treatments, like mindfulness and pelvic floor physiotherapy, are effective but often not accessible. They can be too costly for some, since they’re not covered by OHIP, and providers are few and far between.

THE SOLUTION: Dr. Carmen McCaffrey and Dr. Elizabeth Miazga have already developed a basic MyEndo app, which hosts a mindfulness course for patients with endometriosis that eases pain. Now they want to expand the app to include a wide range of online treatments and educational resources, making it free and open access, so women everywhere can get the care they desperately need and deserve.

Watch Their Pitch