Angels Den 2024

From a small classroom at St. Michael’s Hospital to a live show at Koerner Hall, Angels Den is Canada’s biggest medical research competition.

On October 17, 2024, we will showcase a decade of innovation as Angels Den turns 10! St. Michael’s all-star scientists will vie for $700,000 in prizing to push the boundaries of medical discovery. For sponsorship opportunities, contact Amy Lewis.

The Awards

Keenan Award for Medical Discovery

Transforming scientific discoveries into novel therapies, better diagnostics, vaccines or medical devices.

Odette Award for Health System Innovation

Improving our healthcare system by increasing its effectiveness, efficiency, equitability or sustainability.

Canada Life People’s Choice Award

Favourite research project in any category, voted for by the audience.

Sarah McComb Award for Cancer Research

Spurring research to improve the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

Meet the 2024 Teams

Keenan Award for Medical Discovery

Surviving Sepsis: A New Treatment For Bacterial Infection

Dr. Claudia dos Santos  |  Dr. Amin Ektesabi

Dr. Claudia dos Santos

Critical Care Clinician-Scientist, Keenan Research Centre for Biomedical Science and Pitts Research Chair of Acute and Emergency Medicine, St. Michael’s Hospital

Dr. Amin Ektesabi

Postdoctoral Fellow, Keenan Research Centre for Biomedical Science, St. Michael’s Hospital

THE CHALLENGE: Sepsis is a life-threatening medical emergency caused when the body’s response to an infection injures its own tissues and organs. Worldwide, there are 50 million cases each year. As the only treatments are antibiotics, which aren’t always effective, and organ support, one in five people will die from this common hospital complication.

THE SOLUTION: Dr. Claudia dos Santos and Dr. Amin Ektesabi have developed a new treatment to block inflammation, supercharge the white blood cells’ ability to kill bacteria, and protect against heart and lung failure. Now they want to test it in pre-clinical trials–so they can move quickly to save lives.

Keenan Award for Medical Discovery

No More Needles: A Non-Invasive Way to See Kidney Scarring

Dr. Darren Yuen

Dr. Darren Yuen

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

THE CHALLENGE: Chronic kidney disease – caused when diabetes or high blood pressure irreversibly damages the organs by scarring them – affects one in 10 Canadians. The usual way to diagnose kidney disease is by a needle biopsy. Not only is the procedure painful, it can be dangerous: it may cause bleeding, sending patients to the ICU.

THE SOLUTION: Dr. Darren Yuen has developed a simple, non-invasive ultrasound scan that can take a picture of the kidney to see if there is scarring and how extensive it is. This first-of-its-kind innovation will revolutionize care for people around the world who are living with chronic kidney disease.

Keenan Award for Medical Discovery

Hope After Stroke: Personalized Depression Treatment

Dr. Venkat Bhat |  Dr. Manav Vyas

Dr. Venkat Bhat

Clinician-Scientist, Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, and Psychiatrist, St. Michael’s Hospital

Dr. Manav Vyas

Clinician-Scientist, Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, and Neurologist, St. Michael’s Hospital

THE CHALLENGE: Every five minutes, someone in Canada is diagnosed with a stroke. Six in 10 stroke survivors develop depression due to biochemical changes in the brain. Medications and psychotherapy are effective treatments for only one in three. That leaves too many struggling with treatment-resistant depression.

THE SOLUTION: Dr. Venkat Bhat and Dr. Manav Vyas want to test the effectiveness of an accelerated course of brain stimulation, called rTMS, that is targeted to a precise region of the brain. Their aim is to offer stroke survivors who have no other options rapid relief and to improve their quality of life.

Odette Award for Health System Innovation

Infection Detection: Does Mono Trigger Autoimmune Diseases?

Dr. Dalia Rotstein  |  Dr. Amirah Momen

Dr. Dalia Rotstein

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

Dr. Amirah Momen

Neurologist, St. Michael’s Hospital

THE CHALLENGE: One in 20 Canadians will develop an autoimmune disease, such as multiple sclerosis, lupus or  rheumatoid arthritis.  90 percent of the world’s population has been exposed to Epstein-Barr virus, which is the virus causing mononucleosis infection. New research suggests that this infection might trigger autoimmune disease later in life.

THE SOLUTION: Dr. Dalia Rotstein and Dr. Amirah Momen want to explore the link between mono and autoimmune diseases in different populations. The goal?  To see if a vaccine against Epstein-Barr virus, currently in clinical trials, could in fact prevent all these diseases in people who are susceptible. If it does, the impact on health and wellbeing would be massive.

Odette Award for Health System Innovation

AI Surgical Consult: Is Brain Surgery Needed?

Dr. Christopher Witiw  |  Dr. Alun Ackery

Dr. Christopher Witiw

Surgeon-Investigator, Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, and Neurosurgeon, St. Michael’s Hospital

Dr. Alun Ackery

Clinician-Investigator, Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, and Emergency Physician, Trauma Team Leader, St. Michael’s Hospital

THE CHALLENGE: 165,000 Canadians will suffer a traumatic brain injury (TBI) this year. TBIs can cause serious long-term disability and even death. In fact, it’s the leading cause of death in young people. A rapid diagnosis and transfer to a hospital with a neurosurgeon are critical to save lives. But only one in five cases will end up needing surgery – and as it is, neurosurgeons are overwhelmed by the volume of consults.

THE SOLUTION: Dr. Christopher Witiw and Dr. Alun Ackery have developed an AI-based tool trained using brain imaging from thousands of TBI patients to help doctors decide who will need to undergo surgery. Now they want to test it at community hospitals without a neurosurgeon on staff to see if they can improve system-wide efficiencies.

Odette Award for Health System Innovation

Kids’ Asthma Alert: Using AI to Predict Attacks

Dr. Benita Hosseini  |  Dr. Andrew Pinto

Dr. Benita Hosseini

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

Dr. Andrew Pinto

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

THE CHALLENGE: Right now, more than 850,000 children in Canada live with asthma. Worldwide, that figure is 150 million. This year, half of those children will experience an asthma attack: their symptoms will flare up and they will struggle to breathe. About one in six will end up in the emergency room. With worsening air quality globally, those numbers will only skyrocket.

THE SOLUTION: Dr. Benita Hosseini and Dr. Andrew Pinto aim to create an AI model using medical and environmental data to predict severe asthma attacks in children three months before they happen. The goal is to use it to inform families and doctors about the risks so they can take proactive measures. This effort aims to shape public health interventions that lessen environmental asthma triggers–so kids can play outdoors safely, and just be kids.

Meet the 2024 Judges & Host

Lisa LaFlamme - Judge

Lisa LaFlamme - Judge

Lisa LaFlamme has been at the forefront of Canadian journalism for over 35 years tackling some of the biggest issues of our time from war zones and natural disasters to the changing political climate around the world. An Officer of the Order of Canada and Order of Ontario, Lisa was the first woman to anchor CTV National News — a role she held for over a decade. Beyond being a decorated, internationally recognized journalist, she's a passionate advocate of democracy and human rights.

Dan Riskin - Judge

Dan Riskin - Judge

Dan Riskin, PhD, is a bat biologist, science journalist, author and speaker. He is best known as CTV’s Science and Technology Specialist, former co-host of Daily Planet on Discovery and author of the bestselling book Mother Nature is Trying to Kill You. When not leading wildlife tours in the tropics, or talking about science on the news, Dan spends time with his wife Shelby and three great kids. His first science book for kids, Fiona the Fruit Bat, was published last year.

Samantha Yammine - Judge

Samantha Yammine - Judge

Samantha Yammine, PhD, is a neuroscientist and popular Science Communicator. As @science.sam on Instagram and TikTok, 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.

Jennifer Hsiung - Host

Jennifer Hsiung - Host

As co-anchor of CP24 Breakfast, Jennifer Hsiung delivers all the news that viewers across Toronto and the GTHA need to start their day. With more than a decade of international broadcasting experience, Hsuing has covered a wide range of stories for CP24 both at home and abroad since joining the station in September 2020 – including daily updates on the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the 2020 U.S. Presidential election.

Thank You To Our 2024 Sponsors

Top Prize Sponsors

People’s Choice Award Sponsor

Team Award Sponsors

NextGen Sponsors

Corporate Jurors


Greg and Susie Belton

Keri Bush

Tony Cesta

Margaret Harvey

Colleen Johnston

Elaine Kierans & Shawn McReynolds

Mariana MacIntosh

Joe Mazzocco

PBY Capital

Diane Perry

Kate and John Stevenson

Daniel F. Sullivan

Samantha Sykes

Our 2024 Committee

Gwen Harvey, Co-Chair

Melissa Martin, Co-Chair

Ram Amarnath

Keri Bush

Dr. Erica Conte

John McCartney

Wes McComb

James McPhedran

Sneha Palepu

Bill Pringle

Tony Rodrigues

Dr. Ori Rotstein

Harry Sale

Mich Ward

2023 Event Photos


Join the Research Innovation Council

Want to go behind the scenes of medical research and launch a life-changing project? You can.

The Research Innovation Council is an exclusive group that chooses top scientists to receive RIC funding to launch their research projects. This is your chance to impact some of the toughest and timeliest health issues – like those you’re watching on Angels Den. Invest $10,000 per year over five years – and make medical ingenuity possible.

Contact Chanel to join.