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EnABlE EducAtE AdvAncE EngAgE BuIld IBBME An InstItutE At thE cEntrE of InnovAtIon In BIoMEdIcAl EngInEErIng. IBBME At A glAncE •

core faculty received $13.24M in research funding in 2011-12. IBBME students received nearly $5M in total funding in 2012. IBBME core faculty filed nearly 350 patents or disclosures from 1993-2013. ranked 2nd behind harvard for number of publications, 1st among all publically funded universities (2006-2011) for biomedical engineering programs. IBBME counts 43 hospital training laboratories within 12 partner institutions, including 10 major hospitals – most of which are within easy walking distance from the Institute.

At the cutting-edge of biomedical engineering, IBBME is a unique, multidisciplinary graduate research unit where investigators from engineering, medicine and dentistry collaborate to find innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing health care challenges. The leading biomedical engineering program in Canada, the Institute of Biomaterials & Biomedical Engineering (IBBME) offers interdisciplinary graduate research spanning three faculties at the University of Toronto: Applied Science and Engineering, Dentistry and Medicine. IBBME’s 47 core faculty and 67 cross-appointed faculty are integrated across 23 academic partners and 10 hospitals, and are actively collaborating with 72 institutions on research projects. IBBME is located in the heart of Canada’s largest health care research hub, where our students receive comprehensive and hands-on training: 40% of IBBME’s 240 graduate and 60 collaborative program students conduct their research within 43 hospital training laboratories. This year, IBBME’s Clinical Engineering MHSc students held 34 professional internships across Toronto and internationally. Collaborating across disciplines, our students develop core engineering skills to solve complex biomedical problems in a uniquely entrepreneurial environment. While IBBME’s faculty and students are involved with 20 active start-up companies, IBBME is also integrally connected to 3 new major biomedical engineering commercialization ventures.

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BIoMEdIcAl EngInEErIng

Masters of science (MAsc): 2 year program (full time) Phd: 4 year program (full time)

Building the future of Medicine: Biomedical Engineering Brain-machine interfaces. Engineering molecules for medical applications. New applications for stem cells and engineered tissues. Faster, safer, costeffective diagnostics. From minds to machines to molecules, IBBME’s biomedical engineering programs are designed to offer students entrepreneurial opportunities combined with radical innovation.

clInIcAl EngInEErIng

Masters of health science (Mhsc): 2 year program (full time) Phd concentration program: 4 years (full time)

the changing face of health care: clinical Engineering Smart phone apps for tracking juvenile diabetes. Revolutionary therapies for patients with neurological and mobility issues. The development of low cost prostheses for use in developing nations. With IBBME’s Clinical Engineering program, you are the changing face of health care. Hands-on applications, devices and research are experienced in the context of health care environments. With mandatory internships, the MHSc program provides students the opportunity to expand their skill base in professional clinical engineering environments.

the cutting-Edge of collaboration Breadth. Depth. Experience. Pursue biomedical engineering at IBBME through our collaborative program with one of 14 collaborating departments which include Pharmaceutical Sciences, Biochemistry, Physics, and Laboratory Medicine and Pathology. Visit the IBBME website ( for details. for further information, please contact:

IBBME rEsEArch ArEAs •

neural, sensory systems & rehabilitation Engineering Biomaterials, tissue Engineering & regenerative Medicine nanotechnology, Molecular Imaging & systems Biology Engineering in a clinical setting

Biomedical Engineering & collaborative Programs 416.978.4841

clinical Engineering Program office 416.978.6102

Institute of Biomaterials & Biomedical Engineering (IBBME) 164 College Street, Room 407 Toronto, Ontario, M5S 3E3 Canada

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BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING An institute at the centre of innovation in biomedical engineering, IBBME researchers are redesigning the future of medicine. IBBME INNOVATION •

Formed in 1962, the Institute is among the largest and most established biomedical engineering programs in Canada. •

IBBME is home to 244 Biomedical Engineering students and 60 Collaborative Program students. •

Last year, IBBME’s core faculty and students published over 233 papers in peer-reviewed scholarly journals. •

IBBME’s faculty currently are involved in 72 institutional collaborations, including projects with Johns Hopkins, Princeton, and others. •

IBBME’s 47 core faculty members filed 13 patents and invention disclosures in the 2011-12 academic year. •

32 of IBBME’s core and cross-appointed faculty won national and international recognitions of their outstanding research, including 4 of the 10 “Inventor of the Year” titles awarded by the University of Toronto in 2012, and 4 Connaught Innovation Awards.

The Institute of Biomaterials & Biomedical Engineering (IBBME) at the University of Toronto is one of the oldest, largest and most established biomedical engineering programs in Canada. Balancing the rigour of engineering disciplines with the exploratory frontiers of biomedical research, IBBME offers students an opportunity to advance their careers in a uniquely collaborative, cross-disciplinary, and entrepreneurial environment.

Researchers at IBBME are making inroads into understanding stem cell behaviour by combining mathematical computational models with biomedical imaging techniques. Fourth year PhD student and Vanier Award winner Nika Shakiba is a stem cell expert. A lead coordinator for the University of Toronto’s chapter of the national science education program, Let’s Talk Science, Shakiba is the lead coordinator and Chair of the national advisory committee for the annual program, StemCellTalks, which introduces high school students to stem cell science. Shakiba draws inspiration from her research at the Zandstra lab, where she studies the mechanisms behind the reprogramming of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells). Part of a new and cutting-edge investigative field of biomedical engineering research – induced pluripotent stem cells, cells originating from any part of the body that have their cellular memory ‘wiped’ and are reprogrammed to become other cells, were discovered as late as 2006 – Shakiba tracks and predicts which of the few cells will be successful at this transformation. Shakiba finds that IBBME’s collaborative approach, involving the successful integration of traditional engineering techniques such as mathematical modeling, combined with traditional and new biomedical imaging techniques, are making a profound difference with her research. Most recently, Shakiba has applied her expertise in an international iPS research collaboration with labs as far-flung as Korea and Australia in a study of surface proteins in these cells.

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Biomedical Engineering – MASc & PhD

The Biomedical Engineering Program is a full time, research-intensive program leading to a Master of Applied Science (MASc) or Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree in Biomedical Engineering or Biomedical Engineering with a Concentration in Clinical Engineering (PhD only). IBBME immerses students in a rigorous program designed to prepare them for challenging and rewarding careers in medicine and engineering, academia and industry.

Students discussing research at MATCH Symposium poster session, 2013


Candidates must hold a four-year bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree in dentistry, engineering, medicine, physical or biological sciences from a recognized university with a minimum academic standing of A- in the final two years of study. Candidates for the PhD program may gain admittance through the MASc program at the University of Toronto.

BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING Collaborative Program AdMiSSiOn RequiReMenTS

Candidates for the Collaborative program must have an A- average in their last two years of studies and are required to maintain an A- average in each of their graduate courses. Students must also have a supervisor, or co-supervisor, with a full or cross-appointment at IBBME.


With diverse classes in Sensory Communications, Biomedical Nanotechnology, Cell and Tissue Engineering, Neural Engineering, and Clinical Engineering, students in the biomedical engineering program develop interdisciplinary skills that span the biological sciences, engineering disciplines, materials science, systems modeling, computer science, and bioprocess design. Mentored by world-class faculty, our students are immersed in hands-on training towards making a lasting impact on health care.

Biomedical Engineering – Collaborative Program

Students can earn a certificate in Biomedical Engineering in conjunction with their degree from a home department. A certificate can only be obtained through completion of one advanced research based graduate degree (i.e. MSc, MASc or PhD) in one of the participating departments.

ADVANTAGE IBBME: Interdisciplinary. Entrepreneurial. Inventive.

IBBME also offers program enhancements through the two NSERC Collaborative Research and Training Experience (CREATE programs): CARE and MATCH. Can we make it smaller, smarter, faster? The MATCH program (Microfluidics Applications and Training in Cardiovascular Health) conducts research into “lab-on-a-chip” technologies that promise to revolutionize the discovery and development of novel medical therapies. Unique to Canada, the CARE (CREATE Academic Rehabilitation Engineering) program trains biomedical engineers to reach across disciplines to solve the leading rehabilitation challenges facing society, from chronic disabilities to challenges related to aging. Trainees of this program are jointly supervised by faculty from both medicine and engineering disciplines, through which they are guided towards building a clinical knowledge base with targeted hospital observerships, developing multiple perspectives via team-taught interdisciplinary courses, and conducting cross-disciplinary research in a clinical laboratory environment.

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ClInICAl EnGInEERInG IBBME’s Clinical Engineers stand at the intersection between cutting-edge biomedical engineering advancements and real-world clinical experience. IBBME InnOVATIOn •

In 2012-13, IBBME’s Clinical Engineering students participated in 34 paid internships that earned $240,000. •

nearly 40% of all IBBME students conduct their research in a hospital setting. •

IBBME offers the only PhD Concentration in Clinical Engineering in Canada. •

Up to 20% of IBBME’s MHSc students continue their education in medical school. •

The majority of Clinical Engineering graduates report that their internships helped them secure a job postgraduation.

IBBME’s Clinical Engineering program, the first and leading program of its kind in Canada, prepares students for careers in academia, medicine, the health care sector and industry. With its focus on hands-on learning and professionalization, the Clinical Engineering MHSc and PhD Concentration programs immerse students in professional clinical environments while fostering a uniquely balanced foundation in biomedical engineering applications.

Engineering Rehabilitation With Intelligence: IBBME researchers are overcoming challenges facing an aging population with Intelligence. An intelligent wheelchair is just one of the engineering marvels being designed by researchers from Associate Professor Alex Mihailidis’s laboratory at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute (TRI). Upon completion, the Intelligent Wheelchair will be able to help patients with visual or cognitive impairments navigate home environments – the wheelchair will even be able to park itself. Second year MHSc student Paul Oramasionwu is completing his research on one aspect of the project: he is capturing images of, and teaching the wheelchair to recognize, familiar objects in the home such as a chair, dresser or sink. Oramasionwu, who completed the internship component of his Clinical Engineering degree in the Boston area at private company Imprivata, will soon be returning to the company to help design systems to aid clinicians and patients. Mihailidis is also designing intelligent and interactive solutions to patients’ mobility issues. An affordable, portable, tabletop rehabilitation robot will allow patients – such as those recovering from strokes – to be remotely and intelligently monitored while completing exercises at home. Now in its second clinical trial, the robot responds to a patient’s progress and adjusts accordingly.

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Clinical Engineering – MHSc

The Masters in Health Science transforms students into practicing clinical engineering professionals. This unique two-year program incorporates coursework, a research thesis and an extensive internship component that delivers on two main goals: to give IBBME students real-world clinical research opportunities, and to help our students establish solid credentials and networks in the field.


Candidates for the MHSc in Clinical Engineering must hold a bachelor’s degree in engineering and a minimum grade of A- in the last two years of study. Applicants are also required to be eligible for licensure as a professional engineer to participate in internships.

AdMiSSiOn RequiReMenTS Phd

The PhD Concentration in Clinical Engineering is reserved for students who are eligible for certification in clinical engineering through the American College of Clinical Engineering, and must hold an undergraduate degree in Engineering and a master’s degree (any discipline) to be eligible to apply. Students who do not have a prior Clinical Engineering degree are required to take Clinical Engineering courses.


Clinical Engineering – PhD (Biomedical Engineering)

In 2011 IBBME began its one-of-a-kind four-year PhD program. For this unique cross-disciplinary degree students are co-supervised by experts in engineering and clinical health environments.

Real-world. Hands-on. Professional.

At IBBME Clinical Engineering extends well beyond the classroom. As part of its MHSc degree requirements students take part in paid internships, often 2 or 3 over the course of the degree, which give our students the advantage of real-world, on-the-job training opportunities. Our students can be found all over the world: in hospitals, international government agencies, small and medium enterprises and multinational corporations. Recent internships have included: • Massachusetts General Hospital • Centre for Global eHealth Innovation (University Health Network) • Toronto Rehabilitation Institute • Mount Sinai Hospital • World Health Organization (WHO) • Toronto Health Economics and Technology Assessment (THETA) • Stryker International • Imprivata

An intelligent wheelchair designed in part by MASc student Paul Oramasionwu (pictured here).

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IBBME researchers are making important advances that will vastly improve the outcomes of drug testing research and tissue patch development.

Regenerative medicine strategies to solve challenges related to aging. Personalized cancer medicine. Heart tissue patches for damaged hearts. The medical breakthroughs of tomorrow begin at IBBME.

Enabling a New Era of Cardiac Research Cardiac research has been given an electrifying step forward thanks to the research of second year MASc student Jason Miklas and postdoctoral researcher Dr. Sara Nunes of Associate Professor Milica Radisic’s Functional Cardiovascular Tissue Engineering lab. Until now, researchers have been unable to conduct cardiac research on mature human cardiac cells. But Miklas, Nunes, and Radisic have been developing the technology that enables the growth and maturation of human cardiac cells via a “biowire,” technology that mimics the developmental conditions of human cardiac cells in their natural environment. The researchers seed human cardiac cells along a ‘biowire’ suture and apply electrical pulses at the rate of a fetal human heartbeat. The stimulation rapidly matures the cells, making them ideal for cardiac drug testing. The suture form, meanwhile, ensures that patches of mature cells may one day be readily transplanted into patients.

Predicting Fates: Understanding the mechanisms that control stem cell fate is foundational to bioengineering and stem cell research.

Professor Peter Zandstra, Canada Research Chair in Stem Cell Bioengineering.

IBBME’s Professor Peter Zandstra is at the forefront of stem cell research. Zandstra, who holds the Canada Research Chair in Stem Cell Bioengineering, researches the fundamental mechanisms that control stem cell fate, and applies this understanding to generate functional tissue (such as blood or cardiac tissue) from adult and pluripotent stem cells. Ultimately, Zandstra is

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Broken hearts were the focus of last year’s McLean Award holders, IBBME bioengineers Associate Professor Milica Radisic and Associate Professor Craig Simmons. Part of the Connaught Fund, the prestigious McLean Award honours emerging leaders in basic research sciences. Radisic was also awarded the 2012 Engineers of Canada Young Engineer Award and the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Award – an honour also given to Professors Tom Chau and Molly Shoichet. Through an NSERC/CIHR CHRP grant, IBBME’s Professor Molly Shoichet is collaborating with the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre (UHN) on creating personalized cancer treatment tools. Shoichet, who was named one of the University of Toronto’s “Inventors of the Year,” has also won a nearly $1.5M, 5 year CIHR grant with cross-appointed Associate Professor Cindi Morshead to focus on brain recovery after stroke via the application of neural stem cell treatments and rehabilitation. Former IBBME Director Professor Paul Santerre’s privately-held company, Interface Biologics Inc. (IBI) is poised to transform the market for medical devices in the United States. IBI’s biomaterials additives are used to improve devices such as catheters, which are implanted in the body. These additives, marketed under the name Endexo, have been cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in AngioDynamics’ BioFlo PICC catheter. The additive prevents blood coagulation, a crucial concern in kidney dialysis. Santerre was also recently awarded the NSERC Synergy Award for Innovation, which honours outstanding achievements in universityindustry collaborations. Connaught New Researcher Award-winner Assistant Professor Penney Gilbert studies skeletal muscle stem cells in the hopes that muscle loss with aging soon becomes a thing of the past. Gilbert, who also won a CFI grant for laboratory equipment purchases, is focusing on live studies of protein markers to find clues in determining the fate of skeletal muscle stem cells – a growing field of inquiry in regenerative medicine.

interested in using stem cells or their progeny directly to replace damaged tissue, or indirectly to help identify new drugs capable of controlling stem cell based regeneration inside our bodies. For Zandstra, who was named one of the University of Toronto’s Inventors of the Year in 2011, stem cell and bioengineering have an important place in the future of global health - and a vital role in the future of regenerative medicine. Zandstra holds the Chief Scientific Officer position at the Centre for the Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine (CCRM), one of IBBME’s new commercialization partners. Professor Zandstra is also behind Engineering Global Health, a new annual symposium that engages biomedical engineers and other health professionals in a dialogue with global health issues in developing and economically depressed nations: from psychiatric care and the development of waterless toilets to low cost artificial limbs and diagnostics.

Umbilical cord tissue-sourced stem cells create a viable new alternative for therapies. Professor Jed Davies’s company Tissue Regeneration Therapeutics (TRT) has been capturing the attention of scientists and investors around the world with its Human Umbilical Cord PeriVascular Cell (HUCPVC) platform technology.The company recently attracted $3.25M in technology acceleration funding based on the strength of two of its technology licenses. A recent study released by Dr. Armand Keating – cross-appointed to IBBME and Director of the Cell Therapy Program at the Princess Margaret Cancer Care Centre – found that HUCPVCs are superior to the commonly-used mesenchymal stem cells in stem cell therapies to treat a wide variety of diseases. Derived from the discarded umbilical cord tissues postpartum, HUCPVCs also do not carry the same rejection risk as other stem cells.

Visit our website for more information on Biomaterials, Tissue Engineering & Regenerative Medicine at the University of Toronto:

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IBBME’s engineers are rehabilitating the body and improving quality of life.

Whether it’s designing rehabilitation strategies involving electricity to ‘retrain’ damaged nerves, developing optical imaging systems to build communicative devices for the severely disabled, or devising eye-tracking programs that may be able to detect mental illness, IBBME researchers are at the forefront of exploration into the world of sensory and neural systems research.

ADVANTAGE IBBME: Working with industry to develop market-ready rehabilitation products is only part of the equation. As part of her CARE (CREATE Academic Rehabilitation Engineering) internship, biomedical engineering PhD student Vicki Komisar is heavily involved in the commercialization of two important rehabilitation products for the Staxi Corporation. Working out of the iDAPT ‘HomeLab’ and ‘CareLab’ facilities in the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute,Vicki is developing products for patients returning home with mobility problems post-hospitalization. Her first project, SafetyGrip Pole Kit, consists of a pressure-fit vertical pole and clip-on horizontal handrails to support safer mobility in the home. The StandEasy Transfer Pole, her second project, consists of a wall-mounted bedside pole designed for care facilities with high or drop ceilings. Both products are expected to hit markets soon. But it’s her work within the community that Vicki believes has given her an unparalleled breadth of experience. Clinical observerships have afforded Vicki the chance to speak with home care recipients and clinicians as she observed their routine interactions. Vicki Komisar (bottom) teaches DEEP Summer Academy students the value of accessibility features.

Community engagement is another of the CARE program’s goals.Vicki created educational programs, and is currently an instructor, for the University

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Assistant Professor Paul Yoo is new to IBBME’s Neural, Sensory Systems & Rehabilitation theme but has already been awarded a Connaught New Researcher Award and a Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) award. Yoo is taking a new approach to an old cure for people suffering from overactive bladder activity. Studies have shown that stimulating a particular nerve in the ankle can curb overactive bladder activity significantly. Yoo’s current research aims to develop a less invasive therapy that can be remotely activated so that patients may one day be treated in the comfort of their homes. In 2011-12, Professor Milos Popovic was awarded the Connaught Innovation Award, and became a Fellow at the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) for his Functional Electric Stimulation (FES) therapies, which are enabling rapid and lasting recovery of movement control in patients with spinal cord injuries. Popovic, who also holds the Toronto Rehab Chair in Spinal Cord Injury Research at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, was named one of the University of Toronto’s ‘Inventors of the Year’ in 2013 for this promising new rehabilitation therapy. Meanwhile, his company MyndTec was awarded $2M in start-up funds to help commercialize this therapy. Professor Tom Chau, Vice President, Research at the Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital and Director, Research at the Bloorview Research Institute, was honoured by the University of Toronto with an ‘Inventor of the Year’ in 2013 for his work in creating assistive devices based on non-invasive measurements of blood flow in the brain. The research is being used to design communication-assistive technologies for the severely disabled.

of Toronto’s internationally renowned DEEP (DaVinci Engineering Enrichment Program) Summer Academy. Vicki has shaped a curriculum that develops in high school-age students awareness of the challenges people living with disabilities have in and around the community – from using wheelchairs to vision impairment to neuroprosthetics – and allows students to engineer solutions to these everyday problems.

The New Frontier: Mapping the Human Brain IBBME is moving research forward by developing cutting-edge technology that uncovers new dimensions to neurological disorders. Developed from the same technology that lights up our cell phones and computers, a unique imaging system has been developed by Assistant Professor Ofer Levi and his team. The technology uses Vertical Cavity Surface Emitting Lasers (VCSEL): low-cost, easily-tested, miniature microchip lasers mounted on an extremely fast, sensitive camera which allows the operator to manipulate imaging with extraordinary speed and precision. This rapid light manipulation means that the brain can be mapped with much greater sophistication and precision much more quickly than ever before, and is able to classify both veins and arteries simultaneously— something that has never before been accomplished. The technology, which is being tested with the help of Professor Peter Carlen, Head, Division of Fundamental Neurobiology, Toronto Western Research Institute, and a cross-appointed professor at IBBME, is being touted as a possible breakthrough technology for helping to study diseases such as epilepsy, Parkinson’s, and to look at the effects of stroke.

Visit our website for more information on Neural, Sensory Systems & Rehabilitation at the University of Toronto:

Assistant Professor Paul Yoo and MASc candidate Mario Kovacevic research bladder control and function through nerve stimulation.

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Smaller. Faster. Smarter. Further. IBBME is engineering the next-generation tools for medical research.

Global, low cost solutions for disease detection. Research breakthroughs using microfluidic platforms. DNA-based cancer detection and drug delivery systems. By exploiting the potential of microfluidics, nanotechnology and new imaging systems, IBBME researchers invest in a world of possibilities for the future of health care.

Nanomedicine: Real World Applications, Global Impact.

IBBME researchers are creating rapid, low cost, and portable diagnostics that will give untrained technicians in developing nations or field hospitals access to rapid, sensitive diagnostics for a range of diseases. Professor Warren Chan and PhD student Kyryl Zagorovsky have developed a simple biosensor technology that immerses gold particles in a DNA-based enzyme solution that, when a disease gene is introduced, ‘snips’ the DNA from the gold particles, turning the sample red. Very little of the disease gene needs to be present; a single DNA-zyme can clip up to 600 links between the target genes. Moreover, just a single drop from a biological sample such as saliva or blood can potentially be tested in parallel, so that multiple diseases can be tested for in one sitting.

PhD Candidate Kyryl Zagorovsky and Professor Warren Chan develop a low cost DNA-based diagnostic powder.

The biosensor is designed for low-tech situations: the testing solution can be transformed into a powder, which then can be stored for years at a time, and is far lighter and easier to ship than solutions. Chan and Zagorovsky hope the technology can be developed into efficient, low-cost, over-thecounter tests for diseases such as HIV and malaria for developing countries, where access to portable diagnostics is a necessity.

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Cross-appointed Associate Professor Axel Guenther’s lab and Associate Professor Milica Radisic’s lab collaborated on the creation of a revolutionary 3-D tissue printer. Based on microfluidics technologies developed by PhD student Lian Leng, the machine prints out hydrogel sheets into which cells can be placed in precise alignment, allowing for easy growth. The tissue printer can print at up to 10 centimetres per second, collecting the 3-dimensional patches around a spool. Dr. Marc Jeschke, head of Sunnybrook’s Ross Tilley Burn Centre, is currently investigating applications of the machine as a “skin printer,” touting the invention as potentially signaling a new era for burn treatment. The University of Toronto named the collaborators “Inventors of the Year” in 2013. IBBME’s Assistant Professor Rodrigo Fernandez-Gonzalez, a recent winner of a Connaught New Researcher Award, has brought to Toronto a one-of-a-kind piece of technology to the biomedical engineering research community with his CFI grant: a spinning disc confocal microscope uniquely equipped for laser ablation and photomanipulation. The microscope allows Fernandez-Gonzalez to study live tissue samples at the molecular, cellular and mechanical levels – an imperative for his field, which involves the study of animal development, particularly embryos. By researching embryo wound repair – as embryos repair wounds much faster than adults – Fernandez-Gonzalez hopes to develop strategies for healing adults. Professor Moshe Eizenman’s visual scanning technologies are offering clinicians new hope in diagnosing mental disorders of all kinds, from autism and depression to schizophrenia. Although more work needs to be done to develop meaningful algorithms to interpret the data collected, the technology allows researchers to track minute ocular reactions to specific images, which can be tagged to specific disorders.

Chan, who was recently awarded the NSERC E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fellowship, has also been developing nanoparticle technologies aimed at pinpointing cancerous tumours for the purposes of detection and removal – and which may one day be used as cancer drug delivery systems.

Inventing a World Wide Research Community DropBot is a digital microfluidics tool invented by fourth year biomedical engineering PhD Student Ryan Fobel that may just spark a microfluidics revolution. A graduate student in Associate Professor Aaron Wheeler’s lab, named one of the University of Toronto’s “Inventors of the Year” in 2011, Ryan created the tool to further his own experiments. But he also wants to encourage other researchers to take up the technology; while microfluidics is gaining popularity in biomedical engineering for its ability to use and manipulate tiny amounts of sample for research, including diagnostics, chemical synthesis, tissue engineering, cell culture and analysis, it is still a relatively new field. The DropBot has exponentially increased output for the lab’s researchers, and has simultaneously created a more rigorous quality control. Drawing upon open-source hardware similar to that which is used to build 3D printing technologies, the machine digitally navigates droplets across a surface in much the same way one would navigate a game of Ms. Pacman. Rather than trying to commercialize his invention, Ryan decided to post the source code on the Internet as an open-source project. Anyone can download the blueprints, instructions, and software for DropBot and build their own instrument. Users are encouraged to individualize their new DropBots, and post their changes and results (

Visit our website for more information on Nanotechnology, Molecular Imaging & Systems Biology at the University of Toronto:

Opposite: PhD candidate Ryan Fobel invented the DropBot, a digital microfluidics device.

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Whether in the institution, the home or the street, IBBME’s clinical engineers are transforming lives, one idea at a time.

Smart phone apps for self-monitoring diabetes. Intelligent home designs for people suffering from Alzheimer’s. Mobile ehealth records and drug delivery safety. Advanced body-machine interfaces for people with severe disabilities. IBBME’s clinical engineers are designing technologies, devices and strategies for people suffering from chronic disease and traumatic injury, persons with disabilities, and stroke patients to integrate more fully with the world around them.

Measuring Impact: Technologies for Home Monitoring As part of a project run through the Centre for Global eHealth Innovation led by Assistant Professor Joseph Cafazzo and co-supervised by Dr. Emily Seto, second-year MHSc student Jonathan Tumken is seeing the real-world results of his research. Jonathan has developed a pilot project to establish a way to remotely telemonitor the vital statistics of cardiac patients at home. Patients are able to record their vital statistics via specially calibrated equipment – weight, blood pressure, and even a portable ECG – to be uploaded through mobile technologies such as a smart phone. The statistical information can then be accessed remotely via a secure website to home care nurses, who will be able to determine whether or not to visit the patients based on the gathered information.

Top right: Assistant Professor Joseph Cafazzo Vital statistics gathered through home monitoring systems keep chronic care patients out of the hospitals.

If successful, the pilot project may be adopted as a home care model that will give patients at home greater flexibility, reduce the recurrence of re-hospitalization and reduce the number of costly home care visits.

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IBBME INNOVATION Assistant Professor and Scientist at the Bloorview Research Institute, Elaine Biddiss’s interactive waiting room at the Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital makes the process of waiting an art form for children with disabilities. The installation boasts a pressure-sensitive floor comprised of 100 tiles. Calibrated from the microcontroller switches in the tiles, information is fed to a computer which then applies corresponding images to a glass wall from a ceiling-mounted projector. Anyone standing or sitting on the tiles can create elaborate, moving landscapes from rotating design motifs. People who move the least are able to grow the largest designs. And, unlike traditional waiting room distractions, Screenplay caters to its vulnerable population: people of all abilities can interact without ever having to touch objects such as toys, or each other, preventing the spread of disease and encouraging participation by children with limited mobility. •

Assistant Professor Jan Andrysek, a scientist at the Bloorview Research Institute, has designed an inexpensive and functional artificial prosthesis for those who have had their leg amputated above the knee. Developed especially for amputees in developing nations, the Low Cost Artificial Knee is waterproof, and robust enough for difficult terrains and hard labour. More importantly, the LC Knee has a price tag of just $50 – comparable limbs in Canada cost thousands of dollar. Andrysek has been testing his knee in developing nations such as Nicaragua and Ethiopia. •

Opposite: IBBME’s newest core faculty member, Assistant Professor José Zariffa.

IBBME researchers are designing neural-machine interfaces to create adaptive, personalized rehabilitation strategies. Assistant Professor José Zariffa is taking a personalized approach to rehabilitation for patients with spinal cord injuries. Based out of the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute (TRI), Zariffa’s group is one of two in the world who are analyzing patterns of electrical activity around individual nerves to create a “bridge” between the nervous system and assistive devices. Called one of Toronto’s “Big Thinkers” (The Grid, 2013), Zariffa, a new core faculty member at IBBME, is applying his data collection techniques to raise the quality of life for people living with spinal cord injuries. A neuro-bladder prosthesis, a project Zariffa has been pursuing in collaboration with researchers at Toronto Western Research Institute, will alert people suffering from paralysis to the fullness of their bladder. Also in development is a new, wearable feedback and recording system. Zariffa hopes the system will better track hand use in spinal cord injury patients by gathering information on everyday use and movement in a natural environment before the data is fed back to clinicians through smart feedback systems such as cell phones.

Intelligent by design: IBBME’s clinical engineering students conduct research in one-of-a-kind simulation environments. The Toronto Rehabilitation Institute (TRI) where many of IBBME’s students and faculty carry out their research boasts one-of-a-kind facilities for training future clinical engineers. iDAPT (Intelligent Design for Adaptation, Participation and Technology) is a $36 million initiative that simulates everyday environments for the purposes of rehabilitation research. iDAPT includes the HomeLab, a simulation of a one bedroom bungalow, the CareLab, a dedicated hospital room simulation that helps researchers determine better point-of-care strategies, and the CEAL (Challenging Environment Assessment Lab), a series of pods that allow researchers to recreate and study, among other things, the effects of ice and snow on persons with disabilities and the elderly. Visit our website for more information on Engineering in a Clinical Setting at the University of Toronto:

INSTITUTE OF BIOMATERIALS AND BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING Rosebrugh Building 164 College Street, Room 407, Toronto, Ontario M5S 3G9

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IBBME Program Portfolio 2012-13  

IBBME Program Portfolio 2012-13  

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