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Brain researchers to become ‘neuroentrepreneurs’


Toronto, ON – Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) and the Ontario Brain Institute (OBI) have joined forces and are providing $400,000 to turn Ontariobased neuroscience researchers into ‘neuroentrepreneurs’ and their work into viable companies.

Jointly funded through the OCEOBI Entrepreneurship Fellowship program, eight postgraduate (M.Sc., PhD and postdoctoral fellows) and earlystage entrepreneurs are receiving oneyear awards of $50,000 each to support the commercialization of discoveries that help diagnose, treat or cure brain disorders. In addition to funds, the entrepreneurs will also receive mentoring, training and opportunities to receive followon funding.

“Working with the Ontario Brain Institute, OCE is proud to be able to help accelerate the commercialization of this research and turn it into startup companies,” said Dr. Tom Corr, president and CEO of OCE. “Together, we are fostering a new generation of neuroscience entrepreneurs.”

“The OBI is proud to support these young researchers and assist them in bringing their neurotechnology ideas out of the lab and into the market,” said Dr. Donald Stuss, president and scientific director of the Ontario Brain Institute. “Through this program we aim to encourage entrepreneurial spirit and expand the career opportunities for our highlytrained neuroscience researchers here in Ontario.”

The OBI entrepreneurs selected for this program will work fulltime with the OBI and its partners from across Ontario on commercialization activities related to their neurotechnology idea.

Following are this year’s successful recipients, along with their institution, company and technology being used:

  • Hisham Alshaer; Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, University Health Network; ApneaDx Inc.; Sleep apnea home diagnosis device.
  • Amir Manbachi; University of Toronto; Spinesonics Medical Inc.; Device that allows visualization of screw positioning during insertion into the spine..
  • Joost Schulte; Hospital for Sick Children; Oxalys Pharma; Therapeutics for Huntington’s disease.
  • Peter Siegler; Ryerson University; Device that detects bending and spatial positioning of biopsy needles during insertion into the brain.
  • Bardia Bina; University of Toronto; Augmented reality display system for use in surgical procedures.
  • Jack Lee; Movement Disorders Center; MDDT; Device for characterizing tremors allowing doctors to accurately identify the optimal anti-tremor drug injection site.
  • Abraham Heifets; University of Toronto; Chematria, Inc.; Software for predicting molecules that will have a greater chance of becoming successful drugs.
  • Natasha D’Souza; Carleton University; VirtualEyeSee; Virtual therapy system for children with autism.