Researcher shifts work, finds “silver bullet” for COVID-19 protection

The COVID-19 pandemic sparked an urgent need for innovation in all aspects of our lives – and researchers rose to the challenge. From COVID-19 diagnostics and treatments to changes in how we work and receive healthcare, the pandemic has fast-tracked innovation across sectors. 

High-potential researchers and businesses around the world did a pandemic pivot, shifting their work and resources to respond to the world’s pressing need for solutions. In Canada, Seyyedarash (Arash) Haddadi’s story is a standout example of innovation partnerships helping to counter the COVID-19 threat. 

Research team’s breakthrough work helps revitalize Indigenous languages

An Indigenous-led research team at the Sanyakola Foundation, situated in Port Hardy, B.C. has initiated a multi-faceted, collaborative effort to recover Kwak’wala. Led by Sara Child, a professor of Indigenous Education at North Island College, the Sanyakola Foundation is undertaking work that involves Kwakwaka’wakw Elders and Knowledge Keepers and is engaging a younger generation in its work. 

Fighting climate change while putting carbon emissions to good use

Former Mitacs postdoctoral researcher Dr. Ulrich Legrand understands that the world is facing major challenges due to climate change. He also knows that decision-makers are looking for solutions to the global crisis while driving economic growth

“Governments and businesses agree that reducing emissions is the right thing to do to protect the environment, but at the same time, they want to see a financial benefit,” Dr. Legrand says. And he has developed a first-of-its-kind technology that does just that.

Yes, Autonopia does do windows

Using methods virtually unchanged since the 1930s, high-rise window cleaning is in line for a facelift.

Autonopia, a small business, is developing a first-of-its-kind robot that can safely rappel all types of building surfaces much faster than humans.

Innovator combats algal bloom that may kill fish

When 31-year-old Jason Deglint was completing his PhD in systems design engineering at University of Waterloo, he decided to tackle a problem that costs an estimated $2 billion in damages and losses in the aquaculture industry: the harmful algae blooms that kill fish.

Deglint dedicated his thesis research to developing a smart, low-cost prototype imaging system to analyze samples in the lab. With support from the Mitacs Accelerate Entrepreneur program, his efforts resulted in the creation of Blue Lion Labs, a new small business based in Waterloo, Ontario.

Startup develops device to support women’s pelvic floors

Negin Ashouri is on a mission to elevate women’s quality of life, one medical device at a time. Through her business FemTherapeutics, she created an innovative, made-to-measure, biodegradable, and disposable intravaginal prosthetic called a pessary to help women suffering from pelvic organ prolapse (POP). 

Life-saving early detection of lung cancer is just a breath away

Screening for lung cancer may soon be as routine as having your blood pressure taken and as convenient as picking up your prescriptions, thanks to a breakthrough innovation by a Moncton-based company. 

As a result of the AI and machine learning expertise of University of New Brunswick biomedical engineering master’s student and Mitacs intern Robyn Larracy, biotech firm Picomole Inc. has developed a first-of-its-kind screening tool that makes lung cancer detection as simple as breathing into a tube. The innovation is expected to be commercialized as early as 2024. 

Student work for start-up making waves in maritime innovation

Founded by a pair of Dalhousie University alumni of the materials engineering program, Nova Scotia-based Graphite Innovation and Technologies (GIT) is providing opportunities for Dalhousie graduate students to put their research experience into practice through Mitacs internships.  

Collaboration with biotech incubator creates jobs for researchers

For Toronto-based Dose Biosystems, a focus on researching and developing the next generation of probiotics brings a hiring challenge: finding and onboarding highly specialized talent. Coming directly from doctoral programs, new employees encounter an unfamiliar environment that requires new skills and different ways of working.

Time for COVID-19 early detection and monitoring

Quebec entrepreneur and former Mitacs intern Azadeh Dastmalchi developed a medical-grade smartwatch after struggling to find a device that could help her father monitor his hypertension. Now, in addition to targeting the one in three adults suffering from high blood pressure in North America, her company VitalTracer is pivoting its solution to assist with early detection and monitoring of COVID-19 symptoms.

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