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2016 Speakers

Face photo of Dr. Carolyn McGregor Dr. Carolyn McGregor Canada Research Chair in Health Informatics

Dr. Carolyn McGregor is the Canada Research Chair in Health Informatics based at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology. Dr McGregor has led pioneering research in Big Data analytics, real-time event stream processing, temporal data stream data mining, business process modelling and cloud computing. She now progresses this research within the context of critical care medicine, mental health, astronaut health and military and civilian tactical training.

Professor McGregor has a track record of leadership in Health Informatics across, research, teaching, university governance and service to the profession. She is an international leading researcher in the area of critical care health informatics and in particular neonatal health informatics for which she has been researching for over 15 years. She has been awarded over $10 million in research, consultancy and infrastructure funding and has led multiple large research programs including a multi-million dollar First of A Kind (FOAK) research program with IBM. She has over 100 refereed publications, has been awarded 1 patent and filed 2 others and has established two startup companies resulting from her research. She has extensive research collaborations in Canada, China, USA, Russia, Australia and Ireland.

In 2014 she was awarded membership in the Order of Australia for her significant service to science and innovation through health care information systems. In 2015 she was awarded the Advance Global Australian award for Technology Innovation, an award for Australian diaspora. In 2016 she serves as Chair of the IEEE Life Sciences Technical Community.

She received her bachelor of applied science in computer science honours degree, and her PhD degree in computer science from the University of Technology, Sydney.

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Face photo of Cameron Piron Cameron Piron President and co-founder Synaptive Medical
Cameron Piron is an industry-recognized leader and innovator in the field of image guided surgery. Prior to co-founding Synaptive Medical, Cameron was the President and co-founder of Sentinelle Medical, a company that developed and manufactured advanced MRI-based breast imaging technologies that grew to over 200 employees and $20M+ revenues before it was acquired by Hologic, Inc. in 2010. Cameron studied systems design engineering at the University of Waterloo, followed by graduate degree at the University of Toronto in medical biophysics. Cameron has received a number of prestigious awards, including R&D Magazine’s Innovator of the Year – the first Canadian ever to win – and the Premier’s Catalyst Award for Best Young Innovator, both in 2008. In 2009, he also received an Alumni Achievement medal from the University of Waterloo for his innovative leadership of Sentinelle Medical in the research and manufacture of leading-edge MRI technologies that allow physicians to diagnose breast cancer and other medical conditions more quickly and accurately. He was also named one of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40™ in 2009, a list established by Caldwell Partners to celebrate the achievements of young Canadians in the private, public and not-for-profit sectors.
Face photo of Richard McDonald Richard McDonald IBM Distinguished Engineer

Richard McDonald is an IBM Distinguished Engineer with 34 years of IT experience. He spent the first half of his career in the IBM Toronto Laboratory developing products for our clients.

Today, he is CTO for IBM North America Technical Sales. He designs innovative solutions for some of IBM’s largest clients to help them address business and IT challenges and opportunities. Over the years, he has developed methods for helping clients identify innovation opportunities within IT. His technical expertise centres on telco, mobile computing and Internet of Things solutions. He sits on the Scientific Advisory Council for the Southern Ontario Smarter Computing Innovation Platform (SOSCIP) – a consortium of universities, government and IBM to advance research in key areas.

In his spare time, he motorcycles and plays in a jazz band. Each spring he participates as a judge at FIRST Robotics and FIRST Lego League events.

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Face photo of Ruslan Salakhutdinov Ruslan Salakhutdinov Canada Research Chair in Statistical Machine Learning Google Scholar

Ruslan Salakhutdinov received his PhD in computer science from the University of Toronto in 2009. After spending two post-doctoral years at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Artificial Intelligence Lab, he joined the University of Toronto as an Assistant Professor in the Departments of Statistics and Computer Science.

In 2016 he moved to the Machine Learning Department at Carnegie Mellon University as an Associate Professor. His primary interests lie in artificial intelligence, machine learning, deep learning, and large-scale optimization. His main research goal is to understand the computational and statistical principles required for discovering structure in large amounts of data. He is an action editor of the Journal of Machine Learning Research and served on the senior programme committee of several learning conferences including NIPS and ICML. He is an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow, Microsoft Research Faculty Fellow, Canada Research Chair in Statistical Machine Learning, a recipient of the Early Researcher Award, Connaught New Researcher Award, Google Faculty Award, and is a Senior Fellow of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research.

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Face photo of Chris Robson Chris Robson Mechanical Lead Experimental Albertan1 Cube Satellite

Chris is a 5th year Mechanical Engineering Co-Op student at the University of Alberta, I was the Project Manager of the Ex-Alta 1 Satellite project (designed and created by the AlbertaSat Student Group) for two years and am currently the Mechanical Lead for the Ex-Alta 1 Satellite. Ex-Alta 1 is a 3U CubeSat flying with the QB50 mission to study the lower thermosphere and will become Alberta’s first satellite. Ex-Alta 1 hosts a Langmuir probe package, a U of A designed digital fluxgate magnetometer, a Teledyne dosimeter and a student designed on board computer. Ex-Alta 1 flys to the ISS in July for deployment with NanoRacks. My future plans include Graduate studies in Mechanical Engineering with a focus on spacecraft technology, working in the space industry as an engineer and creating a satellite startup company for Earth observation from a CubeSat platform.

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Face photo of Daniel McInnis. Daniel McInnis. Mechanical Engineering Student at the University of Toronto Schulich Leaders Scholar & Young Entrepreneur

Daniel McInnis just finished his first year of mechanical engineering at the University of Toronto. He is passionate about innovation and entrepreneurship, and that goes back to his days in high school. While juggling school, different extra-curricular activities and sports, he came up with a couple of interesting ideas in the sports helmet and prosthetic limb industries. What started as just science fair projects, led to starting a business, patenting his technology, working to craft a licensing deal with manufacturers and actually producing a prosthetic limb for a young boy in his hometown of Ottawa. Driven by the idea that technology can be used to change lives, he is working hard to continue raising the bar on what he and his ideas have to offer.

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Face photo of Sylvain Laporte Sylvain Laporte President Canadian Space Agency

Sylvain Laporte was appointed President of the Canadian Space Agency in March 2015.

Prior to this appointment, he was Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO), Commissioner of Patents, Registrar of Trade-Marks since 2011.

Previously, he held the position of Executive Director, Industrial Technologies Office (ITO) at Industry Canada where he was responsible for managing financial contribution programs in research and development for the aerospace, defence, security and space industries.

Sylvain joined Industry Canada in March 2007 as the Chief Informatics Officer (CIO).

Before joining the public service, he worked for Canada Post Corporation in various sectors, such as marketing, retail, logistics and information technology.

Sylvain gained extensive experience as an Aerospace Engineer over the course of his 20 year career with the Canadian Forces. He held various positions in such fields as engineering, maintenance, and human resources management.

Sylvain earned a Bachelors degree in computer science from Collège Militaire Royal de Saint-Jean, and a Masters degree in computer engineering from the Royal Military College in Kingston.

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Face photo of Tony Thoma Tony Thoma Faculty of Engineering Technology and Media Studies at Mohawk College

Tony Thoma, Dean, Faculty of Engineering Technology and Media Studies at Mohawk College.

His experience includes senior-level positions in industry including: VP, Operations at Matalco, Inc., Global Technical Director at Wescast Industries, Process Engineer at Norton Advanced Ceramics and Melt Supervisor at Canron.

As part of his role at Mohawk College, Tony has facilitated the development of Applied Research in the areas of Health IT, Energy Systems and now Additive Manufacturing. Tony is a licensed Professional Engineer (PEO), a member of the Board of Trustees of St. Joseph’s Hospital in Hamilton, has served as a member of the Ontario Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) Stakeholder Advisory Committee. Tony has also recently served as chair for the steering committee for the City of Hamilton’s Citizens Jury for the upcoming LRT initiative.

Tony has an MBA from the University of Western Ontario, an Honours BBA from Brock University, and a B.Sc. in Metallurgy and Materials Science from McMaster University.

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Face photo of Kirt Costello Kirt Costello International Space Station (ISS), Deputy Chief Scientist

Dr. Kirt Costello is the NASA International Space Station (ISS) Deputy Chief Scientist. In this position he works with the ISS Chief Scientist, ISS Program Manager and Research Integration Office manager to advise on the objectives and priorities of science being prepared to fly to the space station and to communicate those objectives to the public. Prior to joining the ISS Program, Dr. Costello was a Mission Operations manager, an International Space Station Training Lead, and a power and thermal systems instructor. Dr. Costello led the crew and mission training for the ISS 12A.1 and 1J assembly missions. Dr. Kirt Costello completed a PhD in Space Physics and Astronomy at Rice University in 1998 where his research was focused on the application of artificial intelligence to the prediction of solar wind transport and the global response to space weather disturbances.

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Face photo of Catherine (Cady) Coleman Catherine (Cady) Coleman NASA Astronaut

Cady Coleman is a NASA Astronaut with over 180 days in space, accumulated over two Space Shuttle missions and a six-month expedition to the International Space Station (ISS). She launched and landed aboard the Russian Soyuz spacecraft, and she acted as the lead robotics and science officer during her tenure aboard the ISS, performing the second-ever free flyer robotic capture from the ISS. After returning from space, Coleman integrated supply ship operations for NASA’s newest commercial partners, SpaceX and Orbital.

Presently, she works for NASA’s Chief Technologist managing innovation programs and creative public private partnerships. She graduated from MIT with a B.S. in Chemistry and then from the University of Massachusetts with a Ph.D in Polymer Science and Engineering. She was commissioned in 1983 as a second lieutenant and served in the US Air Force for 26 years.

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