Skip to content. | Skip to navigation


Personal tools
You are here: Research @ McMaster > News > 2016 News Archive > IS16 showcases inspiration, discovery, growth

Research News

IS16 showcases inspiration, discovery, growth

MILO's eighth Innovation Showcase highlighted the growing strength and impact of our student entrepreneurial movement.

Danelle D'Alvise
Research Communications

This year's Innovation Showcase focused on the entrepreneurial spirit and creativity exhibited by students, graduate students, post doctoral fellows and researchers from across McMaster's campus.

More than 230 participants attended IS16 to listen to speakers chronicle their own path to capturing the social and economic value of their research, a panel featuring legal, financial, and investment experts, as well as presentations by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and the Ontario Centres of Excellence agencies highlighting their funding opportunities.

“One of McMaster’s key priorities is to identify opportunities to build on our culture of entrepreneurship and to capitalize on the innovation ecosystem that resides here in Hamilton,” said Rob Baker, vice-president, research.

“We want to ensure our research plays a pivotal role in driving our region’s social and economic prosperity, and certainly the Innovation Showcase serves as an important catalyst.”

Nowhere was the entrepreneurial spirit more evident than in the record number of poster submissions – some 60 entries – which were judged in the categories of Commercialization Impact, Social Impact and the People’s Choice.

Below are the awardees recognized at the reception following the day-long Showcase, which took place on November 10 at the McMaster Innovation Park. More than forty individuals and teams --ranging from entrepreneurial students with innovative approaches to social and commercial problems, to pioneering researchers -- were celebrated for their contributions to McMaster’s burgeoning entrepreneurial culture.

Lifetime Innovator Award: Dr. Jan Irvine

Dr. Sandy Logan accepting the Lifetime Innovator award from Dr. Rob BakerThe late Dr. Jan Irvine was recognized for her leadership in the field of gastroenterology and, particularly, for her work, in collaboration with Drs. Gordon Guyatt and Alba Dicenso, to develop the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Questionnaire (IBDQ). Inflammatory Bowel Disease  is a chronic disease that causes inflammation of the colon and intestinal tract, which compromises the quality of life.  The IBDQ was one of the first tools that assessed quality of life using a validated method.  Since 1989, the IBDQ has been used around the globe and has been translated into 99 languages to date. Dr. Irvine’s work with academics, clinicians, and pharmaceutical companies world-wide, has made the IBDQ the gold standard in studying inflammatory bowel disease, like Crohn’s and Colitis. Sadly, Dr. Irvine passed away this summer; her husband, Dr. Sandy Logan, accepted her award.

Innovator of the Year: Professor Gerry Wright

Gerry Wright receiving his Innovator of the Year award from Rob Baker.

Gerry Wright, professor of biochemistry and biomedical sciences and Scientific Director of the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research was nominated for his work on the clinical development of a novel antibiotic adjuvant, his on-going industry collaborations enabling the pre-clinical validation of several antibiotics in the development pipeline and his efforts to establish a novel drug discovery platform. He’s been collaborating with a Boston based company to complete the pre-clinical phases of development and initiation of human clinical trial testing of a natural product compound discovered from his lab. The approach spearheaded by Wright’s lab has significant importance in the battle against antibiotic resistance. 

Synergy Award Winner: Professor Matthew Woolhouse

Matt Woolhouse accepting the Synergy Award from Rob Baker.

Matthew Woolhouse, assistant professor of music was awarded for his work in collaboration with researchers at Hamilton Health Sciences and in the faculties of Health Sciences and Engineering and the Hamilton City Ballet for collectively developing a program for technology-based dance, benefiting those with Parkinson’s Disease.  In addition to this collaborative work, Woolhouse founded the Digital Music Lab in association with the UK-based download and live-stream music service MixRadio in 2013.  His research explores music downloading, the pro-social effects of dance, music and dance for the palliative treatment of people with Parkinson’s, and musical pitch perception.

Innovators of Distinction

The researchers below were listed as an inventor on a patent issued to McMaster over the last 18 months -- almost two dozen of our researchers, representing eight promising technologies.

  • Scott Fitzpatrick, Mohammad Mazumder and Heather SheardownBiodegradable Polymer System 
  • Ali Emadi and Yinye Yang: Electro-Mechanical Double-Rotor Compound Hybrid Transmission
  • Ali Emadi and Piranavan Suntharalingam: Integrated Electro-Mechanical Powertrain System for Hybrid Vehicles
  • Ali Emadi and Piranavan SuntharalingamPowertrain System for Hybrid Vehicles Having Compound and Split Modes of Operation
  • Tayyab Hameed and David Potter: Crosslinking of Reactive Polyolefin Prepolymers Using a Co-reactant
  • John Brennan, Carlos Filipe, Zakir Hossain, Julie Lebert, Roger Luckham, Robert Pelton and Anne Smith: Biosensors Utilizing Ink Jet-Printed Biomolecule Compatible Sol Gel Inks and Uses Thereof
  • Ali Emadi and Piranavan Suntharalingam: Hybrid Powertrain System
  • Robert Drysdale, Michael Tait and Hamid Toopchinezhad: Self-Reinforced Masonry Blocks, Walls Made From Self-Reinforced Masonry Blocks, and Method for Making Self- Reinforced Masonry Block

Poster Competition


Pedram Madadkar, Rahul Sadavarte, Umatheny Umatheva, Sergio Luna Nino, Qijiayu WuPedram Madadkar accepts his award from Sean Van Koughnet and Raja Ghosh won the Commercialization Potential Category for their poster Laterally-fed membrane chromatography (LFMC): high-resolution purification, ultra-fast analysis

Here's the abstract they submitted to the competition: 

The biopharmaceutical industry has experienced remarkable progress in the upstream production capacity of life-saving protein drugs. This is while the downstream processing has failed to keep up and therefore purification costs comprise up to 80% of the total manufacturing cost. Conventional resin-based chromatography, which is the linchpin in purification of biological molecules, has remained as the bottleneck both in large-scale purification and analysis stages. Chromatography columns are used at very low throughput since increasing the speed of operation highly affects their resolution. In the process-scale, the resin based media requires high volumes of sterile buffer and costly cleaning and manufacturing stages. Moreover, economy of scale does not exist for such columns due to the high capital cost of resins. Therefore, they are normally used in series to process high volume of products. This is while in analytical scale, the columns are packed with small resin particles to increase the throughput which is at the cost of working with an order of magnitude higher pressure in ultra-high performance liquid chromatography systems (UHPLC). Membrane chromatography which uses a stack of adsorptive membranes as the separation media is one of the promising alternatives for packed-bed columns being a significantly faster, more cost-effective, and a highly scalable technique. However, the currently available membrane chromatography devices cannot be used for high-resolution applications due to serious design deficiencies. We have established the novel “Laterally-fed membrane chromatography (LFMC)” devices which not only benefits from the high productivity associated with membranes but also give resolutions comparable or even higher than their equivalent resin columns. The LFMC devices are very economical and can be used in a single-use manner to increase the processing time and eliminate the cleaning and validation steps. LFMC devices offer combined high-throughput and high-resolution operations in the large-scale and greatly suitable for scale-up. At the same time, they have also proven to facilitate ultra-fast analysis for quality control and are considered as a promising alternative for UHPLC systems in analysis of monoclonal antibody aggregates.


Amber Reider accepting her Social Impact poster award from Sean Van Koughnet

 Amber Rieder, Ellis Freedman, Andrea Gonzalez, David Ndetei, Victoria Mutiso & Geoffrey Hall won the Social Impact category for: The Development and Validation of the International Mobile Psychiatric Assessment for Children and Teens (IMPACT).

Here's their poster abstract: 

Introduction/Background: ~14% of the worlds total disease burden can be attributed to mental, neurological, and substance use (MNS) disorders. Children suffer heightened vulnerability, especially in low- and middle-income (LMIC) countries, where MNS disorders are exacerbated by poor living conditions. A model of task-shifting is proposed to reduce the paucity of unmet psychiatric needs in countries like Kenya. The objective of this study is to apply a task-shifting model, through the development and examination of the International Mobile Psychiatric Assessment for Children and Teens (IMPACT). The IMPACT is an ‘app-based’ tool for use by non-experts to assess paediatric mental illness using a comprehensive and highly structured interview on standard mobile phones.
Methods: 197 rural school children (grades 7-12) from Machakos, Kenya were interviewed using the IMPACT on mobile tablets by local, non-expert interviewers. The MINI-kid, the gold standard in the region, was administered for validation purposes by trained graduate students from McMaster University. Cohen’s Kappa, sensitivity, and specificity of the IMPACT were examined in comparison the MINI-Kid.
Results: There was a relatively high agreement between the non-expert administered IMPACT and the MINI-kid, with Kappa scores ranging from 0.67-0.88, sensitivity ranging from 0.66-0.92, and specificity scores ranging from 0.96-0.99.
Conclusions: The IMPACT showed high agreement in comparison with the MINI-kid. The IMPACT is the first structured diagnostic interview with automated algorithmic output, using the latest criteria of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, 5th edition. Additionally, the IMPACT is the first ‘mobile’ assessment for tablet/phone to be used to assess the mental status of children and adolescents in resource scarce regions. The IMPACT is a relatively valid and reliable, and globally accessible measure of childhood psychiatric illness promoting it’s use for clinical practice and research settings, especially in LMIC.


Nicholas Allen accepts his People's Choice award for the poster competition

Nicholas Allen and Suraj Gopinathbirla won the People's Choice category for their  poster: Development of low-cost, portable, and intuitive gene-based analysis device

Here's the abstract they submitted to the competition: 

Many gene-based tests and screening methods are developed every year for detecting things ranging from disease to counterfeit goods, but rarely do these novel methods show up on the market, let alone for a consumer-accessible price. A major impediment in widespread marketability of gene-based testing methods is the high cost of equipment needed to carry out detection and analysis of results. In addition, the need for trained personnel severely impacts availability of these tests among the general public. This project focuses on development of an in-house prototype, with a companion smartphone app, which can perform the functions of conventional gene analysis devices at a much lower cost, and with greater ease-of-use. When coupled with separate low-cost gene-based testing methods such as DNAzyme-based assays, the developed prototype, with a manufacturing cost of under $500, can replace devices costing over $50,000 while achieving comparable performance. In addition to being cheaper than currently available technology, the portability and intuitive interface of the device can extend the application of gene-based tests to point-of-care testing by untrained personnel. Our device shows great potential for bringing low-cost gene detection and analysis to the general public, with potential uses in point-of-care testing, hobbyist biology, and primary education.