Edward (Ted) Sargent

Edward (Ted) Sargent

Photo of Ted Sargent

Vice-President, Research and Innovation, and Strategic Initiatives
University of Toronto

University Professor Edward (Ted) Sargent received a BScEng (Engineering Physics) from Queen’s University and a PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering (Photonics) from the University of Toronto. He joined the Edward S. Rogers Sr. Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Toronto in 1998, was promoted to Associate Professor in 2002 and to Full Professor in 2005. He served as Associate Chair, Research, for Electrical and Computer Engineering, from 2009 to 2012. He then served as Vice-Dean, Research for the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering until 2016. He holds the Canada Research Chair in Nanotechnology. In 2015 he was appointed as University Professor, the University of Toronto’s most distinguished rank. Among his many honours, he received this year’s Killam Prize for Engineering.

He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and the Canadian Academy of Engineering. The impact of his work has been felt in industry through his formation of a number of start-up companies. He is founder and Chief Technology Officer of InVisage Technologies and co-founder of QD Solar and Xagenic.

Professor Sargent’s research interests cover many areas of nanotechnology and its application to communications and computing, medicine, and tapping new energy sources. His research has been cited more than 49,000 times (Scopus) and has been disseminated in Nature, Science, and other leading journals. Through his work as a scholar, Vice-Dean, Research and Vice-President, International, Professor Sargent has accumulated extensive experience in developing and enhancing global research networks involving both academic and industrial partners.

Peter Zandstra

Peter Zandstra

Chief Scientific Officer, CCRM
University of British Columbia

Peter Zandstra graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering degree from McGill University in the Department of Chemical Engineering, obtained his Ph.D. degree from the University of British Columbia (UBC) in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology and continued his research training as a Post Doctoral Fellow in the field of Bioengineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Peter is the Chief Scientific Officer for CCRM, the Founding Director of the School of Biomedical Engineering at UBC, and the Director of the Michael Smith Laboratories at UBC. Peter holds an academic appointment as a Professor at the University of Toronto’s Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering. Peter is the Canada Research Chair in Stem Cell Bioengineering and is a recipient of a number of awards and fellowships including the Premiers Research Excellence Award (2002), the E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fellowship (2006), the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship (2007), Canada’s Top 40 Under 40 (2008), the University of Toronto’s McLean Award (2009) and the Till and McCulloch Award (2013). Peter is also a fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Royal Society of Canada.

Peter’s research focuses on understanding how complex communication networks between stem cells and their progeny influence self-renewal and differentiation, and how this information can be applied to the design of novel culture technologies capable of controlling cell fate.

Michael May

Michael May

President & Chief Executive Officer

Dr. Michael May completed his PhD in Chemical Engineering at the University of Toronto in 1998 as an NSERC Scholar and was awarded the Martin Walmsley Fellowship for Technological Entrepreneurship.

He is President and Chief Executive Officer of CCRM. Prior to CCRM, Michael was the President and co-founder of Rimon Therapeutics Ltd., a Toronto-based tissue engineering company developing novel medical polymers that possess drug-like activity.

Michael sits on a number of boards and advisory committees including the Centre for the Commercialization of Antibodies and Biologics (CCAB); the Entrepreneurship Leadership Council at the University of Toronto; the TO Health! Human & Science Steering Committee; the Cell and Gene Therapy Insights, Editorial Advisory Board; the Industry Committee of the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR); and the Executive Committee, Alliance for Regenerative Medicine (ARM). He is the Chairman of the start-up company ExCellThera Ltd.

Reni Benjamin

Managing Director and Senior Biotechnology Analyst
JMP Securities

Dr. Reni Benjamin is a Managing Director and Senior Biotechnology Analyst at JMP Securities. His coverage consists of small/mid-cap biotechnology companies in the oncology sector. Dr. Benjamin has previously been ranked for recommendation performance and earnings accuracy by StarMine, cited in the Wall Street Journal, Business Week, Financial Times, and Smart Money, and has made appearances on Bloomberg television/radio and CNBC. He has authored a chapter in a book entitled “The Delivery of Regenerative Medicine and Their Impact on Healthcare”, was a member of the UAB School of Health Professions Deans Advisory Board, and presently serves on the Board of Directors of the Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine (CCRM) and on the Advisory Board for Phacilitate Cell & Gene Therapy.

Prior to joining JMP Securities, Dr. Benjamin was a Managing Director and Senior Biotechnology Analyst at Raymond James, H.C. Wainwright, Burrill Securities and Rodman & Renshaw. He earned his doctorate in Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics and his expertise includes biochemistry, functional genomics, gene therapy and molecular biology. Dr. Benjamin received his Ph.D. from the University of Alabama at Birmingha

Claudia Zylberberg

Founder & CEO
Akron Biotechnology

Claudia Zylberberg, Ph.D., is a leader in regenerative medicine. She is the founder and CEO of Akron Biotechnology, a leading developer and manufacturer of cGMP-grade ancillary materials and a purveyor of specialized services to cell and gene therapy developers, contract development and manufacturing organizations, and tissue engineering companies, among others. Under Dr. Zylberberg’s leadership, Akron has received grants from the Department of Defense (DoD) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), as well as two Manufacturing USA Institutes, the National Institute for Innovation in Manufacturing Biopharmaceuticals (NIIMBL) and the Advanced Regenerative Manufacturing Institute (ARMI). She also co-founded AssureImmune, an adult stem cell bank. Dr. Zylberberg has developed various patented and patent-pending technologies, including cryopreservation media, oligonucleotides, and recombinant protein formulations, and has coauthored numerous academic articles in high-impact publications.

Dr. Zylberberg has engaged in several multi-stakeholder initiatives to formalize and strengthen the regenerative medicine industry. She co-founded the Standards Coordinating Body (SCB) and has supported the development of critical standards promoted by International Organization for Standardization (ISO). She holds advisory positions at the International Society for Cellular Therapy (ISCT), the Alliance for Regenerative Medicine (ARM) Foundation, the Florida Organization for Regenerative Medicine (FORM), and the National Academy of Science’s (NAS) Regenerative Medicine Forum, among others.

Joan Sheehan

Vice President, Sales
STEMCELL Technologies


Joan Sheehan joined STEMCELL in 1993 and since then has built and managed a number of different functions across the company including Product and Scientific Support, Education, Customer Service, Distribution, Marketing and Sales. Joan has been instrumental in growing revenue from $1 million to $300 million over the past 26 years and has been responsible for setting up all of STEMCELL Technologies’ international offices. She currently manages a global team of over 300 highly trained scientific staff which includes the global Sales, Product & Scientific Support and Education teams.

Michael Nobrega


Chair, Board of Directors
Ontario Centres of Excellence, Canada

Michael Nobrega has been Chair of the Board of Directors of Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) since 2012, previously serving as a member since 2007. He is former President and CEO of the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System (OMERS), one of Canada’s largest pension plans with more than $95 billion in assets. In mid-2014, Mr. Nobrega was appointed to chair of the Expert Panel on the restructuring and refinancing of the 750,000 square feet of the MaRS West Tower in the MaRS Discovery District in Toronto. He was also appointed by the provincial government as chair of the Expert Panel on the refurbishment of the 1.2 Million square feet MacDonald block in downtown Toronto. A veteran financial and investment executive with more than 30 years’ experience, he previously served as President and CEO of OMERS’ wholly owned subsidiary, Borealis Infrastructure Management Inc., an investment entity that originated and structured infrastructure investments for the OMERS pension fund. Prior to Borealis, Mr. Nobrega was a tax partner at Arthur Andersen, a major international accounting firm.
Mr. Nobrega holds an Honours BA from the University of Toronto. He also holds a chartered accountancy designation from the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario and the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants. In 2009 Mr. Nobrega was named a Fellow of the Institute by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario.

Donna Wall

Donna Wall

Section Head, Blood and Marrow Transplant/Cellular Therapy
The Hospital for Sick Children

Dr. Wall is currently leading the Blood and Marrow Transplant/Cellular Therapy Section at SickKids/University of Toronto. She is experienced in transplantation for treatment of cancer, immune and hematologic disorders – establishing programs in St. Louis and San Antonio. Her research is focused on improving the outcomes of children undergoing transplant through a better understanding of the intersection of the immune and hematologic systems. She leads or is involved in a range of clinical trials and translational research in hematopoietic stem cell transplant and cellular and gene therapy. Dr. Wall holds the Garron Family/Hats off to Kidz Chair in childhood leukemia research.

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Sven Kili

Sven Kili

Sven Kili Consulting Ltd.

Dr. Sven Kili is Principal at Sven Kili Consulting Ltd. where he provides specialist strategic consulting services to innovative cell and gene therapy companies. His clients include small and medium sized companies from formation through to clinical development and commercialisation. He was previously the Head of Development for the Cell and Gene Therapy division of GSK Rare Diseases where he led teams developing and commercialising exvivo gene therapies for a variety of rare genetic disorders including Strimvelis®, the first ex-vivo gene therapy to be approved for children with ADA-SCID; Wiskott – Aldrich syndrome (WAS); Metachromatic Leukodystrophy (MLD) and Beta-Thalassemia. Prior to this, he was Senior Director, Cell Therapy and Regenerative Medicine for Sanofi (Genzyme) Biosurgery where he led the clinical development, approval and commercialization activities of the first combined ATMP approval in the EU for MACI®. He and his team also prepared and submitted advanced therapy regulatory filings for Australia and the US, including health technology assessments, and he was responsible for late stage developments for Carticel® and Epicel® in the US.

Before joining Genzyme, Sven led the cell therapy activities and oversaw all UK and Irish regulatory functions and was the QPPV for pharmacovigilance for the Geistlich Pharma. Sven trained as an Orthopaedic surgeon in the UK and South Africa and since leaving full-time clinical practise has developed expertise in cell and gene therapy in clinical development, regulatory compliance, value creation, risk management and product safety, product launches and post-marketing activities. He is on the board of CCRM in Canada; Xintela, a Swedish Stem Cell company, the SAB for LGC Corporation and is the chair of the CGTAC as part of the UK BIA and a Board member of the Standards Co-ordinating Body for Regenerative Medicine. Most recently, Sven was appointed as Chair of the UCL course “Masters in Manufacture and Commercialisation of Stem Cell and Gene Therapies” steering committee. Additionally, he still maintains his clinical skills in the UK NHS and serves as an ATLS Instructor in his spare time.

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Dianne Carmichael

Diane Carmichael

President & CEO
Carmichael Worldwide Inc., Canada

Business Lecturer
DeGroote School of Business

With over 25 years of extensive executive management and start up experience, Dianne has had the opportunity to work in four distinct industries – Consumer Packaged Goods, Technology, Financial Services and Healthcare. She has been involved in multi-national, entrepreneurial and growth companies, rising to President and CEO in two of those industries.

In 2004, Dianne’s father was diagnosed with cancer, affecting her profoundly. This led to a major shift in her career and personal focus. Dianne chose to make a difference in the lives of Canadians stricken with profound illness by advocating and championing for patients, contributing to the highest quality of care in Canada and working to transform the health care system through disruptive innovation.

As the former President of Best Doctors Canada, she is credited with growing a strong consumer movement and market for remote second opinion and healthcare navigation services, resulting in Best Doctors becoming one of the most sought after employee benefits. With Dianne’s leadership, Best Doctors Canada now makes a difference in the lives of over 5 million Canadians and 40 million globally – changing diagnosis 22% of the time and modifying treatment 61% based on tens of thousands of second opinions. In addition to her role as President, Dianne helped drive the global branding and go-to-market effort of the Best Doctors organization, which operates in 30+ countries worldwide.

In 2012, Dianne was appointed Founder & President of UHN Solutions at UHN (Toronto General Hospital, Toronto Western Hospital, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre & Toronto Rehab Hospitals).  Her role at UHN Solutions combined her passion for patient advocacy and empowerment with her belief that unique funding models can be created to help feed Canada’s universal healthcare eco-system – ultimately enhancing the quality of care for all Canadians. She was a member of the Executive Team and International Business Committee Member.

In 2014 Dianne was acting CEO of a digital health technology startup, taking it from ideation to MVP and contracts in the US and Canada within 6 months.

Prior to her leadership roles in the healthcare industry, Dianne created and spearheaded Worldsource Wealth Management (a subsidiary of publicly-traded Guardian Capital Group Ltd.) where she was Chairman and CEO. While overseeing four operations nationally – with three reporting Presidents and 1,200 employees and Advisors – Dianne, grew Worldsource Wealth Management to more than $8 billion in AUA.

Before taking the helm at Worldsource, Dianne was with TD Waterhouse where she was promoted to Vice-President. She built, and later sold, one of the largest individual investment advisory practices, focused exclusively on sophisticated investors.

Earlier in her career, Dianne held progressively more senior sales and marketing management roles at leading consumer packaged goods organizations including Procter & Gamble, Gillette, RJReynolds-Nabisco and in technology organizations such as Memorex-Telex.

Dianne is currently a Board Member at Holland-Bloorview Kid’s Rehabilitation Hospital and The Patient Canada and is Co-Chair of Operation Smile Canada Gala.  Dianne also sits on the Advisory Boards of CAPCH (Canadian Association of People-Centred Health), ARC (academic e-health research collaborative), York University’s Faculty Heath. Dianne is a Business Lecturer at McMaster University’s DeGroote School of Business.

As an international keynote speaker and expert panelist, Dianne has spoken at podiums such as The Economic Club. She writes for the Huffington Post, PolicyMatters, and Health & Lifestyle Magazine. Dianne has been interviewed extensively about healthcare, innovation, leadership and branding in the media and on television, including the Globe and Mail, BNN, SunMedia TV, The Charles Adler Show and CBC.  She has been profiled twice on the cover of Women’s Post Magazine and interviewed for FIND YOUR GREAT WORK, a series highlighting major international leaders who have made significant contributions to society and business.

Dianne is a member of two CEO groups – TEC (The Executive Committee) and IWF (International Women’s Forum), which represents 6,500 female CEOs globally.

Dianne holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Waterloo.  She also holds a 3-year Business Diploma in Marketing, and various investment industry designations including CIM1, PFP, CSC Honours, CPH, and Officers and Directors.

In 2009, Dianne was recognized as one of the Top 20 Business Women in Canada, she has been nominated for Entrepreneur of the Year and was profiled as one of the Top Women to Watch in 2012. Schulich School of Business profiled her amongst the Top 100 Business Leaders in Canada.  She was recognized one of Canada’s Top Women Transforming Health Care 2015.

Dianne’s dream is to drive disruptive innovation that will positively impact healthcare, leading to sustainable, consumer-centred transformation.

Guided by this dream, Dianne founded Carmichael Worldwide Inc. in 2011 to provide executive leadership, innovation, commercialization while bringing digital health and consumer health & wellness solutions. The focus is on helping dynamic healthcare and wellness organizations whose mandates include enhancing the quality of patient care, enhancing the patient experience or impacting system sustainability through disruptive innovation, technology, delivery systems or unique funding models.

In 2015 Dianne was appointed Managing Director, Health Innovation & Ventures at MaRS Discovery District, North America’s largest Urban Innovation Hub. In this role, she hopes to exponentially impact health care globally by helping to scale Canada’s most innovative health ventures – driving innovation and economic advantage – with those digital technologies poised for global impact.

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