Federal innovation, science and industry minister Navdeep Bains congratulated the Medicine by Design community on its successes and affirmed the government’s commitment to science “as the foundation of innovation” at the regenerative medicine initiative’s annual research symposium on Tuesday.
“Your research will have a transformational impact on how we treat many common diseases, such as stroke, diabetes and liver failure, creating better health outcomes for all Canadians,” Bains said in a video message to the audience of 350 researchers, students, and industry and government representatives who gathered at the MaRS Discovery District. “As the minister responsible for science and innovation, I look forward to working with the medical science sector to help Canadians live healthier lives and push the boundaries of innovation.”
Bains highlighted the federal government’s support of the University of Toronto’s (U of T) Medicine by Design initiative through a $114-million grant from the Canada First Research Excellence Fund, and pointed to the 2018 budget as “the biggest reinvestment in fundamental research in Canadian history.”
The symposium, which marked the mid-point of Medicine by Design’s seven-year federal grant, focused on the role of technology in advancing biological insights and driving innovation, and celebrated the new portfolio of cross-disciplinary, cross-institutional projects the initiative announced in October. Speakers included high-profile international experts in regenerative medicine and cell therapy, including: Nancy Allbritton a professor of bioengineering at the University of Washington; Joseph Gold, senior director of manufacturing at the Center for Biomedicine & Genetics at City of Hope in California; and Dr. Markus Grompe, a professor at Oregon Health & Science University.
“Medicine by Design perfectly reflects our belief that it is at the convergence of cross-disciplinary excellence that the next truly game-changing discoveries in research and innovation will take place,” said Professor Vivek Goel, vice-president of research and innovation, and strategic initiatives at U of T. “And it is a flagship example of the types of strategic, cross-divisional initiatives the University of Toronto will continue to build.” These initiatives also include PRiME, a precision medicine initiative, and the Schwartz Reisman Institute for Technology and Society.
“There are very few universities in the world where these kinds of initiatives can take flight, and U of T is one of them,” Goel added.
“The success we have achieved at Medicine by Design has been made possible in large part to the tremendous efforts of the federal government and the Canada First Research Excellence Fund,” said Michael Sefton, executive director of Medicine by Design, and a University Professor at the Institute of Biomaterials & Biomedical Engineering (IBBME), and the Michael E. Charles Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering & Applied Chemistry at U of T. “As we advance our research agenda, we are positioning these breakthrough discoveries to have the greatest impact on patients.”