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  • PTC

Trek Into Biotech

From January 30th to the 31st, PTC Toronto held their first conference ever conference virtually on biotechnology. Roughly 100 registrants were invited to attend keynote sessions from leading researchers and biotechnology titans, ask guest speakers any questions, and attend workshops from current students studying biotechnology related programs.


Day 1

Keynote Speaker #1

Prof Elaine Biddiss

Elaine Biddiss University of Toronto Professor, and researcher at Holland Bloorview started off Trek into Biotech with a keynote presentation on her research based on therapeutic games like bootle blast, screenplay, and bootle band. Professor Biddiss also discussed how she designs innovative technologies that create possibilities for young people with disabilities to participate more enjoyably and effectively in arts, music, physical activities and therapies.

Keynote Speaker #2

Daniella Lato

Daniella Lato, a PhD candidate at McMaster studying bioinformatics provided an in depth presentation about bioinformatics and the intersection of technology and life science and biology. Ms. Lato also gave students resources on how they can jumpstart their careers as bioinformaticians and shared insights on life as a PhD student as well as useful tips for current high school students.

Technical Workshop #1

Led by Cassidy Rose

Cassidy Rose a biomedical engineering student at Ryerson University. She put together a workshop on Biomedical Equipment and Prosthetic Design. Afterwards she answered several questions about being a biomedical engineering student and gave all participants some tips for the future if they decide to pursue biomedical engineering!

Technical WOrkshop #2

Led by Amin Noorani

Amin Noorani is a bioinformatician and he ran an introductory workshop on Bioinformatics. After going through the basics of bioinformatics he lead a step by step tutorial on bioinformatics analysis using BLAST, a software popular in the bioinformatics industry.

Technical Workshop #3

Led by Salma Abdelrahman

Salma Abdelrahman, a Chemical and Bioengineering student at McMaster university ran a workshop on DNA analysis. In her workshop she discussed how DNA is examined and modified to solve different problems in the pharmaceutical and food industry. Afterwards, she ran an experiment that allowed participants to separate the DNA of a fruit at home!


Day 2

Undergraduate Panel Session

with Various Undergraduate students studying Biotechnology related majors

Starting off our second day of the conference was a Q&A panel session where the Trek into Biotech audience asked questions regarding life lessons, undergraduate programs and applications, university life, and future research and growth. The panelists consisted of:

  • Liam Bell, a 4th year Biomedical Engineering student studying at Ryerson University. Liam is also Co-founder at a health tech diabetes related start-up company called Glucose Vision, and he is the Co-President of Tetra Ryerson, a student group creating assistive devices for individuals with disabilities.

  • Dunja Matic, an 4th year Engineering Science student specializing in biomedical systems studying at University of Toronto. Dunja has been a student researcher at SickKids, King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi, Toronto Rehabilitation Institute and she has interned at Neurovine as a biomedical engineering intern. She is also the academic outreach director for CUBE: Club for Undergraduate Biomedical Engineering

  • Jay Tailor, a 5th year Biomedical Engineering student studying at Ryerson University. Jay is also VP of Operations of the Biomedical Course Union, VP of Communications of the IEEE EMBS Ryerson Chapter.

  • Cassidy Rose, a 3rd year Biomedical Engineering student studying at Ryerson University. She is also a research assistant within the Kolios Lab Group in the department of physics and has received two NSERC undergraduate student research awards.

  • Aurora Selim, a 3rd year Biotechnology student at McMaster University. She’s also involved in the Bachelor of Technology Association and is a women in engineering mentor for first year undergraduate students in her faculty.

  • Sharon Cai, a 2nd year Integrated Biomedical Engineering and Health Sciences student in the Mechatronics stream at McMaster University. She’s also involved in the Medical Markers Club as Co-lead and team member where they create and use low-cost technologies to save lives, time, and money.

  • Salma Abdelrahman, a 3rd year Chemical and Bioengineering student studying at McMaster university. Salma is passionate about the intersection of biochemistry and technology and she is also a Chemical engineering representative within the McMaster engineering society.

  • Michael Shulman, a 4th year Biomedical Engineering student studying at Ryerson University. Michael is extremely passionate about leveraging his engineering expertise and aims to revolutionize the future of medicine. He’s also held research and intern positions within the institute for biomedical engineering, science and technology, Marx Biotechnology Ltd, St, Michaels Hospital International Centre for Surgical Safety, and is the founder of Biomed-IN, Ryerson and Unity Health Toronto’s largest annual biomedical networking night.

Industry Panel Session

with Andrew Casey and Esha Joshi

Following up our undergraduate panel was an industry Q&A panel session where the Trek into Biotech audience asked questions regarding growth areas in the biotechnology industry, how to set yourself apart professionally, and things they do to keep improving even during this pandemic.

  • Andrew Casey as President & CEO of BIOTECanada Andrew is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Association. In this capacity, he is the primary spokesperson for Canada’s biotech industry communicating on the industry’s behalf with government, regulators, international bodies, media and the Canadian public. He also ensures BIOTECanada plays a central role in partnership with the Government in the development of policy relating to Canada’s biotech sector and the member companies of BIOTECanada.

  • Esha Joshi is a Bioinformatics Analyst working at the BioComputing Centre at Public Health Ontario, currently focused on COVID-19 genomics. She has a Masters in Genomics from UofT and is interested in innovating within genomics at the intersection of bioinformatics and software development.

Technical Workshop #4

Led by Aurora Selim

Aurora Selim, our Biotechnology Undergraduate student, returned back to host a fingerprinting technology workshop. Her workshop went in depth into the procedure and science behind fingerprinting and afterwards the audience unpacked what they just learned and solved several different cases involving different fingerprinting technology scenarios.

Technical Workshop #5

Led by Jay Tailor

Jay Tailor, one of the Ryerson Biomedical Engineering students from our undergraduate panel, came back to host a workshop on Biomedical Signals titled “Signals in the Body”. After his wonderful and insightful presentation Jay tested our audience on a few different scenarios and what signal processing would make the most sense for each.


With that, Trek into Biotech came to an end - thanks to everyone who came out to support!

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