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Our guest speakers

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Milica Radisic

Biomedical Engineering and Chemical Engineering Professor at the University of Toronto

Milica Radisic is a biomedical engineering and chemical engineering professor at the U of T, a Canada research chair in Organ-on-a-chip engineering, and a senior investigator at the functional tissue engineering laboratory. Milica's work with organ-on-a-chip engineering has leveraged technologies such as Bioware, AngioChip, and the inVADE platform to offer foundations to the organ-on-a-chip engineering sector, emphasizing Microfabrication and 3D Printing. As part of her additional study on Peptide modified materials for regenerative medicine, Milica is also working on an anti-inflammatory treatment for covid19 using hydrogels and small compounds based on the Peptide. Milica is continuously recognized for her contributions to advancing research outcomes in engineering, biology, and chemistry, in addition to her contributions to medicine on COVID-19.

Julie Claycomb

Molecular Genetics Professor at

University of Toronto

Julie Claycomb is a molecular genetics associate professor at the U of T, a Canada research chair Tier 2 in small RNA biology, and an associate editor for GENETICS. Julie's research on molecular genetics has focused on how gene expression throughout animal development can be regulated through small RNA pathways related to microNAS and RNA, using molecular mechanisms to achieve this. Julie is currently interested in discovering how short RNA pathways in the body contribute to fertility and transgenerational epigenetic inheritance, as well as how small RNAs might be used to communicate between tissues and organisms. Julie is frequently recognized for her contributions to the advancement of research outcomes in molecular genetics, gene control and expression, bioinformatics, and computational biology.

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Stephanie Zhou

Sunnybrook Hospital Addiction Medicine Physician 

Stephanie Zhou is a Sunnybrook Hospital Addiction Medicine physician and the Department Lead in EDI & Social Accountability. She serves on the Financial Aid Committee at the University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine and oversees the development of the Financial Literacy Curriculum. Stephanie's scholarly interests include socioeconomic gaps in educational access, student financial education and career planning, and mentoring of equity-seeking groups.

Stephanie has previously worked as a consultant for Health Quality Ontario and the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program, where she implemented psychosocial screening for clinic patients, resulting in increased waiting room retention.

Stephanie has received honours for her contributions to her area, including the Gordon Cressy Leadership Award and the Albert & Rose Jong Award at the University of Toronto, and she has been named as one of Canada's top 100 most influential women. 
 

Diana Vazquez Romo

Data Engineer

Diana has followed her interests in software and data engineering since graduating from Princeton University in 2019, where she earned a Bachelor of Computer Science. She began her professional career as a software engineer at IBM, where she worked for a term in the mainframe compilers team at the IBM Software Lab. Diana worked as a data engineer at Synctera for a year beginning in 2021, where she maintained and improved their data pipeline. In addition, she increased data documentation, data integrity and quality testing, as well as warning methods.
Diana works as a data engineer at Bell Media, where she has created and maintained production-level pipelines that transport client data into the Google Cloud warehouse. With Bell, she has utilized data-building tools such as BigQuery, Google Cloud Platform, and Terraform.
Diana has also been recognized for her successes in data engineering, as she has been designated as a Google Cloud Certified Professional Data Engineer.

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Julie Claveau

Astrophysics - Canadian Space Agency 

​Julie has continued to pursue her interests in Physics and Astronomy since graduating from the University of Victoria.
She began her professional career as a Naval Combat Information Officer for the Canadian Armed Forces before becoming a Maritime Surface and Sub-Surface Officer, where she managed and directed maritime strategy in the operation of ships, submarines, and aircraft, as well as maritime sensors, combat information, and weapons systems.
Julie went on to work for the Government of Canada for seven years, holding a variety of roles such as Finance Clerk and Property Management Assistant. Finally, Julie has worked as a Project Manager and Deputy Mission Manager at the Canadian Space Agency since 2016, where she was the mission manager for the James Webb Space Telescope. She is currently a Program Officer, where she has gave numerous keynote lectures about her work in astrophysics.
Julie has also been acknowledged for her accomplishments, including having received the Canadian Space Agency Excellence Award for Wellness, Diversity, and Inclusion.

Niloo Ravaei

Education Technology

Niloo has continued to pursue her interests in the intersection of technology and education since graduating from York University. After graduating, Niloo completed a lighthouse labs web development bootcamp, and then founded Clearco, which was one of the world's largest e-commerce investor, which provided equity free capital solutions to e-commerce businesses.
At Clearco, Niloo helped advance more than $3.2 billion to more than 7000 brands, including Public Goods, Soludos, and Monos. Niloo then served as a web development mentor, blockchain mentor, and blockchain instructor at lighthouse labs, as well as being a technical instructor and then the head of education at Blockgeeks.
In 2019, she co-founded Hello Iris, which helped people receive unique meditations tailored to understanding and breaking through their subconscious thought patterns, helping people transform relationships with stress and conflict. Niloo is currently a program director at The Knowledge Society (TKS).

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Jaime Leverton

CEO of Hut 8

Jaime Leverton is a tech veteran from Canada with more than two decades of experience in finance. Since December 2020, she has worked as the CEO of Hut 8, one of the largest publicly traded digital asset mining firms.

Leverton earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and political science from the University of Ottawa and went on to receive her Master of Business Administration from Dalhousie University in 2000. Before diving into cryptocurrency, Leverton worked in various senior executive roles at some of Canada’s most prominent tech firms, including eStruxture Data Centers, Cogeco Peer 1, National Bank, BlackBerry, Bell Canada and IBM Canada.

Hut 8 was founded in 2017 and provides high-performance computing, digital asset mining and miner repair services to support the Bitcoin mining community. It remains one of the largest public holders of BTC, with more than 8,000 BTC in its reserves. 

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Hossein Rahnama

Associate Professor, Media Production

Hossein Rahnama, PhD, is an Associate Professor in the RTA School of Media and is the Director of Research and Innovation at Toronto Met’s Digital Media Zone. Hossein is known as an R&D entrepreneur who can translate research results into high-impact commercial successes. His current work is focused on Context Aware Computing and Mobile Sensing. He is the author of several publications and patents in Ubiquitous Computing and an advocate of entrepreneurial education. He believes that Context Aware Computing can play a key role in connecting people and places to possibilities and as a result transforming societies in substantial and positive ways. Hossein is highlighted by the Smithsonian as one of the Top 6 Innovators to watch. In 2012, he was recognized by MIT Technology Review as one of the TR35s, a prestigious recognition of an annual list of the top 35 innovators in the world under the age of 35. In 2013, he was appointed to the Council of NSERC (Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada). In 2011, he won the Motorola GoldenIdea Innovation Award. In 2008, Hossein became the semi-finalist at Harvard Business School Business plan competition for their work in utilization of Context Aware computing services at airports.  Hossein has co-founded the Digital Media Zone, which is now the largest technology incubator in Canada. Prior to that, he was the VP of Research and Innovation at Appear Networks and was the Mobile Solutions Architect for Primus Telecommunications Europe back in 2005.

Geoffrey Hinton

Department of Computer Science 
University of Toronto

Geoffrey Hinton received his BA in Experimental Psychology from Cambridge in 1970 and his PhD in Artificial Intelligence from Edinburgh in 1978.  He did postdoctoral work at Sussex University and the University of California San Diego and spent five years as a faculty member in the Computer Science department at Carnegie-Mellon University. He then became a fellow of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research and moved to the Department of Computer Science at the University of Toronto. He spent three years from 1998 until 2001 setting up the Gatsby Computational Neuroscience Unit at University College London and then returned to the University of Toronto where he is now an emeritus distinguished professor. From 2004 until 2013 he was the director of the program on "Neural Computation and Adaptive Perception" which is funded by the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research. Since 2013 he has been working half-time for Google in Mountain View and Toronto.

 2022 Speakers

Michele Mosca

Co-founder of the Institute for Quantum Computing at the University of Waterloo, a Professor in the Department of Combinatorics & Optimization of the Faculty of Mathematics, founding member of Waterloo's Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics.

He obtained his doctorate in Mathematics in 1999 from Oxford on the topic of Quantum Computer Algorithms, an MSc in Mathematics and the Foundations of Computer Science in 1996 from Oxford. In 1995 he earned a BMath in Combinatorics & Optimization and Pure Mathematics from Waterloo. 

He is globally recognized for his drive to help academia, industry and government prepare our cyber systems to be safe in an era with quantum computers. Dr. Mosca’s awards and honours include Fellow of the Institute for Combinatorics and its Applications (since 2000), 2010 Canada's Top 40 Under 40, Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal (2013), SJU Fr. Norm Choate Lifetime Achievement Award (2017), and a Knighthood (Cavaliere) in the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic (2018).

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Nicola Von Schroeter

Senior Product Director at Candeal Inc. 

Currently consulting for early stage start-ups seeking to build out their core value proposition and "go to market "commercial strategy.  Most notable experience was Founding Managing Partner responsible for Global Commercial Partnerships for IHSMarkit (just acquired by Standard & Poors). Previously worked at Morgan Stanley in European Equities Electronic Trading/Analytics Services (London/Europe); Bloomberg Financial in Sales/Sales Management (London/Europe); Dow Jones Telerate in Regional Marketing/Product Management in Hong Kong.  Holds a Post-Graduate-Equivalent Degree in Asian Management Studies from Capilano College, Vancouver; Bachelor of Commerce (Honors) from Queen's University in Kingston, Canada.

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Dr. Zhu Wang

Researcher at Future Reality Lab of Computer Science Department, New York University

Dr. Zhu Wang is a Post-doctoral Researcher at Future Reality Lab of Computer Science Department, New York University. His research includes Human-Computer Interaction and Machine Learning, in which he focuses on Virtual-Reality-based human balance assessment and rehabilitation with motion analysis, eye-tracking, and force-sensing technologies.

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John Ruffolo

Founder and Managing Partner of Maverix Private Equity, Founder of OMERS Ventures and Co-Founder and Vice Chair of the Council of Canadian Innovators.

In 2014, John was recognized as Canada’s #1 of 100 Most Powerful Business People by Canadian Business Magazine (#3 in 2015) and was selected as one of Toronto’s 50 Most Influential People by Toronto Life (#16 in 2015, #40 in 2016, #26 in 2017).

 

In 2018, John was honoured with the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic, making him a fifth Class Knight. John Ruffolo is the Founder and Managing Partner of Maverix Private Equity, a private equity firm focused on technology-enabled growth and disruption investment strategies.

Over the course of his leadership as the CEO of OMERS Ventures, they invested over USD$500 million in over 40 disruptive technology companies across North America, including growth investments in Shopify, Xanadu, Wattpad, Wave, Hootsuite, Rover, Desire 2 Learn, Hopper, DuckDuckGo, TouchBistro and League.

 

During his tenure at OMERS, John also formed OMERS Platform Investments, and as its Executive Managing Director, he led investments in Purpose Financial, PointNorth Capital, District Ventures, OneEleven and ArcTern Ventures. John co-founded the Council of Canadian Innovators with Jim Balsillie, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping high-growth Canadian technology firms scale globally.

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