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SCI Accelerate Mentors
Dr. Keirstead is the Chairman and CEO of AIVITA Biomedical, and an internationally known stem cell expert and serial entrepreneur who has led therapy development for cancer, immune disorders, motor neuron diseases, spinal cord injury and retinal diseases. He has founded four successful biotechnology companies and holds Board positions in several prominent biotechnology companies. Dr. Keirstead was a full Professor at the University of California, Irvine where he founded, directed and erected a building for the UCI Stem Cell Research Center. He was a founding advisor of the California Stem Cell Initiative that resulted in a $3 billion stem cell fund (CIRM). Dr. Keirstead received his PhD in neuroscience from the University of British Columbia, and received the Cameron Award for outstanding PhD thesis. He has been a long-time advisor to several governments on biomedical policy and received the distinct honor of election as Senate Member of the University of Cambridge and Fellow of the Governing Body of Downing College, being the youngest member to have been elected to those positions.
Dr. Kalmar spent 12 years supporting the strategic goals for Genome BC. He has taken on roles as the Executive Director of Operations, Vice President of Sector Development, and Vice President of Entrepreneurship and Commercialization. He is a mentor at Creative Destruction Labs, Entrepreneur in Residence for entrepreneurship@UBC and Innovation Boulevard, and is also on the board of companies including MRMProteomics and HeadCheck Health. Dr. Kalmar holds a BSc in Biochemistry and MSc in Virology from the University of British Columbia, and received his PhD in Virology from Simon Fraser University.
Allyson is an experienced investor, entrepreneur, and community builder. She is a co-founder of Amplitude Ventures and previous investor at the BDC Healthcare Fund. She brings an extensive background as a former medical device entrepreneur and biotechnology commercialization advisor passionate about creating, building, and growing world class healthcare companies in Canada and also serves as a mentor at Creative Destruction Labs. In addition, Allyson’s research and early career was focused on spinal cord injury, ranging from basic science to rehabilitation and quality of life.
Dr. Granville brings with him a wealth of experience in research, innovation and commercialization. He is a professor in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of British Columbia (UBC). He is also a scholar of the Royal Society of Canada and former Canada Research Chair and Canada Top 40 Under 40 recipient. His recent research has led to the formation of the UBC-spin-off company, viDA Therapeutics of which he is a Founder and Chief Scientific Officer. Dr. Granville previously worked at QLT, where his R&D studies supported the approval of Visudyne® to be used as the first treatment for macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in the elderly. In 1999, Visudyne® was approved by the FDA—the largest ophthalmic product release in history.
Jennifer is the cross-sector innovation lead for Johnson & Johnson in Canada. She has additionally worked with the J&J Global Community Impact team on a new initiative to test Impact Investing in global health where she is seeking healthcare investments worldwide that have social impact and financial return enabling scaling of technology and services in ultra-low resource settings. Prior to working with J&J, Jennifer spent 17 years in biotech venture capital at Nomura Phase4 Ventures and Rothschild Asset Management.
Jennifer has an MSc and a PhD in Experimental Pathology/Lipid Metabolism from the University of British Columbia and a BSc from the University of Guelph.
Yasmine is a highly accomplished business executive with a 15-year track record in corporate strategy and acquisitions. She is known for her ability to create major growth strategies through new market penetration and industry roll-ups.
As a business strategist in the healthcare, gaming and technology industries, her expertise includes capacity building, P3 partnerships, and commercialization of data including intellectual property royalties and knowledge translation. Yasmine is credited as a visionary for the growth and evolution of the healthcare industry in Canada as evidenced by accolades from the Healthcare Leaders of Canada and the Certified Health Executives (CHE). Her clients include BC Children’s Hospital, St. Paul’s Hospital, the Ministry of Health among several private healthcare companies.
Brock is a Co-Founder and Senior Lawyer at Whiteboard Law Corporation. He has over 20 years’ experience in providing strategic advice to a wide variety of technology and general corporate clients of all sizes on all aspects of their business, including business formation, technology licensing and commercialization transactions, financing transactions, mergers & acquisitions and outsourcing transactions. Since 2012, Brock has been recognized as one of the Best Lawyers in Canada in the area of Information Technology Law, a distinction awarded based on peer review and selection.
For over 10 years, Brock was an adjunct professor at the University of British Columbia’s Allard School of Law where he taught a class on solicitor’s practice skills and ethics. He is also a frequent guest lecturer of the Law Society of British Columbia’s Professional Legal Training Course on a variety of corporate and commercial topics. He often presents seminars on information technology and corporate finance topics for technology entrepreneurs and their companies.
Bruce is a seasoned health technology expert. Mr. Schmidt operates a private consulting practice in Vancouver focused on technology and development within the life sciences sector. He is one of the founding directors of Genome BC, has founded two biotechnology companies and has served as a board member on numerous life sciences and venture organizations.
Jordan Gutierrez is the COO of Wishpond, a B2B business that builds complete marketing funnels that get leads and customers for eCommerce businesses. He started his business career on the streets of Mexico City and has now helped Wishpond grow into a 120 person company. Jordan now focuses on the operations of Wishpond and most importantly, pivoting to the wants of its customers to continue to provide the products and services they need to grow their own businesses. Jordan also started laleo.com, the largest medical ecommerce site in Mexico.
Michael Bidu is the Founder and CEO of INTERFACE Health, the world’s first virtual global digital health accelerator based in Vancouver, BC. The accelerator is a global platform and business community that connects 5,300+ members, 1,200+ organizations from 20+ countries; a global challenge “the Olympics of digital health innovation” that discovers the world’s best innovators, an online showcase for Canadian digital health products and services and an annual global digital health summit that inspires, educates and shares ideas about innovation and the future of health.
Michael is a serial entrepreneur with eight start-ups under his belt and 30 years of experience in technology, innovation, business and creativity. He is an award-winning marketer. Since 2007 he mentored, advised and judged more than 300 startups in web, wireless, digital media and digital health.