Dec. 12, 2022

Meet graduates of the Life Sciences Fellowship

Explore new life science technologies including plant protein, virtual reality teaching methods, medical surgical devices and games that promote child health
Meet graduates of UCalgary’s Life Sciences Fellowship
Neil Christensen worked with Omar Damji and Ganesh Vasudevan, Vital XR, in the Life Sciences Fellowship. Haley Martin, Advancement

Research can transform the landscape of our lives and Innovate Calgary, the University of Calgary, Alberta Innovates and other partners are committed to supporting entrepreneurs, inventors and innovators on their entrepreneurial journey to make that happen. Meet the most recent graduating cohort of the Life Sciences Fellowship, learn more about their startups and engage with some of the industry's most impressive advances in life science technology. Register

Activated by Innovate Calgary, the Life Sciences Fellowship runs out of the University of Calgary’s Life Sciences Innovation Hub and is supported by generous contributions from Alberta Innovates and Calgary Economic Development’s Opportunity Calgary Investment Fund.

The Life Sciences Fellowship program takes early-stage startups with technology-driven solutions to important problems and adds funding, technology development resources, professional development training and expert support. The program helps innovation-focused talent gain the range of skills and experience they need to be successful in launching and growing companies, while expanding the entrepreneurial ecosystem that drives impact for Albertans.

“We are surrounded by extraordinary, hard-working and resilient technical experts and the world-class research they create. The Life Sciences Fellowship provides a unique combination of startup support to generate real-world impact from this research and to keep this extraordinary talent in the province,” says Jane Desrochers, senior innovation manager and project lead for the Life Sciences Fellowship.

“Having supported each founder for two years as they work tirelessly on their products and business, it is exciting to invite the broader innovation ecosystem to see the fruition of their work so far.”

Adds Nicole Mardis, director of health innovation talent, Alberta Innovates: “People are our province’s greatest strength. Through the Life Sciences Fellowship program, we are attracting, developing, and engaging talented people in a double win: addressing unmet health needs, while creating economic opportunity.

“It is truly thrilling to watch the growth and success of participating fellows!” Mardis says.

Meet the researchers looking to make global impact and check out their tech on Dec 16. 


AgGene genetically modified rice.

Logan Skori

Logan Skori

Logan Skori, AgGene

AgGene is an agriculture biotechnology company focused on the development of plant traits to address major challenges faced during crop production such as drought tolerance, pest control and improving general food quality. AgGene's flagship technology addresses the demand for improving protein content in plant tissues using advanced genomics and molecular plant breeding techniques including gene-editing.  At the event, you will  see AgGene's process of creating genetically engineered plants with displays of their GMO rice varieties and their first crop of genome-edited plants (canola, arabidopsis) using their proprietary gene-editing platform. 

The Cloud Bazaar.

The Cloud Bazaar.

Geoff Frost

Geoff Frost

Geoff Frost, Raft Digital Therapeutics

Raft Digital Therapeutics is changing the way people living with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) engage with therapeutic exercise. Their newly launched platform takes repetitive therapeutic exercise and turns it into a fun game with an engaging story. Players get to compete and connect via a global leaderboard. Attendees will get to play the game meant to support kids with SMA. Come out, experience the joy of movement through a series of therapeutic exercises while exploring the fictional world of The Cloud Bazaar. 

Neil Christensen

Neil Christensen

Neil Christensen, Vital XR

Using mixed reality, 3D printing, and expert-guided teaching algorithms, Vital XR aims to improve the medical training experience for medical practitioners by simulating experiences in a variety of locations and clinical processes. Attendees will examine an anatomically correct mannequin with real-life scale, movement, and weight, with a short AR/VR experience showing how simulated virtual environments mix with the real-world and can level up training. 



Alex Chee

Alex Chee

Alex Chee, Smart Biomedical  

Smart Biomedical is creating life-saving medical devices to treat collapsed lungs. Through a combination of greater depth control and built-in cavity recognition, their initial product — Smart Drain — is designed to make chest tube insertion quicker, safer, and easier. Attendees will be able to test out their first prototype of Smart Drain with the help of the inventors. 

Supported by Alberta Innovates, Alberta Ministry of Jobs, Economy and Innovation, Calgary Economic Development’s Opportunity Calgary Investment Fund and Western Economic Diversification (PrairiesCan), the Life Sciences Fellowship program takes early-stage startups with technology-driven solutions to important problems and adds funding, technology development resources, professional development training and expert support.

The Life Sciences Innovation Hub is managed by Innovate Calgary and supports research-intensive companies to deliver commercially viable products and services to market, by providing access to world-class infrastructure, expertise, and startup services.

Innovate Calgary is the innovation transfer and business incubator centre for the University of Calgary. As part of the Office of the Vice-President (Research) portfolio and as a member of the UCalgary innovation ecosystem, we work closely with researchers, faculty, and students to help bridge the gap between discovery and creating economic and societal impact. We do this by going beyond traditional technology transfer services to include focused startup support programs and services for research-intensive companies.