Each week Taproot brings together the latest on the research, technology, companies and people changing health and healthcare for the better in Edmonton. If you have a suggestion for a future edition of the roundup, send it to hello@taprootedmonton.ca for consideration.

Here are some highlights from this week’s Health Innovation Roundup:

Local headlines

  • Tech solutions for mental health challenges were among the winners at the ATB Transformation’s datathon. Data scientists could choose to tackle one of three themes: mental wellness, precision agriculture, and a customer of “one.”
    • The second place, $5,000 winning team “The Infusers” — two University of Alberta students and a recent graduate — came up with a mental health program to tackle the issue of physician burnout. The problem of burnout can lead to depression, suicide for doctors and a low quality of care or mistakes being made that can impact patients.
  • Alberta Innovates announced the most recent recipients of the Strategic Research Project Program, which has funded 29 projects with $20.9 million, which included several University of Alberta projects in the field of health, including:
    • A project led by Larry Unsworth studying advanced materials for precision health in dialysis;
      Research led by Greg Korbutt to develop a novel nano-engineered device for clinical islet transplantation;
    • A genetically-encoded technology to map the human glycome led by Ratmir Derda; and
    • Pharmocogenomics for preventing adverse drug reactions in mental health led by Katherine Aitchison.
  • Covenant Health profiled the made-in-Edmonton device Mobili-T, which helps survivors of neck and throat cancers swallow through a small device that they can use in the home, rather than relying on the current therapy device at a clinic.
    • Dysphagia, a common disorder that results from cancer surgery and treatment, impacts patients’ ability to swallow.
  • Concordia University of Edmonton (CUE) and Health City are teaming up to combine applied artificial intelligence with community-driven health initiatives to train students in an incubator space.
    • “We know the development of talent to drive the new health economy in our region is crucial,” Health City CEO Reg Joseph said in a news release. “Concordia University of Edmonton has developed unique opportunities for their students and for entrepreneurs in the health and life sciences that will directly translate to industry. We’re pleased to be collaborating with them on a framework for this kind of long-term university-community partnership.”
    • The agreement will increase the amount of research done at CUE. “Concordia University of Edmonton is proud to be partnering with Health City on this MOU that will enhance our contribution to the health ecosystem in Edmonton in a number of important ways,” said CUE president Tim Loreman.


You’ll have to travel for:

  • The T4M Start-up World trade show for medical technology innovators will be held in Stuttgart, Germany on May 7 to 9.
  • Abstract submissions for eHealth 2019 have closed, but there is room at the conference for delegates. The conference runs from May 26 to 29 at the Beanfield Centre in Toronto, ON.
  • Inventure$ 2019, an “un-conference” for entrepreneurs and startups to connect with investors, will be held in Calgary from June 7 to 9.

Beyond Edmonton 

The Health Innovation Roundup, sponsored by Health City, is a weekly email newsletter written and published by Taproot Edmonton.

Sign up to get the full edition delivered directly to your inbox. If you sign up for a Taproot membership using the code HEALTHCITY, you’ll get 10% off the first year.