Our Mentors

Mentorship, sharing tacit knowledge, expertise, experience and opinions, is an essential foundation of our community and our approach.

Inspiring Individuals 

Mentors engage with TRP students–over coffee (or tea)–to share their experiences, act as sounding boards for student ideas, and reflect on projects and gaps that could lead to interesting Capstone Projects. Discussants are invited from industry, government, and academia to conduct small discussion groups in the Foundations of TR course. Guest speakers lead workshops and offer insight related to their expertise. 

Adriana Ieraci

Adriana Ieraci

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Agnes Wong

Agnes Wong

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Alan Moody

Alan Moody

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Albert H.C. Wong

Albert H.C. Wong

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Allan Kaplan

Allan Kaplan

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Allan L. Coates

Allan L. Coates

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Andrea Furlan

Andrea Furlan

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Avrum Gotlieb

Avrum Gotlieb

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Azam Khan

Azam Khan

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Berge Minassian

Berge Minassian

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Bernard Le Foll

Bernard Le Foll

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Christopher Licht

Christopher Licht

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Claudia dos Santos

Claudia dos Santos

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Daniel Mueller

Daniel Mueller

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David A Jaffray

David A Jaffray

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Derek Newton

Derek Newton

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Dina Brooks

Dina Brooks

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Ella Korets-Smith

Ella Korets-Smith

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Gary Levy

Gary Levy

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Gelareh Zadeh

Gelareh Zadeh

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Gregory Costain

Gregory Costain

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Heather Manson

Heather Manson

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Howard Mount

Howard Mount

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James Rutka

James Rutka

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Jaques Belik

Jaques Belik

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Jennifer M. Jones

Jennifer M. Jones

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Jennifer Stinson

Jennifer Stinson

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Joao Rezende-Neto

Joao Rezende-Neto

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Joel C. Watts

Joel C. Watts

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John Holyoake

John Holyoake

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Julia Brown

Julia Brown

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Karen D Davis

Karen D Davis

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Lee Errett

Lee Errett

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Leerom Segal

Leerom Segal

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Marc Jeschke

Marc Jeschke

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Mathieu Lemaire

Mathieu Lemaire

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Michael Cusimano

Michael Cusimano

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Michelle Hladunewich

Michelle Hladunewich

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Mingyao Liu

Mingyao Liu

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Muhamad Mamdani

Muhamad Mamdani

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Nades Palaniyar

Nades Palaniyar

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Naomi Matsuura

Naomi Matsuura

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Nigil Haroon

Nigil Haroon

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Norman Rosenblum

Norman Rosenblum

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Paul Hwang

Paul Hwang

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Paul Nathan

Paul Nathan

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Peter Lewis

Peter Lewis

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Peter S. Pennefather

Peter S. Pennefather

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R. Loch Macdonald

R. Loch Macdonald

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Raisa Deber

Raisa Deber

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Richard Aviv

Richard Aviv

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Rima Al-awar

Rima Al-awar

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Robert D. Inman

Robert D. Inman

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Ron Beleno

Ron Beleno

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Rupert Kaul

Rupert Kaul

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Sandy Schwenger

Sandy Schwenger

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Sean Rourke

Sean Rourke

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Shaf Keshavjee

Shaf Keshavjee

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Shaun K. Morris

Shaun K. Morris

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Sima Salahshor

Sima Salahshor

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Steve Szigeti

Steve Szigeti

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Steven Gallinger

Steven Gallinger

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Ulrich Krull

Ulrich Krull

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Uri Tabori

Uri Tabori

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Vinod Chandran

Vinod Chandran

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Viraj Mane

Viraj Mane

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Vivek Goel

Vivek Goel

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Yuan Lew

Yuan Lew

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Gabriella Chan for the TRP, November 2020

As we approach ten months of living, working, and studying in our homes, isolated from friends and family and facing ever-increasing numbers of cases, deaths, and further isolation during the winter months, one can be forgiven for occasionally slipping into moments of despair. Yet, despite the public health nightmare, economic tragedy, and the lingering health impacts of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, there are silver linings.

Never in recent memory has the public learned so much about the procurement of personal protective equipment and ventilators, the fragility of the supply chain, Health Canada and FDA medical device, therapeutic and vaccine approval procedures, and emergency use authorizations. By and large, we have taken these ever-present activities for granted, or more likely, were previously utterly oblivious to both their existence and importance. At least in this respect, it has been an enlightening ten months.

In the fog of a new pandemic, the immediate primary focus is, as it should be, on stemming the spread of the virus and blunting the death toll with the tools at hand. But in the shadows of the feverish effort to develop easy to use yet accurate diagnostics and effective and safe therapeutics and vaccines, another fight is brewing. Do the manufacturers of these essential products have the right to use some of the technology they incorporate into those products?

This fight has spilled into the open with Allele Biotechnology and Pharmaceuticals Inc.’s (“Allele”) U.S. Patent No. 10,221,221, titled “Monomeric Yellow-Green Fluorescent Protein from Cephalochordate” issued March 5, 2019. The patent protects mNeonGreen, a synthetic fluorophore, and antibody technology used to identify neutralizing antibodies and vaccine candidates. It is now also the focus of a patent infringement lawsuit brought by Allele against Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (“Regeneron”), Pfizer, Inc. (“Pfizer”), and BioNTech SE and BioNTech US, Inc. (together “BioNTech”). As it turns out, mNeonGreen may not only have been the lynchpin that allowed the pharma companies to test vaccine candidates at warp speed but was also part of the Regeneron antibody cocktail administered to President Donald Trump during his COVID-19 treatment.

 

Over the arc of translation and commercialization, blockbuster products, including diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines, are developed, tested, and built on the shoulders of thousands of inventions, some of which are not owned by the product manufacturer. In some cases, licensing agreements for rights to use various inventions or technologies are negotiated among companies upfront. In others, licensing negotiations to follow a cease and desist letter threatening litigation for patent infringement. For some, however, licensing only follows a successful patent infringement lawsuit in which the highest court in the land upholds the validity of the patent at issue. In this case, as a conscientious intellectual property owner exercising is exclusionary (or negative) rights, Allele reached out to Regeneron on multiple occasions to negotiate a license for Regeneron’s use of mNeonGreen. Given the lawsuit, Regeneron ostensibly ignored those calls.

While messy on any ordinary day, amid a raging pandemic when first to market advantage of a game-changing product is the equivalent of netting the proverbial golden goose, the stakes of high-profile litigation are astronomical. On November 9, 2020, Pfizer announced that its COVID-19 vaccine showed a staggering 90% efficacy. Could they have achieved that result in such a short time without Allele’s technology? And so, the brewing fight begins!

Gabriella is a lawyer, scientist, educator, mentor, and entrepreneur. She advises individuals, start-up ventures, established companies, and stakeholders in the life sciences and health technology sectors. She works closely with world-renowned clinicians and researchers to commercialize academic inventions. Gabriella is an engaging educator. Her breadth of legal knowledge and real-world start-up experience offer invaluable perspectives on the ethically sound translation and commercialization of academic inventions. At the TRP, Gabriella is an Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream. She teaches Modules in Translational Research including the Intellectual Property Fundamentals, the Applied Intellectual Property, and the Procurement, Privacy, and Regulatory Affairs module.