The Falling Walls Lab UAlberta sends three strong contestants to the Finale in Berlin

The Falling Walls Lab UAlberta took place at the University of Alberta in Edmonton on 29 September 2016. 14 presenter competeted for a ticket to Berlin and pitched their ideas from various fields of science and research in 3 minutes each. A distinguished jury made up of representatives from academia and industry selected the most intriguing presentation.

The three winners of the Falling Walls Lab UAlberta will travel to Berlin and participate in the global Lab Finale on 8 November 2016. The winners will also receive a ticket for the Falling Walls Conference on 9 November 2016.

Meet the winners

1. Place: Kyle Potts, Canada, University of Alberta - Breaking the Wall of Cancer Therapy with Viruses 

There are 
two major problems with current cancer therapy: one is that most patients inevitably develop resistance to treatment, resulting cancer growth and spread. The second is that most treatments are highly toxic, kill health cells as well as cancer cells and have many side effects. Kyle and his team have shown that a genetically modified vaccinia virus, the curative agent of smallpox, can safely and effectively clear resistant tumors while generating a long lasting anti-tumor immunity.

2. Place: Abhilash Rakkunedeth Hareendranathan, India, University of Alberta - Breaking the Wall of Hip Dysplasia 

Hareendranathan’s team is the first to combine 3D ultrasound with artificial intelligence (machine learning) to better detect dysplastic hips in infants, a condition that prevents babies from crawling and walking. Hareendranathan’s technique does not miss a dysplastic hip unlike current screening methods and also reduces the current reliance on skilled medical imaging operators—a huge advantage in providing high quality health care at remote locations. The technique has the potential to​ ​prevent a lifetime of disability for millions of children and would eliminate​ ​multiple surgeries to correct the problem later on. This technology/technique could also help diagnose other ailments.

3. Place: Katherine Evans, Canada, University of Alberta - Breaking the Wall of Sensory Feedback in Prosthetic Limbs 

Katherine Evans, University of Alberta 
While modern prosthetic s can be high tech and replace lost limb function, they lack sensory feedback—meaning people using the prosthetic can‘t feel what they’re doing. Imagine holding a child’s hand or picking up an egg without knowing how hard you are holding it? You could easily crush one or both. Katharine and her team have developed inexpensive, easily manufactured, sensory feedback system that provides sensory feedback. The system works in conjunction with a surgical procedure that reroutes sensory nerves to skin sites on the remaining limb.

Meet the jury

Lynn Postovit, Professor of Oncology, University of Alberta

David Ley, Professor of Drama and Voice, University of Alberta

Sarah Styler, Professor of Environmental Chemistry, University of Alberta

Kristina Mike, Entrepreneur, Angel Investor and President K-GAR Consulting Inc,

Tammy Hopper, Professor and Vice-Dean, Graduate Studies and Research, Rehabilitation Medicine), University of Alberta

Lee Kruzewski, Associate Deputy Minister, Economic Development & Trade, Government of Alberta

Jordan Pavelich, Idea Champion, ATB Financial

Lian Willetts, Post doctoral Fellow, University of Alberta, and 1st place FWLab UAlberta 2015 and 2nd place 2015 Berlin Lab

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