Medicine by Design researchers bring their perspectives to event sessions
Omar F. Khan, Associate Professor, University of Toronto
In a panel exploring Canada’s opportunity in the cell and gene therapy realm, Medicine by Design investigator Omar F. Khan shared his perspectives as an academic who worked in industry in the U.S. before joining U of T in 2020, supported by Medicine by Design’s New Investigator program.
The session was called “Out of the lab, into the patient: Canada’s commercial opportunity in cell and gene therapy manufacturing.” It looked at the current inflection point Canada is at, with companies transitioning from drug discovery into producing therapies for clinical trials, and how Canada is growing its full-scale commercial manufacturing sector in this area.
Khan, who is an assistant professor at the Institute of Biomedical Engineering and the Department of Immunology, touched on themes including the importance of investment in high-risk research and building a resilient and robust ecosystem, as well as the role of the academic institution in helping to build the ecosystem by encouraging a range of experiences.
“The job of the institution is to show multiple paths,” Khan said, pointing to his own journey that took him out of academia and into industry, and then back into academia. “Paths aren’t linear…and you have the ability to create your own opportunities.”
Molly Shoichet, University Professor, University of Toronto
Medicine by Design-funded investigator Molly Shoichet moderated a panel called “The power minority in biotech.”
Shoichet, who is a University Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering & Applied Chemistry and the Institute of Biomedical Engineering and an investigator at the Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research, U of T, steered a discussion about gender equity in the biotech and life science industry, as well as the importance of prioritizing inclusive innovation in order to boost the commercialization of breakthrough science in Canada and tackle ongoing gaps in women’s healthcare.
Shoichet is funded by Medicine by Design to lead a large team project focused on vision repair, and also leads Medicine by Design’s Healthy and Inclusive Labs committee.
About Medicine by Design
Funded by a $114-million grant from the Canada First Research Excellence Fund, Medicine by Design brings together more than 150 principal investigators at the University of Toronto and its affiliated hospitals to advance regenerative medicine discoveries and accelerate them toward impact. It builds on decades of made-in-Canada excellence in regenerative medicine dating back to the discovery of stem cells in the early 1960s by Toronto researchers James Till and Dr. Ernest McCulloch.