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Halifax Discovery Centre Discovery Awards 2016

On November 17, 2016 Halifax’s Discovery Centre held their 14th annual Discovery Awards. This great annual event recognizes talented individuals and outstanding companies for their national and international work in science and technology fields, celebrating research, science and innovation.  Springboard Atlantic congratulates the award recipients and nominees from our member institutions.

Award Recipients:

Professional of Distinction Award: James Robar, Professor, Dalhousie University, Faculty of Medicine

Dr. Robar’s career has been devoted to helping improve the lives of cancer patients who receive radiation therapy. His research and development efforts have led to more than 80 publications, 10 patent applications, and two spin-off companies. He has a passion for translating his fundamental work into practical solutions that can be — and are — used in the clinic. He is also director of Dal’s Medical Physics programs.

Find out more about how Dr. Robar and his team get “atom” here.

Emerging Professional: Alec Falkenham

A PhD graduate from Dalhousie’s Department of Pathology and now first-year Medicine student, Alec Falkenham hit the headlines after he came up with a new tattoo removal technology. The story went global and generated hundreds of inquiries, indicating he had hit a sweet spot in public need. Dr. Falkenham’s tattoo removal technology (the rights to which were acquired by Cipher Pharmaceuticals in May 2016) speeds up the body’s natural process that causes ink to fade. It does this by targeting white blood cells called macrophages, which remove foreign material from the body. What his team did was develop a cream carrying a lipid-vesicle, or liposome. When the cream is applied to a tattoo, ink-containing macrophages die off and new macrophages enter the skin. Some of the new macrophages depart for the lymph nodes with a cargo of ink, thus fading the tattoo.

Dr. Falkenham is also an up-and-coming name in cardiovascular research. As a graduate student, he presented nationally on how the immune system heals the heart and has been awarded multiple provincial and national scholarships.

Read more about wiping away your “permanent” mistakes here.

Science Champion: Boris Worm, Professor, Dalhousie University, Biology

Dr. Worm has long felt compelled to share knowledge on the state of our global ocean and is fast-becoming a household name. Between publishing his headline-making research on marine biodiversity and conservation, Dr. Worm is the “Oceans Guy” for CBC Radio 1, covering ocean issues every second Tuesday afternoon in his own radio column. The marine biologist’s passionate voice has been captured in documentaries like Sharkwater, Racing Extinction and Bluefin.

Now, Dr. Worm is taking science education and outreach to a new level with Ocean School, a groundbreaking new educational initiative done in partnership with the Ocean Frontier Institute and the National Film Board. Ocean School will bring ocean education for 11-15 year olds into classrooms using cutting-edge technologies, powerful storytelling techniques and audiovisual teaching platforms. The Ocean School pilot project will launch early next year in some grade seven classes in Nova Scotia.

Science Hall of Fame Inductee: Jeff Dahn, Dalhousie University, Physics and Chemistry, NSERC/Tesla Canada Inc. Industrial Research Chair, Canada Research Chair in Materials for Advanced Batteries

Dr. Dahn was recognized for his front-line battery research as well as his contribution to teaching. A pioneering developer of the lithium-ion battery, his research has led to cells being produced in a more cost effective manner. His material combination is now used in batteries to power everything from electric cars to smart-grid power-storage devices that could eventually support the widespread use of renewable energy. He was elected as a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 2001 and has won more than 20 major awards since he began with work with lithium batteries in 1978, most recently the augural Governor General’s Innovation Award.

Get charged up about batteries here.

Innovation Award recipients: 

Novonix: Chris Burns is a recent graduate of Dalhousie and the CEO of Novonix a spin-off of Jeff Dahn’s lab. Novonix’s ultra-high precision charger system enables accurate and precise measurements of a Lithium-ion battery’s efficiency, which can be used to estimate their lifetime on the scale of decades. The company has sold equipment to key battery companies all over the world with customers in more than ten countries.

Find out more about going from science to startups here.

QRA: Jordan Kyriakidis is the CEO and president of Quantum Research Analytics and an associate professor in Dal’s Department of Physics and Atmospheric Science. His company is focused on solving one of the greatest hurdles for innovation: verification of complex systems. QRA’s main product is called QVTrace, an advanced platform that discovers design faults in complex, embedded systems. Within the past year, QRA has celebrated multi-million dollar partnerships with Lockheed Martin, Innovacorp, and Dalhousie University, and received 2.9-million-dollars of funding under the Atlantic Innovation Fund.

Find more data on what QRA is up to next.

Award Nominees:

Professionals of Distinction: 
Fred Whoriskey, Executive Director and co-lead of the Ocean Tracking Network (OTN) – a global research, technology and development platform headquartered at Dalhousie University.
Find out what OTN is diving in to next.

Peir K. Pufahl, Professor of Sedimentary Geology at Acadia University’s Department of Earth & Environmental Science.
Find out more about what Dr. Pufahl is digging in to next.

Emerging Professionals:
Brett Dickey, recent Ph.D. graduate from Dalhousie University’s Biomedical Engineering program, and the co-founder and Chief Technical Officer for Covina Biomedical Incorporated. Find out more about the competition that helped cement Covina’s success here.

Devin Horsman is currently the technical Director for Twisted Oak, with offices in Halifax and San Francisco, undergrad and graduate student at Dalhousie University. Find out more about how twisted Oak is going big while growing at home.

Science Champions:
Dr. Lisa Lunney Borden, Professor of Education at Saint Francis Xavier University, with a specialty in First Nations Education and Math Education.
Learn more about Dr. Lunney Borden’s showme your math program here.