Join us and our outstanding community of faculty, trainees, industry and hospital partners, and students as we continue to define the future of health and healthcare at our annual Symposium.

Learn from peers making an impact in the biomedical engineering field.
Discover the latest research.
Join our panel conversation on reconciliation and collaboration in biomedical engineering.

Tuesday, June 13 from 9:00 am to 5:30 pm
UBC Life Sciences Institute West Atrium
2350 Health Sciences Mall
Vancouver, BC Canada V6T 1Z3

Abstract Deadline: Sunday, April 30

Applications Close: Monday, May 22

Event Calendar Invite

Registration Deadline: Thursday, June 8

Keynote Speaker

Murali Venkatesan


Murali Venkatesan

Head of Danaher Ventures, Americas and Europe
Vice President, Science, Technology & Innovation
Danaher Corporation (NYSE: DHR)

Murali has a deep passion for transforming Science, Technology and Medicine at scale to impact patient lives.

Murali joined Danaher (NYSE: DHR) in 2019, a global Science and Technology leader with $32.5 Billion in revenue and >$200 Billion market cap, operating companies including Beckman Coulter, Leica Micro- and Biosystems, IDT, Sciex, Aldevron, Cytiva and more. As Head of Danaher Ventures, Murali leads Danaher’s strategy and investments across healthcare and is responsible for an active portfolio of over 40 companies valued at >$11 Billion. Murali serves as a Board Director for more than five companies and has joint responsibilities across Mergers & Acquisitions, including the ~$10 Billion acquisition of Aldevron.

Prior to joining Danaher, Murali was Director of Business Development at Lam Research (NASDAQ: LRCX), a leader in Semiconductor manufacturing tools and responsible for Lam’s strategy and investments in Life Sciences. Murali had previously spent ~7 years at Illumina (NASDAQ: ILMN) as a Scientist, Inventor and Senior Manager, across Advanced Research, Technology Development and Product Development, leading technology teams that enabled the $1000 and $100 genomes. These products have generated over $4B in revenue for Illumina.

Murali holds a Ph.D. in Electrical & Computer Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and is a graduate of the Stanford Executive Program. He is an inventor on 20 patents and has published in various scientific journals including Nature Nanotechnology, Nature Scientific Reports, Advanced Materials and Lab on Chip with over 3000 citations. Murali also holds Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Engineering degrees in Pure Mathematics, Computer Science and Electrical Engineering from University of Western Australia.

Sponsored by

Research Talks

Sara Roccabianca
Woman in grey blazer with light blue shirt

Sara Roccabianca (Michigan State University)

The exciting work done in the Experimental and theoretical Modeling for Biomechanical Research Lab (EMBR Lab), directed by Dr. Roccabianca, integrates hypothesis-driven experimentation and mathematical modeling to revolutionize our understanding of how soft biological tissues adapt to biological, chemical and mechanical stimuli. In Dr. Roccabianca’s 15-year career, she collaborated with over 50 co-authors ranging from graduate students to renowned senior scholars, she successfully led many collaborative and interdisciplinary projects within Michigan State University and across institutions, both national and international, and her work has been funded by both NSF and NIH. Dr. Roccabianca received her PhD from the University of Trento (Italy) in 2011. After a postdoc at Yale University, she joined Michigan State University in 2014. Dr. Roccabianca is an Associate Professor and the Marvin L. VanDerPloeg Professor in Mechanical Engineering at Michigan State University.

Research Talk: Effect of Sex on the Mechanical Behavior of the Murine Urinary Bladder

Both sex and gender of an individual have an impact on their lower urinary tract anatomy, physiology, and function, in health and disease. Furthermore, these differences could influence disease progression and treatment, impacting patients’ health and well-being. Yet, how these biological, societal, and cultural characteristics influence bladder biomechanics is still largely unknown. My group was the first to identify significant sex-differences in the three-dimensional mechanical behavior of the murine urinary bladder. We found that in healthy animals, males have significantly stiffer bladders when compared to females, especially in the range of luminal pressures associated with voiding. To collect these results and in collaboration with Dr. Tykocki (MSU, Pharmacology and Toxicology Department), we have also developed a novel mechanical testing tool and protocol that allows for 3D reconstruction of the murine bladder during pressurization test. Our work is pioneering the investigation in this space, strengthening the concerted effort from the scientific community as a whole to highlight the importance of including both biological sexes in all avenues of biomechanical research.

Adrien Desjardins
Man with short hair in black suit with blue shirt.

Adrien Desjardins (University College London)

Adrien Desjardins is a Professor of Biomedical Engineering at the University College London (London, UK). He leads the Interventional Devices Lab, with multidisciplinary expertise that spans sensors, robotics, and imaging. He received his BSc from the University of British Columbia and his PhD from the Health Sciences and Technology Programme at Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was appointed as appointed as a Royal Academy of Engineering Research Chair in 2021 and was selected as a Young Scientist at the World Economic Forum in 2015. His funding includes a Healthcare Technologies Challenge Award from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), and Starting Grants from the European Research Council (ERC), the EPSRC, and the Royal Society.

Research Talk: Biomedical Imaging and Sensing with Optical Fibres

Accurately identifying tissue targets for diagnosis or therapy is of vital importance in minimally invasive surgical procedures. Advances in fibre optic sensing are transforming our ability to visualise anatomical structures and to sense physiological processes from within the body in real-time. With their small lateral dimensions and flexibility, optical fibres are ideally suited to integration within a wide range of medical devices. In this talk, I will present recent multidisciplinary developments including micro- and meso-scale imaging with optically generated and received ultrasound, intravascular pressure and flow sensing, and device tracking relative to external imaging systems. I will highlight how these modalities are well suited to robotic integration and can be readily extended to applications outside of biomedical engineering, including marine science.

Gane Ka-Shu Wong
Man in black sweater and blue jeans amongst trees

Gane Ka-Shu Wong (University of Alberta)

Professor Wong is jointly appointed in the Department of Biological Sciences (Faculty of Science) and the Department of Medicine (Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry). He identifies and develops technological solutions enabled by large-scale DNA/RNA sequencing. The work is not organism specific. Many different areas of biological and/or medical research are covered. The only commonality is computational analyses always play a critical role. He is perhaps best-known for phylodiverse sequencing of plant species, including the 1KP transcriptome initiative (now finished) and the 10KP genome initiative (ramping up). On the medical side, he is launching two new programs for drug target and lead compound discovery to exploit the explosive growth in databases for human (medical) and non-human species, respectively.

Research Talk: Drug Targets and Lead Compounds in the Era of Big Data for Humans and Biodiverse Taxa

What if scientists could create genetically-modified human beings to mimic the action of a putative drug for each of the ~20k human proteins? Although not every ailment would be treatable by drugs, for those that are treatable, we could quickly identify the appropriate drug target simply by analyzing the medical records from this population. Moreover, the likelihood of success in a subsequent clinical trial would be higher than if we had originally deduced that drug target from animals, cell lines, or computational models. I will argue that such a resource already exists, and no “CRISPR babies” were created. I will highlight the handful of FDA-approved drugs that were inspired by an earlier version of this paradigm, and show how the drug targets could have been identified with a day or two of work on this no-longer-mythical resource. Most of my examples are from cardiovascular diseases, the leading cause of death worldwide. But I will also explain how this paradigm is generalizable to other ailments, and especially to chronic diseases of aging.

However, drug targets are useless without lead compounds. There are technologies, e.g. antibodies, siRNA, that can generate a therapeutic option for almost any target, with the caveat that it would have to be injected. Longer term, an orally-delivered drug is preferable. I will discuss a little-known result from my sequencing of 1000+ biodiverse plant species. Plants have evolved an astonishing repertoire of cysteine-rich peptides (CRPs) that are thermally and enzymatically stabilized by disulfide bonds. It has been hypothesized that such peptides, not small molecules as widely assumed, may often be the active compounds in natural-products-based medicines. This idea has not been explored in detail, as it was until recently impossible to predict to any useful degree of accuracy what protein(s) a CRP might target. Breakthroughs in protein folding software have raised the prospect of creating a library of naturally-evolved CRPs with experimentally-validated human targets. As the Earth BioGenome Project delivers on its promise of genome sequences for all known plants and animals, the repertoire of human proteins that can be targeted will only grow with time.


Panel Information
A conversation about reconciliation and collaboration in biomedical engineering.
    (Stay tuned for panelists)

Amgen Pitch

Amgen Pitch Information
Amgen Pitch

The Amgen pitch competition at the School of Biomedical Engineering is an event that aims to showcase and promote innovation in the field of biotechnology, life sciences and biomedical engineering. The purpose of the competition is to provide a platform for students and researchers to present their unique and innovative ideas for solutions or technologies that can address real-world problems in the field.

The competition is designed to encourage students to develop their skills in scientific research, problem-solving, and communication, as well as to foster collaboration and networking opportunities with industry professionals and academics. The competition aims to inspire and motivate the next generation of leaders in biomedical engineering and support the development of new ideas and technologies.

Call for Applications: May 1st, 2023

Applications Close: May 22nd, 2023

Six Applicants Selected & Notified by: May 29th, 2023

Pitch & Award Ceremony: June 13th, 2023

Learn More & Register

Have Questions?

Reach out to Jocelyn McKay (

Symposium imagery courtesy of Dr. Carolina Tropini.

Meet Our Sponsors

Lunch and Poster session sponsor

Learn more about Medtronic.

Keynote sponsor

Learn more about Danaher.

Research Talks sponsor

Learn more about Kardium.

Trainee Research Talks sponsor

Learn more about Future Fields.

Trainee Awards sponsor

Learn more about CCRM.

Trainee Awards sponsor

Learn more about STEMCELL Technologies.