BioPort 2018 Presenters

Kick-Off Keynote (November 7th)

Dr. Corinna Lathan

Brain Scientist; Technology Pioneer; Founder & CEO, Anthrotronix

Dr. Lathan is a technology entrepreneur who has developed robots for kids with disabilities, virtual reality technology for the space station, and wearable sensors for training surgeons and soldiers. She is a global thought-leader in the relationship between technology and human performance and believes in a future of benevolent cyborgs.

Founder and CEO of AnthroTronix (est. 1999), Lathan has led projects from agencies such as DARPA, NASA, NIH, and NSF and recently developed one of the first FDA-cleared digital health platforms winning a prestigious Gold Edison Award. For this work, she was named a 2017 Woman to Watch by Disruptive Women in Health Care. Dr. Lathan has been featured in ForbesTime, and the New Yorker magazines and her work has led to such distinctions as MIT Technology Review Magazine’s “Top 100 World Innovators,” and one of Fast Company’s “Most Creative People in Business.”

Dr. Lathan is a social advocate and actively involved in STEM educational outreach programs that empower women and minorities in science and technology. She founded Keys to Empowering Youth (est. 1992) for junior high school girls, coached for the FIRST and VEX robotics program, and advised the Smithsonian Institute’s Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation. Dr. Lathan is on the Boards of the KID Museum Makerspace and Engineering World Health, which provides opportunities to college students to support the emergence of healthcare technology in the developing world. Cori is also the parent of two LGBT children and is passionate about LGBT issues and has written about her family’s experience for the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Blog.

Watch: Brain Power | Dr. Corinna E. Lathan 

Luncheon Keynote (November 8th)

Jeremie Saunders resized

Jeremie Saunders

Founder of Sickboy Podcast

Jeremie is an award-winning actor, producer and host of popular original Canadian media, including film, television and podcasts. He lives with a genetic lung disease called Cystic Fibrosis.

Jeremie was born and raised on the East Coast of Canada. After discovering his passion for performance through competitive improv, he was accepted into the acting program at Ryerson Theatre School. Soon after, Jeremie began his career as a professional actor. He hosted the Gemini and Canadian Screen Award-winning CBC children’s television series “ARTZOOKA!” and the National Film Board of Canada’s educational documentary series “Space School”.

In the culmination of Jeremie’s affinity for laughter and education, Sickboy Podcast was founded. Listed as one of iTunes Best Of 2015, Sickboy Podcast is produced and hosted by Jeremie and his two best friends Taylor MacGillivary and Brian Stever. Together they explore conversations with a wide range of guests, talking and laughing about the experiences of living with terminal or chronic illness. Sickboy Podcast aims to tear down the walls of stigma and find levity in an otherwise dark situation.

Jeremie is a brilliant speaker, his keynotes having been described as “simply the most thought-provoking, powerful talk I’ve ever witnessed.” CBC released an acclaimed documentary on Sickboy in October 2017, just weeks before Jeremie gave a rousing standing ovation for his talk at TEDxToronto.

Jeremie is currently based out of Halifax Nova Scotia where he lives with his wife Bryde and their oversized muffin of a dog, Bigby.

Honorary Conference Chair

Coming Soon…

BioNova’s Chairperson

Coming Soon…

BioInnovation Challenge

Untitled design (82)

Dr. Corinna Lathan (BioInnovation Challenge Host)

Brain Scientist; Technology Pioneer; Founder & CEO, Anthrotronix

Our kick-off keynote, Dr. Corinna Lathan, will also host the BioInnovation Challenge.

Linda Plano

Expert Pitch Training Coach

Linda Plano is an expert pitch training coach with over 10 years of experience mentoring entrepreneurs with start-ups in life sciences, cleantech, high tech, web-based applications and more. Upon earning a PhD in Materials Science and Engineering from Stanford University and a BS in Physics from MIT, Plano held positions at various science-based companies. The combination of her high-level education and experience in business has allowed her to help entrepreneurs in many complex fields.

Plano has been coaching entrepreneurs on their pitches and value propositions since 2005. She founded Plano & Simple in 2010 to focus exclusively on coaching, training and mentoring entrepreneurs. This has led her to work with nearly 600 entrepreneurs, who have gone on to raise well over $250M. Plano has worked with a diverse number of clients, from first time entrepreneurs, to serial entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs. Although she is based in Boston, she has delivered her services to clients all over the world.

Jennifer Hamilton (BioInnovation Challenge Judge)

Senior Director, New Ventures (Canada), Johnson & Johnson Innovation
Advisor, Impact Investing, J&J Global Community Impact

Jennifer Hamilton has scouted, cross-sector, for new opportunities for Johnson & Johnson in Canada since 2010 – first with the Corporate Office of Science and Technology (COSAT) and now with J&J Innovation. As well, Jennifer serves as the industry representative on the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR, Canadian equivalent of NIH) Standing Committee on Ethics. Since 2017, Jennifer has additionally worked with the J&J Global Community Impact team on a new initiative to test Impact Investing in global health where she is seeking healthcare investments worldwide that have social impact and financial return enabling scaling of technology and services in ultra-low resource settings.

Prior to working with J&J, Jennifer spent 17 years in biotech venture capital as Venture Partner at UK-based Nomura Phase4 Ventures and an Investment Director with Rothschild Asset Management covering North American and Canada respectively. She has also been an advisor to early and late-stage companies, venture funds and pension funds giving financing, business development and M&A advice. Jennifer has an MSc and a PhD in Experimental Pathology/Lipid Metabolism from the University of British Columbia and a BSc from the University of Guelph.


Gerry Lacroix (BioInnovation Challenge Judge)

Partner, Grant Thornton – Tech Sector Group NS

BIC Junior

Jeremie Saunders resized

Jeremie Saunders (BIC Junior Host)

Founder of Sickboy Podcast

Our Luncheon Keynote, Jeremie Saunders, will also host BIC Junior.

Doris Grant (BIC Junior Judge)

Director, Dalhousie Industry Liaison & Innovation


Martin Yuill (BIC Junior Judge)

Director, Emergence Bioscience Incubator

With an MBA degree from the University of South Africa, Martin is an experienced conceptualiser, strategist and implementor with significant management accomplishments and international work experience who leverages strategic, marketing, communications, and business development specializations to both launch new initiatives and drive organizational growth.

Martin has a track record of success building innovation hubs, developing angel investment networks, animating startup communities, and helping companies start and grow. Formerly a resident of Kelowna, BC and Peterborough, ON, in 2008 he launched the ORIC Kelowna Innovation Centre as the first best practice knowledge economy business incubator in the interior of British Columbia, and then, in 2013 launched The Cube as the first technology incubation program in eastern Ontario. Martin most recently served as both President & CEO and Director of Incubation and Acceleration at the Greater Peterborough DNA Cluster, as well as Director of Client Services at the Peterborough Region Angel Network (PRAN).

Martin is an active community member, having served, amongst other things, as a Board Member of the Centre of Excellence for Goat Research & Innovation; the FastStart Youth Entrepreneurship Initiative; and the Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission. In addition, he has volunteered as a design consultant to the Trent Innovation and Entrepreneurship Centre; as a member of the management team of the Peterborough Community Innovation Forum, and as a member of the Trent University Business Council.

Emerging Natural Products (Panel Session)

Stephen Ball resized

Stephen Ball, MSc, MBA (Moderator)

Regional Director, NPC-Atlantic

Stephen is a forward-thinking, strategic problem solver with over 12 years in the international innovation space. With a background in biochemistry, Stephen has built this career on his scientific knowledge, fueled by his desire to use science to create real-world solutions.

Most recently, Stephen was Director of Sales and Marketing at BioVectra, a contract manufacturing company serving a global client base. There, he gained extensive understanding of various manufacturing processes such as fermentation, and their role in new product development. He was also exposed to the regulatory requirements of Good Manufacturing Practices, Environment Canada, Health Canada, and the FDA. Most importantly, he garnered a reputation for developing mutually-beneficial business relationships with clients and partners, helping the company significantly expand its market share.

Stephen was responsible for over $100 million in sales, providing extensive insight and leadership to project teams to ensure their viability. He also led corporate and academic research teams through the commercialization process, helping them manage issues in research, navigate regulatory compliance requirements, and negotiate intellectual property agreements.

Stephen has a BSc from Mount Allison, and received his MSc at Memorial University. He completed his MBA with a concentration in marketing at Saint Mary’s University.

headshot for bioport website

Bob Chapman (Panelist)

Chief Operating Officer, DoseCann Inc.

Dr. Chapman has been applying his broad practical experience in organic and analytical chemistry for the past nineteen years to solve problems of industrial relevance. Most recently, Dr. Chapman was a Principal Research Officer with the National Research Council Canada (͞”NRC”) ACRD Research Centre where he was responsible for leading a national program and strategic projects focused on the development of Natural Health Products and functional ingredients with private sector companies which led to research on cannabinoid-based mixtures. For NRC, he also served on national advisory committees supporting the standardization needs for the emerging cannabis industry to ensure quality and safety of cannabis supply. Prior to the NRC, Dr. Chapman spent 6 years working as a Senior Scientist for bioscience start-up companies in San Francisco, California. Dr. Chapman is also the Vice-President of the NHP Research Society and the recording secretary for the processing and handling subcommittee for ASTM D37.04 standards group on cannabis. Dr. Chapman is an active member of the Canada’s bioscience community serving on several boards and advisory boards. He holds a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from the University of British Columbia, has published widely, holds several patents, and has presented at numerous scientific symposia.

Copy of Jeremie Saunders resized (3)

Bill Cheliak (Panelist)

CEO, Panag Pharmaceuticals 

Bill has over 20 years of business experience in a wide variety of biotechnology fields, including vaccines, human genetics, drug development, manufacturing and extensive interactions with the pharmaceutical industry. Over the past 15 years, Bill has been involved in business development in the biotechnology sector with both private and publicly traded companies. He has executed numerous technology deals with Pharma, academic institutions and hospitals as well as securing financing ($150M+) for various companies with many venture firms. Bill currently serves on the Board of Directors of a publicly traded company on the TSX. He has a PhD in Genetics.

Copy of Jeremie Saunders resized (6)

Dr. Christian Lehmann (Panelist)

Clinical Researcher, Dalhousie (Anesthesia, Pain Management & Perioperative Medicine)

Dr. Christian Lehmann is Professor of Anesthesia, Pharmacology, Microbiology & Immunology and Physiology & Biophysics at Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS. He is Staff Anesthesiologist and Associate Medical Director of Research in the Department of Anesthesia, Pain Management and Perioperative Medicine, Nova Scotia Health Authority, Halifax. Dr. Lehmann has 25 years of experience in experimental and clinical inflammation research including studies on the mechanisms of pain. He is the author of morethan 150 original publications, 5 books, 13 book chapters, and almost 200 published abstracts. In 2009 he founded the RESIST (Research in the Endocannabinoid System in Inflammation, Sepsis and Trauma) group with Dr. Melanie Kelly (Pharmacology) and others at Dalhousie. He and his collaborators received funding for their research on the therapeutic modulation of the endogenous cannabinoid system and for related research projects from CIHR, NSERC, CFI, MITACS, NSHRF, and Innovacorp. Dr. Lehmann is co-founder of Panag Pharma Inc. – a Halifax-based company working on novel cannabinoid formulations for the treatment of pain and inflammation.

Copy of Jeremie Saunders resized (5)

Beth Mason (Panelist)

CEO, Verschuren Centre

Solutions for Health Innovation (Panel Session)

Paul Bradley (Moderator)

President, MedTech Consulting Inc.
Former VP of Strategic Affairs, Johnson & Johnson

The Tech Revolution Reshaping Health (Fireside Chat)

We are at the cusp of change in the way health services in Canada are delivered. Disruptive health technologies bring transformational improvements in the affordability, accessibility, quality and simplicity of health care solutions. Join us to hear from industry leaders how tools such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), robotics, Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) are revolutionizing and reshaping health.

Copy of Jeremie Saunders resized (1)

Miriam Zitner (Host)

Vice President Halifax Innovation District

Miriam Zitner is leading the three-year master plan to develop and advance Halifax’s Innovation District, working in collaboration with the private sector, our universities and the community college, Nova Scotia’s MIT REAP team and Halifax’s start-up and innovation centres.

Miriam has 20 years experience working with Fortune 100 technology companies and start-ups, primarily out of Toronto and Vancouver, focused on photonics, biometrics and energy. Companies such as IBM (B2B), Intel (B2C and B2B, channel sales), Microsoft (B2C, some B2B), and  MSN.CA.  She has also worked with academic institutions and associations and understands the operating framework of collaborating with many constituents that share a desired outcome.

Miriam’s ability to understand and translate complex ideas into easily understood ideas, alongside her experience working with Canadian subsidiaries of American companies, as well as start-ups in various stages of maturation, lends itself well to the Partnership’s goal of attracting large, established businesses to the region as well as fostering the growth of Halifax companies.