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iBEST begins new era of collaboration


Ryerson Interim President Mohamed Lachemi, Minister of Research and Innovation Reza Moridi, St. Michael’s Hospital President/CEO Robert Howard, and Biomedical Zone director Linda Maxwell at the iBEST launch on January 26.

St. Michael’s Hospital and Ryerson University have launched a 20-year partnership to research and develop innovative health-care solutions and to support start-up biomedical companies seeking to improve patient care.

The partnership, formally unveiled at a launch event on January 26, brings together Ryerson’s engineering and science strengths with St. Michael’s research and clinical expertise in a new 22,000-square foot state-of-the-art laboratory known as iBEST (the Institute for Biomedical Engineering and Science Technology) where they will test practical ideas that can be brought to the patient bedside quickly.

Adjacent to iBEST is the Biomedical Zone, a 2,000-square-foot physician-led “incubator” that will specialize in the development and commercialization of biomechanical products and technologies, focusing on software, wearables, sensors and medical devices, to care for and treat patients. Both iBEST and the Biomedical Zone were designed as open-concept workspaces, to facilitate brainstorming and sharing of ideas among people from different fields. The Biomedical Zone is built on the model of Ryerson’s hugely successful DMZ.

“I am always inspired an energized by the talent and passion of our students and faculty who are working toward innovative solutions,” said Mohamed Lachemi, interim president, Ryerson University, at the launch event. “Through initiatives like iBEST and the Biomedical Zone, Ryerson is building a new path for post-secondary education that is creating jobs, enabling social change and generating long-term economic growth."

“Both medicine and technology are rapidly advancing – in my field of surgery, the greatest progress has been made when there has been an overlap between the two areas,” said Dr. Ori Rotstein, surgeon-in-chief at St. Michael’s and a co-director of iBEST. “This interdisciplinary approach, where engineering and science intersect, is surely a key route to important biomedical discoveries in the future that hold tremendous promise for patient care and improving outcomes of our patients.”

iBEST is focusing its research in four areas:

· Advanced systems of delivering medications to maximize their effectiveness and minimize side effects, ranging from nanotechnology to medical devices capable of delivering personalized care.

· Creating new biomaterials and cell-based therapies to restore the structure and function of damaged tissues and organs, such as replacing knee cartilage for an arthritis sufferer.

· Biomedical imaging, at the cellular and tissue level for rapid diagnosis, to providing real-time feedback during surgery or developing ultrasound-based systems that can target and kill cancer cells without a patient having to enter an operating room.

· Using and creating tools that improve our understanding of massive amounts of health-care data.

The Biomedical Zone is an incubator for early stage health-care companies. Dr. Linda Maxwell, the zone’s director, said it will support entrepreneurs, students, clinicians and other innovative thinkers as they develop products and solutions to today’s global health-care challenges, taking them from inception to the seed funding stage. Unlike other incubators, the Biomedical Zone is focused on medical technology, medical devices, and information and communications technology.

“iBest is a fantastic example of collaboration: matching Ryerson University’s engineering and sciences strengths with St. Mike’s biomedical research and clinical expertise,” said Reza Moridi, MPP for Richmond Hill and minister of research and innovation.

For more information on iBEST, go to