Areas of Academic Interest
How does a would-be journalist end up as a leading researcher in the field of biomaterials? If you are Mark Towler, you just follow your interests. “I love to write,” he says, “and I saw that being able to identify a problem and articulate it in writing was a big part of scientific research.”
Today, Towler is an expert in device development for medical fields like orthopedics and hematology. For example, he developed a device called Osentia, which can predict a person’s risk of fractures by assessing the proteins in a toenail or fingernail clipping.
The innovation was inspired by the premise that after 50 years of diagnosing bone disease by using X-rays to measure bone thickness, it’s actually better to assess bone flexibility by analyzing the proteins. “Sometimes it helps not to be an expert in a field you’re working in,” Towler says. “It enables you to come at a problem with a different, disruptive approach.”
“Ryerson’s connections with St. Michael’s Hospital have been vital in our ability to secure major grants for our research.”