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#CASC2020     #ScienceIncubators

Feature Speakers

Thursday May 9, 2019

Panel Presentation


Science knows no place. It’s found where there’s curiosity, inquiry, a problem to solve, or something to make better. It exists in the passion of individuals. 

For the Discovery Centre and other science centres and science museums across Canada, science is about strengthening understanding, providing access, and championing social change. It requires us to do what we can with what we have, from coast to coast and all reaches of our country and its population.

Hear from three groundbreaking local science professionals from different disciplines making waves of their own, facing challenges and providing opportunities within the region.

Erin Bertrand, PhD

Assistant Professor and NSERC Tier II Canada Research Chair in Marine Microbial Proteomics in the Biology Department at Dalhousie University

Erin Bertrand’s research is driven by her passion for connecting molecular-level processes with global scale implications. Erin received a B.S. with honors in Chemistry and Environmental Studies from Bates College in 2005. She went on to complete her Ph.D. in Chemical Oceanography in the MIT/WHOI Joint Program, where she was awarded the Fye Award for Excellence in Chemical Oceanography research, 2010–2015. From 2012 to 2015, Erin was a U.S. National Science Foundation Office of Polar Programs Postdoctoral Fellow at the J. Craig Venter Institute and Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Her research aims are focused on understanding how microbes influence ocean biogeochemistry. She is particularly interested in the molecular basis of microbial micronutritional requirements and what the consequences of those requirements are for global carbon, nitrogen and sulfur cycling. Her group employs a range of quantitative mass spectrometry–based techniques, paired with field and laboratory experiments, to ask these questions. Erin is the recipient of the 2018 ‘Emerging Professional’ Discovery Award and is a Simons Foundation Early Career Investigator in Marine Microbial Ecology and Evolution. She leads a group of eight promising young scientists and has thus far raised over $2.5M to support her research group.

George Palikaras, PhD

Founder & CEO, Metamaterial Technologies Inc.

George is the founder and CEO of Metamaterial Technologies Inc. (MTI), a smart materials and photonics company, solving some of the world’s most difficult problems to change the way we use, interact and benefit from light. Over the past years, he has forged partnerships with global brands, enabling MTI to develop and lead new technologies.  

Prior to MTI, George founded of Medical Wireless Sensing Ltd. (MediWise) a research and development medtech company based in London, UK, with the vision to improve healthcare by enabling high precision to non-invasive diagnostics. Mediwise has received several awards including the Winner of the 4th Edition “Building Global Innovator” competition held in Portugal, for both the Health stream as well as the overall winner for 2014. 

Dr. Palikaras has a BEng. in Computer Engineering, an MSc. in Digital Communication Systems and did his PhD studies in metamaterial science. Prior to becoming an entrepreneur, he worked as a post-doctoral researcher at Queen Mary University in London in wearable and implantable sensors projects. He also worked in industry at Wireless Technology Laboratories (former Nortel Networks) working with a team of engineers and managers through contract bidding and technology development for large telecommunication OEMs in excess of $30M.

James Robar, PhD, FCCPM

Chief of Medical Physics at the Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA), Professor of Radiation Oncology at Dalhousie University and Co-founder of Adaptiiv Medical Technologies

Dr. James Robar is the Chief of Medical Physics at the Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA), Professor of Radiation Oncology at Dalhousie University and Founding Director of the Masters, Doctoral and Certificate programs in Medical Physics at Dalhousie University. He divides his time between a leadership role at NSHA, direct support of patient treatment with expertise in stereotactic radiotherapy and radiosurgery, and R&D with a focus on cutting-edge technologies that improve the treatment of cancer patients. Dr. Robar believes that academic-industry partnerships form an essential conduit in allowing new technologies to benefit patients around the world.   He is co-founder of Canadian spinoff company and Halifax-based Adaptiiv Medical Technologies. Dr. Robar is dedicated to the promotion and assurance of safety and quality in radiation oncology and radiosurgery, serving as an expert in the Novalis Certified Program. A champion of quality education in science, he is Vice President of the Board of Directors of the Commission on Accreditation of Medical Physics Educational Programs (CAMPEP) and serves on the board of the Discovery Centre.

Friday May 10, 2019

Closing Keynote


Cultivating Resilience & Critical Thinking in an Increasingly Polarized World

In this keynote, Dr. Shawna Pandya draws on her experiences in medicine, surgery, space, aviation and martial arts to talk about pushing the limits and to disseminate lessons learned when it comes to building bridges and fostering dialogue, whether talking about high-risk/high-reward situations, or everyday settings. Central themes include cultivating resilience in the face of adversity; fostering critical, nuanced thinking in a world that increasingly thinks in '1s' and '0s;' and the importance of emotional intelligence - and why it matters.

Dr. Shawna Pandya
Physician Surgeon & Citizen Scientist-Astronaut Candidate

Dr. Shawna Pandya is a citizen-scientist astronaut candidate with Project PoSSUM, physician-surgeon, speaker, martial artist, advanced diver, skydiver and pilot-in-training. She holds degrees in neuroscience, space, entrepreneurship and medicine, and is currently completing concurrent fellowships in Wilderness Medicine and Enhanced Surgical Skills.

In her spare time, Dr. Pandya practices Taekwondo (as a second-degree black belt) and Muay Thai. She is currently working towards her private pilot’s license and holds her accelerated free fall solo skydiving and numerous SCUBA diving certifications. Dr. Pandya also sings and plays the piano.

Thank you to our sponsors!

We are grateful to all CASC 2019 sponsors and thankful for their ongoing support.