Scientific program

Conference program is now live! 

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Meet our plenary speakers

Plenary presentation title: Facing Uncomfortable Truths and Driving Inclusive Excellence in Academic Scientific Research in Canada

Dr. Imogen R. Coe is a professor of Chemistry and Biology and founding dean  (2012-2018) of the Faculty of Science at Toronto Metropolitan University. She is also an affiliate scientist at St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto, where her research group studies drug transporters. In addition to being an academic scientist, Dr. Coe is one of Canada’s leading advocates for organizational change towards inclusive excellence in research, particularly in science and medicine. She runs a consulting company providing advice and training on inclusive excellence and has advised federal and national funding agencies on how to integrate equity, diversity and inclusion principles into diverse research cultures and is the inaugural NSERC Scholar-in-Residence. She has published widely on inclusive leadership, misogyny in science and the need for intentional policy around EDI-infused organizational culture. She is much in demand as a speaker and panelist, and has received numerous awards for her advocacy work, most recently, the 2022 Canadian Science Policy Centre Trailblazer (Policy for Science) Award. 

Plenary presentation title: Engineering Complex Tissues

Dr. Helen H. Lu’s research focuses on tissue interfaces, particularly how to reestablish the body’s natural synchrony between tissues – a hallmark of the musculoskeletal system and the nexus of human mobility. The body of fundamental knowledge she has uncovered regarding interfaces and interface scaffold design has provided blueprints for building organs-on-a-chip as well as total limb regeneration. Her group is also active in the design of composite biomaterials for orthopaedic and dental applications, with a particular interest in the mechanism of cell-matrix interactions and its application to multi-functional scaffold design. 

At Columbia, Prof. Lu is the Percy K. and Vida L. W. Hudson Professor of Biomedical Engineering, and Professor of Dental and Craniofacial Engineering (in Dental Medicine).  She is the Director of the Biomaterials and Interface Tissue Engineering Laboratory. She currently serves as the Senior Vice Dean for Faculty Affairs and Advancement as well as the Chair of Faculty Promotion and Tenure Committee at Columbia Engineering.  Prof. Lu has published over 100 original research articles and invited reviews in biomaterials and tissue engineering. The inventor and co-inventor of more than 30 patents and patent applications, her research has led to the formation of several start-ups for medical devices and sustainable textiles. Her many accolades include the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) and the Wallace Coulter Foundation Career Award. She is an elected Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering and a Fellow of Biomaterials Science and Engineering (FBSE). She was honored as a Provost Leadership Fellow and was also named a Provost’s Senior Faculty Teaching Scholar at Columbia.  Prof. Lu serves on the editorial board of leading journals of the fields, including the Journal of Biomedical Material Research A, Journal of Orthopaedic Research, Regenerative Biomaterials, Regenerative Engineering, Tissue Engineering, eLife (review editor) and Science Advances (Associated Editor).  Prof. Lu received her undergraduate and graduate degrees in bioengineering from the University of Pennsylvania.

Plenary presentation title: Tissue scaffolds – new thoughts on old materials? 

Dr. Serena Best is Professor of Materials Science, at the University of Cambridge and Fellow of St. John’s College. She co-directs the Cambridge Centre for Medical Materials (along with Professor Ruth Cameron). Her research interests encompass the production and characterisation of tissue engineering scaffolds for soft- and hard tissue repair, with particular focus on the development of functionalised collagen scaffolds for tissue regeneration, 3D printing of degradable polymers and composites and bioactive ceramics for bone repair.

She has published around 400 journal papers, books, book chapters and patents in the fields of biomaterials and skeletal repair.  Her main research interests focus on the development of functionalised collagen scaffolds for tissue regeneration and bioactive ceramics for bone repair.

She was President of the UK Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3) from Jan 2019 – Dec 2020 and Chair of the Executive Board (Jan 2021- Dec 2022). She is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (FREng). She is also a Fellow of Federation of Institutions for Biomaterials Science and Engineering (FBSE), the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (FAIMBE) and the European Academy of Sciences (FEURASC). She was awarded a CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in 2017 for services to Biomaterials Engineering.

Plenary presentation title: Oral Regenerative Medicine using innovative scaffolding technologies

Dr. William Giannobile was named the 11th Dean of the Harvard School of Dental Medicine in 2020. He is also a Professor in the Department of Oral Medicine, Infection and Immunity at Harvard. He previously served as the Najjar Endowed Professor of Dentistry and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry from 1998-2020. He received his DDS and MS in Oral Biology from the University of Missouri. He later received his Certificate in Periodontology and Doctor of Medical Sciences in Oral Biology from Harvard University. He completed postdoctoral training in Molecular Biology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School. He has served as a Visiting Professor at the University of Genoa Medical School Biotechnology Institute and the Eastman Dental Institute, University College London.


Dr. Giannobile’s continuously NIH-funded research program over the past 25 years has focused on Oral and Periodontal Regenerative Medicine, Tissue Engineering and Precision Medicine.  He currently serves as Co-Principal Investigator to the NIH/NIDCR-supported Michigan-Pittsburgh-Wyss Regenerative Medicine Resource Center. The goal of the center is to translate early stage dental, oral and craniofacial reconstructive technologies into clinical practice. He has produced over 300 manuscripts, textbook chapters, and patents focused on periodontology, regenerative medicine, and oral health research. He is the editor or co-editor of nine books focused on clinical, translational research, periodontology, and regenerative medicine. Dr. Giannobile recently completed a 10-year term as the Editor-in-Chief for the Journal of Dental Research, the official journal of the International Association for Dental Research. Dr. Giannobile has serves as a consultant to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for Dental Devices. He served as an Associate Editor for the NIDCR Report on Oral Health of the US in 2021.


Dr. Giannobile received the American Dental Association Norton Ross Award for Excellence in Clinical Research. He is also a recipient of the Distinguished Scientist Award from the Academy of Periodontology and most recently in 2022 the International Association for Dental Research. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Association for Dental Research, and the International and American Colleges of Dentists. He is a past president of the American Academy of Periodontology Foundation, and the Osteology Foundation. In addition to his administrative and teaching responsibilities, he practices periodontics and implant dentistry at the Harvard Dental Center in Cambridge, MA.

LUNCH AND LEARN WORKSHOPS (Registration Required)


How to Prepare Sound EDI Sections for Grant Applications

Facilitator: Dr. Emilio I. Alarcón


Efforts made in the last decades by equity seeking groups have put equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) at the forefront of research in Canada. However, for many it remains a challenge how to embed EDI principles in their research and training programs. In this short workshop, practical examples and general guidelines on how to effectively incorporate EDI in research and training programs will presented and discussed.


Diverse Career Opportunities in Academia:  The Common Threads

Facilitator: Dr. Kimberly Woodhouse


This informal workshop will focus on the diversity within the academic career and what experienced faculty members, administrators and entrepreneurs would consider key skills in managing the opportunities the academic career can present.  Participants should anticipate a workshop designed to maximize the opportunity to ask questions and participate in open discussions about different career paths.