Left to right: Evan Norton, Abbott Ventures; Dr. Alex Butskiy, Otolaryngology; Barbara Grantham, VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation; Peter van der Velden, Lumira; and Dr. Aziz Ghahary, Burn & Wound Healing Lab.

Congrats to Drs. Ghahary and Butskiy for slaying dragons to win research grant!

Have you seen the show Dragon’s Den? Well, on April 7, four leading BC-based scientists and clinicians from VCH were shortlisted to compete in a similar contest called Lumira Capital’s “Innovator Challenge” with equally high stakes. This challenge was a chance to win an impressive $25,000 grant to support their research in helping improve patient care and outcomes.

Co-hosted by Lumira Capital and our VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation, this fun and exciting event was a unique opportunity to partner with some of Canada’s leading health care funders and venture capital professionals for a glimpse into the future of medical technology.

The event took place at the Eye Care Centre at VGH where each presenter had seven minutes to pitch their research to a panel of “dragons” and a live audience of VCH staff. Five judges were tasked with the difficult decision to select one lucky winner. Judges included Peter van der Velden and Dr. Brent Norton of Lumira; Evan Norton of Abbott Ventures; Dr. Chad Kim Sing, Medical Director and Head of the VGH Emergency Department; and Barbara Grantham, President and CEO of our VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation.

Competition was fierce and after much deliberation the judges chose two winners to split the $25,000 prize.

Congratulations go to:

  • First prize ($15,000) winner: Dr Aziz Ghahary for his work on developing the infection-fighting liquid skin substitute Meshfill.
  • Runner-up ($10,000): Dr Alex Butskiy, in collaboration with Drs. Anderson, Prisman and Shadgan, who presented the development and application of Near Infrared Spectroscopy (NIRS) for post-operative monitoring of transplanted free tissue.

Honorary mention and a special thank you to Drs. Chris Honey, Neurosurgery, and Scott Tebbutt, Respiratory, for participating in the challenge and sharing their innovative research.