Conversations Confronting COVID-19: Innovation Pivots


Wednesday June 24, 2020
6:00 am - 7:00 am


Virtual Workshop
Event Category

On June 24, join us for the first event in the Conversations Confronting COVID-19 virtual series, where you’ll hear from researchers, students, and alumni, who have pivoted their research to come up with creative solutions to the pandemic.

In this event, you’ll learn about:

  • The Mechanical Ventilator Milano initiative, an international project aimed at developing a low-cost, easy-to-build ventilator to treat COVID-19. The project has gained international media attention, and the Canadian arm of the collaboration is being led by Queen’s Nobel Laureate, Dr. Arthur B. McDonald.
  • The Hand Sanitizer Initiative mobilized by Queen’s researchers and industry partners to support Kingston hospitals.
  • Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre's Spread Innovation Challenge that inspired 150 innovators across the globe to tackle pressing challenges caused by COVID-19.

Following the presentation, there will be time for a Q&A with our panelists.


Dr. Jim Banting, Assistant Vice-Principal (Partnerships and Innovation)

Dr. Jim Banting returned to Kingston in 2014, after working in the United States for 8 years, as President & CEO of PARTEQ Innovations – the technology transfer office for Queen’s. In 2017, Jim joined Queen’s as Assistant Vice-Principal (Partnerships and Innovation) as part of the formation of the Office of Partnerships and Innovation. His career began as a co-founder of a Queen’s spin-off company that was funded by venture capitalists. He served as the business development lead on the sale of the company to a U.S. pharmaceutical company. Dr. Banting graduated from Queen’s in 1993 with an Honours degree in Life Sciences. He went on to earn his doctorate in pharmacology at Queen’s in 1997.  


Dr. Tony Noble, Professor, Physics, Engineering Physics, and Astronomy, and Scientific Director, Arthur B. McDonald Canadian Astroparticle Physics Research Institute – MVM Ventilator Initiative 

Dr. Anthony Noble obtained a B.Sc. in Physics & Math from the University of New Brunswick, and an M.Sc. and Ph.D. (1990) in particle physics from the University of British Columbia.  At Queen’s University since 2002, he has been working with the astroparticle physics group to develop a world class research team focused on the activities at SNOLAB, including experiments aimed at detecting the mysterious dark matter that appears to dominate the matter budget of the Universe, but which has never been directly observed on Earth.  Dr. Noble is the Scientific Director of the McDonald Institute.  

 Ms. Emily Albright, PhD Candidate, Chemistry – Hand Sanitizer Initiative

Ms. Emily Albright is currently a member of the Queen’s chemistry department as a PhD candidate in Dr. Cathy Crudden’s group. She is originally from Burtts Corner - a small rural town in New Brunswick. Emily studied at the University of New Brunswick where she obtained a Bachelor of Science with Honours in medicinal chemistry and a Master of Science in organic chemistry under supervision of Dr. Sara Eisler. When she is not busy in the lab, she enjoys sewing and DIY projects as well as spending time outdoors!

Dr. Richard Oleschuk, Professor, Chemistry – Hand Sanitizer Initiative

Dr. Richard Oleschuk obtained his B.Sc.H. (1994) and Ph.D. (1998) from the Department of Chemistry at the University of Manitoba. His doctoral studies  involved researching both polymer-based extraction methods for metal complexes and membrane-based sample preparation methods for mass spectrometry.  Richard joined the Department of Chemistry at Queen’s University in 2000 where his research is focusing on droplet-based microfluidics and mass spectrometry. His group collaborates with a number of industrial and academic partners. Richard is currently Acting Head of the Chemistry Department. 

Ms. Lesley Sikapa, Participant in DDQIC Spread Innovation Challenge

Originally from Cameroon, Ms. Lesley Sikapa is an undergraduate student at the University of Toronto and a Mastercard Foundation Scholar. She is majoring in Global Health with an interest in structuring developmental processes which are accessible to all and reach target populations. Lesley and her two co-founders are developing their venture through this summer’s Spread Innovation Challenge program, an expanded offering of DDQIC’s Summer Institute, which is focused on entrepreneurial solutions to issues related to COVID-19. Lesley’s venture, SoapFor237, uses soap distribution to households as a means of providing accurate COVID-19 information to people living in Cameroon.