Keynote Guest Speaker
- Mr. Rob Henderson (President and CEO, BioTalent Canada)
A focus on relationship-building and the fact that their work improves people’s lives is what drives Rob Henderson, President and CEO of BioTalent Canada; a national non-profit organization which ensures that Canada’s bio-economy has access to the skilled people it needs. BioTalent Canada’s footprint has expanded within the bio-economy, building one of Canada’s largest biotech networks: over 37 companies and associations, and injecting over $4 million in wage subsidy capital into the sector. BioTalent Canada’s initiatives to grow Canada’s biotech workforce were lauded in the 2016 edition of Scientific American Worldview. With over 20 years of human resources experience and a background in biology, Rob is a strong advocate of the importance of skills building to drive innovation. His motto is: “There’s no science without people.”
Guest Speakers for the Panel
- Dr. Victor Cheng (Senior Industry Development Officer – Clean Energy and Biorefining, Government of Alberta)
Dr. Victor Cheng is currently the Sr. Industry Development Officer – Clean Energy and Biorefining, for the Bio-Industrial Opportunities Section in Alberta Agriculture and Forestry. His interests include biomass, biofuels, biogas, renewable electricity, organic wastes, and wastewater. Working with industry, academia, funding agencies, and other government officials, he helps to drive commercialization of bioenergy, biomaterials and bio-based chemicals in Alberta. Prior to his role in the Government of Alberta, Dr. Cheng was part of the Biorefining Conversions Network at the University of Alberta where he helped foster academic-industrial collaborations focused on bioindustrial outcomes. He received his PhD in biochemistry from the University of Alberta in 2008.
- Ms. Kirsten Oates (Canadian and US Patent Agent, Parlee McLaws LLP)
Ms. Kirsten Oates is a registered patent agent, qualified to practice before the Canadian and United States Patent Offices, and before the World Intellectual Property Office through the provisions of the Patent Cooperation Treaty. Supported by her background in biological science, she handles the drafting and prosecution of patent applications in fields related to life sciences, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, agricultural and mechanical technologies. Ms. Oates works with clients in the private and public sectors, including universities, life sciences companies, and individual inventors. Prior to joining Parlee McLaws, Kirsten was active in a full service international law firm, gained experience in natural health product development at a Canadian biotechnology company, and carried out research in cellular biology.
- Dr. Conrad Siegers (Polymer Chemist, Celanese)
Dr. Conrad Siegers completed his university education at the University of Freiburg, Germany. While pursuing his Chemistry degree (Diplom Chemiker), he also spent one year at Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, as a participant in the Ontario-Baden-Wuerttemberg Exchange Program. For his Master’s and PhD theses, Dr. Siegers joined the Freiburg Materials Research Center (FMF) and Institute for Polymer Chemistry at the University of Freiburg. After completing his PhD degree in 2007, Dr. Siegers joined the lab of Prof. Mitch Winnik as a postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Chemistry, University of Toronto, Ontario. From 2010 to 2014, he worked as a Senior Research Scientist at LANXESS Inc. in London, Ontario. In 2015, he joined the Technology Management team at TEC Edmonton, the technology transfer office of the University of Alberta. In January 2017, Dr. Siegers joined Celanese EVA Performance Polymers as Polymer Chemist – Pharmaceutical. Dr. Siegers is passionate about development and adoption of new products in the market, and about fostering intercultural exchange.
- Dr. Zhendong Li (Quality Control Manager, Gilead Alberta)
Dr. Zhendong Li is currently working as a Quality Control Manager at Gilead Alberta. Gilead produces lifesaving pharmaceuticals for the treatment of HIV, Hepatitis B and C, and a variety of other common diseases and conditions. In his role as part of Quality Control, Dr. Li helps ensure that the pharmaceutical ingredients are of high purity, so that patient safety may be guaranteed. Before Gilead, Dr. Li completed his PhD with Professor Liang Li in the field of liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry, studying the chemical composition of blood and urine to extract information on human diseases.