Two IBBME professors honoured with Leaders Circle Awards

Two professors from the University of Toronto’s Institute of Biomaterials & Biomedical Engineering (IBBME) have been recognized for their integral contributions to bringing a high-profile international meeting to Toronto.

On Tuesday, April 24, the Greater Toronto Hotel Association, Tourism Toronto and the Metro Toronto Convention Centre recognized Alex Mihailidis and Milos Popovic with Leaders Circle Awards for their successful bid to host RehabWeek 2019 in Toronto.

RehabWeek is a bi-annual event that brings together six different conferences in the field of rehabilitation technology to foster cross-disciplinary collaborations. It has been hosted in Zurich, Valencia and London previously, and Toronto will be its inaugural debut in North America.

“Our government applauds each of the Leaders Circle Ambassadors recognized,” said Daiene Vernile, Ontario’s Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport. “From the tourism industry to the academic arena, they represent Toronto to the world, and their achievements demonstrate Ontario’s incredible depth of talent, skill, and opportunity.”

In addition to his role as a U of T professor of occupational therapy and biomedical engineering, Mihailidis is also the Barbara G. Stymiest Research Chair in Rehabilitation Technology and a senior scientist at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute. His Intelligent Assistive Technology & Systems Lab uses artificial intelligence to create zero-effort technologies for people with disabilities and elder health care. Mihailidis is also the scientific director of AGE-WELL, a federally-funded national research and innovation network aimed at creating technologies and services to benefit older Canadians and their caregivers.

Popovic is a world-renowned researcher in the field of rehabilitation engineering. His work involves neuromodulation for the restoration of voluntary limb functions in persons with certain disabilities and neuroprostheses devices for rehabilitation. In 2017, Popovic co-led the successful launch of the CenteR for Advancing Neurotechnological Innovation to Application (CRANIA)—a $16.3-million initiative supported by the federal and provincial government that will enable University Health Network and U of T researchers to advance neuromodulation therapies to treat patients with diseases such as epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and spinal cord injury. Popovic was also appointed as the director of research for the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute earlier this year.“Congratulations to both Alex and Milos on this recognition. They are not only leaders in the field of rehabilitation engineering, but also great ambassadors for our city and country,” said Professor Warren Chan, director of IBBME. “I am also grateful for the international exposure that our students will receive at RehabWeek because of their efforts.”