Robert Crawhall

Robert Crawhall is an innovation executive who has spent over 35 years building and leading some of Canada’s most successful innovation ecosystems. Through Innoxec Innovation Executive Services Robert works with companies and institutions to develop and implement successful innovation strategies. He sits on the Board of Directors of three not-for-profits and an aerospace manufacturer, he volunteers with the NSERC College and Community Innovation program, Ontario Engineering Competition for undergrads and the Ottawa Robotics Competition for Grade 5 though 11s. Robert’s principle focus is currently on artificial intelligence, cyber security and advanced manufacturing. Past roles include Director of Disruptive Technologies at Nortel, President of the National Capital Institute of Telecommunications, Executive Director of the Ontario Research Network in eCommerce and President of NanoQuébec He is a senior member of the IEEE and a Professional Engineer in the Province of Ontario. He holds a PhD in Electrical Engineering from the University of Ottawa as well as a Master’s Degree in Electrical and a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering, both from McGill.


Vincent Martin PhD. Concordia University

Vincent Martin is a Professor of Biology at Concordia University where he held the Canada Research Chair in Microbial Genomics and Engineering (2004-14) and currently holds the Concordia University Research Chair in Microbial Engineering and Synthetic Biology. In 2012 he established and is now Co-Director of the Concordia Centre for Applied Synthetic Biology and The Genome Foundry, a unique CFI-funded technology platform that aspires to accelerate the design-build-test cycle of biological engineering. Prof Martin earned his BSc in Microbiology from McGill University, his MSc in Environmental Biology from the University of Guelph and his PhD in Microbiology from the University of British Columbia. In 2014 he was elected to the Royal Society of Canada, College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists.


Bogumil J. Karas PhD. Western University

Dr. Karas is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biochemistry at Western University, London, ON, Canada and CEO at Designer Microbes Inc, London, ON, Canada. Dr. Karas received his Ph.D. degree in Biology (2010) from Western University where his research was focused on deciphering genetics of nitrogen-fixing root nodule symbiosis. Next, he worked at the Synthetic Biology and Bioenergy group at J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI) in La Jolla, CA, USA. At JCVI his work focused on developing technologies for cloning of whole natural or synthetic chromosomes as centromeric plasmids in yeast, where they can be manipulated using powerful yeast genetic tools and then transplanted inside microbial cells of the same or different species. Currently, Dr. Karas is developing novel genetic tools for eukaryotic algae: Phaeodactylum tricornutum and Thalassiosira pseudonana; soil bacterium Sinorhizobium meliloti; plants: Maize and Lotus japonicus


Andrew Hessel PhD. Humane Genomics Inc.

Andrew Hessel is the CEO of Humane Genomics Inc., a seed-stage company developing virus-based therapies for cancer, starting with dogs. He is a co-founder of the Genome Project-write, the international scientific effort working to engineer large genomes, including the human genome. From 2012-2017 Andrew was the Distinguished Researcher at Autodesk Life Sciences. He has been Singularity University faculty since 2009. His goal is to help people better understand and use living systems to meet the needs of society.


Kevin Madden PhD. SVP Platform Commercialization, Ginkgo Bioworks.

Dr. Madden is a 20-year veteran of the biotechnology industry, with expertise in the development and production of renewable fuels, specialty and fine chemicals, nutritional ingredients and pharmaceutical products. His role at Ginkgo is to align commercial and technical opportunities to build a scalable business in the chemical biotech and enzyme markets. Prior to Ginkgo, Kevin managed Joule Unlimited’s efforts to develop photosynthetic organisms and processes for manufacturing fuels from the inputs of sunlight, waste CO2 and non-potable water. Previously he was Chief Scientific Officer at Microbia, Inc. (now part of Royal DSM). Prior to Microbia, Dr. Madden was a postdoctoral fellow at Millennium Pharmaceuticals. Kevin holds a BA in Biology from the University of Pennsylvania and PhD in Biology from Yale University.


Leslie Mitchell PhD. NYU

Leslie Mitchell received her PhD from the University of Ottawa in Canada. She is currently a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Jef Boeke at NYU Langone Medical Center and co-founder of a biotech startup, Neochromosome, focused on new human therapies using synthetic chromosome technology.  She is interested in chromosome and genome engineering in both yeast and mammalian systems and has worked on all aspects of the international Synthetic Yeast Genome Project, Sc2.0, which aims to build a designer yeast genome from scratch.