The Story of a Student Entrepreneur: Turning PhD Research into an Investment Opportunity

A U of T doctoral candidate proves that you don’t have to wait until graduation to begin building your career. Please join us to learn how he successfully turned his doctoral research into an investment opportunity. Spinesonics Medical Inc. is a spin-off start-up from the University of Toronto which was founded by Amir. The company is devoted to providing a solution to the traditionally blind process of inserting screw implants during spinal surgeries. We are currently developing a navigation device, the PedicProbe™, consisting of a sensor on the end of a surgical toolkit which uses ultrasound technology to provide affordable, portable, and real-time visualization for screw insertion in the spine. For more info, please visit:www.spinesonicsmedical.com

BIOGRAPHY

amir_manbachiAmir Manbachi is a Bioengineer and PhD Candidate at the University of Toronto, where he also obtained his degrees in Engineering Science (0T8), as well as MASc in Biomedical Engineering (2010). While an undergraduate, he interned in Harvard Medical School which resulted in a number of scientific publications. He also carries the experience of international industrial internships. During summer 2012 he interned with Stryker Navigation’s R&D headquarter in Germany. Stryker is one of the top five global medical corporations designing, marketing and selling surgical navigation products. Over the past four years, he has been actively teaching Medical Imaging and mentoring Engineering students for which he made it to the 12 shortlisted candidates (of 192 nominated) for the UToronto’s TATP Teaching Excellence Award in 2013.

For his PhD thesis, he is focusing on design and fabrication of an image-guided surgical navigation. Consisting of a sensor on the end of a surgical drill kit, the device uses ultrasound technology to give surgeons a clearer picture during delicate operations where screws are inserted into the spine. The technology could prevent navigational errors and significantly reduce the rate of revision surgeries.

With the support of his advisors, Amir has been in charge of bringing a total Research & development funding of >$500,000 during 2013-14; from sources such as “Ontario Centres of Excellence”, “Connaught Innovation Awards”, “Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)”, “MaRS Innovation”, “Youth Employment Fund” and “Graduate Enterprise Internship” resources. In addition, Amir is the recipient of The Ontario Brain Institute 2013 Entrepreneurial Fellowship. Amir and his project have repeatedly appeared in the news articles within the Division of Engineering Science, Graduate School Newsletter, IBBME departmental front page and UofT News, as well as the OCE Discovery media attention, CTV News and The Canadian Press.

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