2022 Innovation Awards Recipients

Celebrating innovation and commercialization, and the U of A innovators who make it happen.


This week is Canadian Innovation Week, and the university was proud to recognize the occasion with the virtual Innovation Awards and Workshops event on May 17. 

After CEO and Co-Founder of Drugbank Michael Wilson kicked off the morning with a keynote, moderator Zach Storms from StartUp TNT hosted a panel discussion exploring Innovating at the U of A: Challenges and Successes. The panelists included Michael Wilson and the following entrepreneurs and leaders from our local innovation ecosystem: Jana Rieger (True Angle), Jason Acker (PanTHERA), Chris Micetich (imYEG) and Kristina Williams (Alberta Enterprise).

To take action on the inspiration, the discussion was followed by workshops on commercializing at the U of A (policies and processes), building industry partnerships, pitch coaching and spinoff business fundamentals. 

At the conclusion of the event, we recognized and celebrated U of A innovators and entrepreneurs who were granted a US patent with a commercial partner and/or created a spin-off company during 2021-2022, as well as student entrepreneurs who received eHUB and ICE awards. These Innovation Awards are one way of publicly recognizing how our faculty and students are helping to create and drive economic and social advancements through entrepreneurial and commercial activities.

On behalf of the Vice-President Research and Innovation and the university, I would like to congratulate all this year’s recipients, listed below.

Deborah James
Associate Vice President (Partnerships, Innovation, and Knowledge Mobilization)

Awards for US Patents 

U of A Spinoff Companies

Aurora Vaccines Inc.: Micahel Houghton
Aurora Vaccines is dedicated to developing a global hepatitis C virus (HCV) vaccine to prevent an estimated 1.5 million new HCV infections  every year around the world. They are developing both HCV protein-based vaccines and HCV RNA-based vaccines.

Decipher MedTech Inc.: Richard Fahlman
Technology to detect chronic autoimmune disorder myasthenia gravis (MG) with 99% accuracy. MG affects about 1 in 5,000 people, and is most often diagnosed in women under 40 and men over 50.

FireFly Imaging Solutions Inc.: Marko Van Der Baan, Zhenhua Li
FireFly Imaging Solutions offers geophysical services, specializing in software development for real-time monitoring of hydraulic fracturing treatments in unconventional oil and gas fields.

Jones Microwave Inc.: Thomas Jones
Technology enables high frequency and high power solid state switching with the speed and reliability needed for future mm-wave communication systems in telecommunications, satellite, and defense related industries.

MetabolomiX Inc.: Galina Durant, David Wishart, Jiamin Zheng, Lun Zhang, Rupasri Mandal
Formed by a team from the U of A Metabolomics Innovation Centre, the company is focused on the production and sales of kits that enable rapid sample testing for the chemical fingerprints resulting from metabolism.

Nanode Battery Technologies Ltd.: Bing Cao 
Building better batteries - High-performance nanostructured drop-in electrodes for lithium-ion and sodium-ion batteries. Nanode's single-step production process is low-cost and enables 50% higher energy density vs. current lithium-ion batteries. The technology Nanode is commercializing was created in Jillian Buriak’s lab.

Pulmvita Inc.: Andrew Martin, Cole Christianson, Tom Tsoumpas
Pulmvita Inc. is developing a new nasal interface to improve supplemental oxygen delivery. Supplemental oxygen is a common treatment for people with a pulmonary disease from pollution, nicotine addiction and/or genetic disorders. By developing this new device, the quality of life for many oxygen patients, respiratory therapists, and other medical staff will be improved. Also, the cost of oxygen therapy could be significantly reduced for healthcare providers or governments.

Q Boost Inc.: Sindhu Nair, Dana Allen, David Wishart, Prashanthi Kovur
Cost-effective, quality, trusted solutions for a compliant research environment. Q Boost helps any lab (private, industrial, academic) achieve the highest level of quality management via advice, software, training and material support

Solidified Inc.: Jeevan Nagendran, Jayan Nagendgran
Bioengineered/bioprosthetic heart valves that can be personalized to each patient, and address current technology limitations.

eHUB Student Awards

  • Dyan and Karyn Triffo Awards for Innovation: eevee, GaMA, Wound3
  • Rural eHUB Awards: AgoraWork, Elev Homes, Finance4Youth, JustCook Kitchens, Young Agrarians
  • Stanley Mah Entrepreneurship Awards: eClub, Enactus UAlberta 

ICE Program Student Awards

  • Ron and Deborah Triffo Awards for Innovation: Faro Gardens, Future Creators, InstaSerum, Octo-M