The Ontario government is investing almost $1 million to help market a Ryerson University invention in a move that is expected to raise the university’s profile in the field of medicine.
The technological breakthrough is a surgical navigation device created by a team of graduate students led by Victor Yang, an associate professor at Ryerson’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and neurosurgeon at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. It allows surgeons to see what lies underneath a patient’s skin and tissues without making a single cut by generating detailed 3-D images on the patient’s skin.
The innovation has led to the creation of 7D Surgical, a spin-off company that the province is throwing its weight behind with an investment of $997,000 from the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario).
Yang says FedDev Ontario’s investment benefits graduate students by showing them that their research can be commercialized.
“This also has the possibility of increasing their job prospects,” he says, “which must be one of the biggest priorities for graduating students. It gives them a head start.”
7D Surgical’s device is designed for use in spinal fusion surgeries but it can also be used in other procedures, such as nose, throat, hip and plastic surgeries. It speeds up the process of surgeries by reducing the set-up time from approximately half an hour to just one minute.
Jennifer MacInnis, senior director of applied research and commercialization at Ryerson, said the province’s financial support elevates the university’s reputation in medical circles and that this is significant because Ryerson lacks a medical school.
“This investment has generated a lot of interest in the technology and research coming out of Ryerson,” MacInnis says. “In a number of years, this Ryerson-created technology is going to be in operating rooms.”
With files from Brittany Goldfield Rodrigues