ALUMNI SPEAKER SERIES "Engineering solutions to global health problems"

Tuesday, February 28, 2023 1:00 pm - 1:00 pm EST (GMT -05:00)


"Engineering solutions to global health problems"

The COVID-19 pandemic has made clear the important role technology will play in the future of health care. How can engineers, trained to solve the world’s most complex problems, use their potential to revolutionize health care into a more resilient, and more patient-centred system? ‘Physicianeers’ – medical or clinical professionals that are also trained engineers - represent an important group of leaders who are needed to drive health care forward while they work at the intersection of medicine and technology. They streamline processes, accelerate the development of technological devices to improve patient outcomes, and advance systems that increase access to care for all. Join this virtual session as experts in the med-tech field discuss how ‘physicianeers’ are transforming health-care systems around the globe. 

Remote video URL

Want to learn more? Here are resources to learn more about Canadian and global health problems and how engineers are addressing them:

Forbes two-part series of articles:

Research at the University of Waterloo:


Michael Scott (BASc '90, MASc '92)
Michael Scott, PhD
BASc 1990, Civil Engineering; MASc 1992, Civil Engineering
Head of 
Devices, Cell Therapy R&D
Novo Nordisk

Michael Scott is head of devices, cell therapy R&D at Novo Nordisk overseeing development of delivery technologies for cellular medicines. Therapeutic programs include development of novel treatments for chronic heart failure, Parkinson’s disease and insulin-requiring diabetes. 

Previously, he was senior vice president, product development at BlueRock Therapeutics responsible for assay development, clinical formulation development and medical device engineering for clinical programs including cellular treatments for Parkinson’s disease, heart failure and other intractable conditions, and led build-out of the Toronto team and facilities. While chief development officer at ViaCyte, Michael Scott was responsible for design, development and manufacturing of medical devices and combination products, supporting allowance of clinical trials for two products in each of Canada and the USA. 

Prior to focusing on cell therapies, he spent almost two decades developing cardiovascular medical devices including heart valves, annuloplasty devices, cannulae, blood pumps and related electronic and control systems.

Connect with Michael Scott on LinkedIn.


Armen Bakirtzian (BASc '08)
Armen Bakirtzian
BASc 2008, Mechatronics
Co-Founder and CEO
Intellijoint Surgical

Armen Bakirtzian is the co-founder and CEO of Intellijoint Surgical, a Kitchener based medical device company focusing on improving patient outcomes in joint replacement surgery. Intellijoint Surgical is a spinoff of an engineering design project Armen and his co-founders completed as part of their Bachelor degrees in mechatronics engineering at the University of Waterloo. Upon graduation, Armen completed his Masters in biomedical engineering from the University of Toronto. 

Intellijoint Surgical was then founded in 2010 to commercialize their technology, called intellijoint HIP™. Intellijoint Surgical now offers a suite of products to assist orthopedic surgeons and was awarded the #1 fastest growing tech company in Canada by Deloitte’s 2020 Technology Fast 50™ Companies List. Armen has been selected to represent Canada at G20 Young Entrepreneur Alliance Summits and further, he was awarded with a Future Entrepreneurial Leader of Canada (FuEL) award. Armen also spearheaded the creation of MIX, Medical Innovation Xchange, Canada’s first industry-led innovative hub dedicated to helping medtech companies scale within Canada. 

Connect with Armen Bakirtzian on LinkedIn.

Dr. Brian Courtney (BASc '97)
Dr. Brian Courtney
BASc 1997, Computer Engineering
Co-Founder and Chief Medical Officer, Conavi Medical

Cardiologist, Sunnybook Health Sciences Centre

Dr. Brian Courtney is an interventinal cardiologist at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto.

Dr. Courtney is a co-inventor on over 15 issued US patents and a co-author on 18 peer-reviewed publications. His clinical activities are focused on coronary interventions and acute cardiac care. His areas of research relate to minimally invasive imaging, medical device design and medical innovation.  

He is also the director of the cardiac catheterization rotation for cardiology residents at the Sunnybrook site for the University of Toronto.

Connect with Brian Courtney on LinkedIn.

Kris Shah (BASc '86)
Kris Shah
BASc 1986, Electrical Engineering

Baylis Medical Technologies

Kris Shah is the president of Baylis Medical Technologies, a leader in the development and commercialization of innovative medical devices in the fields of radiology and neurosurgery. Headquartered in Canada, the company also provides contract manufacturing services to some of the world's leading medical device companies.

Kris joined Baylis Medical Company in 1989 as a co-founder and served as president from 2015 until the company was acquired by Boston Scientific in 2022. Baylis Medical Company is a leading developer, manufacturer, and distributor of specialized medical devices for interventional cardiology. The company had previously divested its Interventional Pain Management business to Kimberly Clark (now Avanos) in 2009, and its Bone Tumor Ablation business (OsteoCool) to Medtronic in 2016. Kris also co-founded the consulting business OME Group in 1991, which was sold to Ernst and Young in 2011.

Kris is an active board member for AdvaMed Accel and Intellijoint Surgical. In the past he has served on the boards of Venture Lab, MEDEC, and the Business Advisory Committee of HTX and Conavi Medical. His list of accomplishments includes numerous patents, the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur Award for Healthcare in Quebec (2011) and the University of Waterloo Alumni Achievement Award (2014).

Kris has a BASc in electrical engineering from the University of Waterloo. He resides in Mississauga with his wife, Neelam, and their three daughters.

Connect with Kris Shah on LinkedIn.

Please note: This session will be recorded with permission of the speakers and moderator and will be posted to view on the Alumni Speaker Playlist on the Waterloo Engineering YouTube Channel after the live session. Viewers do not have permission to record the session.