Third Age Learning, Burlington
Series 17: Winter 2020

My Road to Innovation
January 16 - March 5

Innovation is the development of new ideas or devices or processes. This Series will focus on innovators from a number of fields describing how they first embraced innovation and subsequently dealt with the opportunities and challenges they met along the development road.

Art Gallery of Burlington     (Map)

Series #17: Schedule

Note: Please respect fragrance sensitivities and refrain from wearing perfume. Thank you.
Third Age Learning Burlington reserves the right to substitute speakers as necessary.
Date Details
January 16th
Innovation is a Team Sport
Presented by:
Ty Shattuck

Chief Executive Officer, McMaster Innovation Park

Innovation is a team sport. But just as a hockey team can’t win with a roster comprised of all left-wingers, Hamilton’s innovation agenda will not succeed without bringing together the right mix of talent, skill, capability and passion. Building upon his career as an engineer turned entrepreneur turned investor and now turned ecosystem developer, Ty will talk about the remarkable transformation underway in Hamilton and how academia, public institutions and the private sector are collaborating to transform Hamilton into an innovation superpower and why we should all be ‘walking with a swagger.’

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January 23rd
Whistling for Innovation
Presented by:
Ron Foxcroft

Founder and CEO, Fox 40 International Inc.


  • Overcoming obstacles, adversity and criticism - in order to have the greatest success, you must tackle the greatest challenges. 
  • Discuss “perseverance” in detail.
  • Gain from Ron’s experience by learning how to succeed through innovation, leadership, team work and communication. 
  • Learn the techniques behind professional management; minimal amount of regulation and maximum amount of flexibility.

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January 30th
Cells as Drugs – the Next Frontier in Pharmaceuticals
Presented by:
Jonathan Bramson

McMaster Faculty of Health Sciences

Drugs based on human white blood cells are revolutionizing cancer treatment and curing patients of their cancer.  Dr. Bramson will discuss the science behind this exciting new avenue in pharmaceuticals and contemplate the future of this emerging field.

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February 6th
Don't Worry. Nothing is Under Control.
Presented by:
Trevor Copp

Artistic Director, Tottering Biped Theatre

This talk is a walk through one life as a performing artist growing up in Burlington. I am a professional actor, director, and mime - all lifestyles which have undergone tremendous innovation to continue to exist. I'll trace through my first job as a performer - working in the City of Burlington's buskering program at Spencer Smith Park as a street Mime - to being accepted into the ranks of Cirque de Soleil. We'll talk about success - what it could be and what it couldn't - and whatever else comes up.

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February 13th
Where Captain Nemo Got It Right and Wrong - Microbial Life in the Ancient Waters of the Deep Earth
Presented by:
Dr. Barbara Sherwood Lollar

University of Toronto, Department of Earth Sciences

From Jules Verne’s Captain Nemo, to Astronaut Mark Watney stranded on Mars, we remain fascinated by the theme of Exploration. Fact can be stranger than fiction however as we discover that even here on Earth, there are parts of the planet we have only begun to probe for new habitable domains and microbial ecosystems.

Today we will journey with explorers past, present and future as we descend into some of the places on Earth where life ekes out an existence far from the energy of sunlight. We will discuss microorganisms that draw their energy for life not from the sun but from the power of chemistry in the deep dark places of the Earth - in subsurface habitats ranging from the black smoker vents of the ocean’s hydrothermal fields, to deep fracture waters bubbling up 3 km below the surface of northern Canada and in the gold mines of South Africa. What does exploration of Earth’s subsurface habitats tell us about the search for habitability (and life) on Mars or on the moons of Saturn and Jupiter?

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February 20th
Neuroplasticity: How Nuroprosthesis for Reaching and Grasping can be Used to Overcome Paralysis
Presented by:
Milos Popovic

Director of KITE Research Institute, Toronto Rehabilitation Institute; Professor, Institute of Biomaterials & Biomedical Engineering, University of Toronto

In this lecture I will present neuroprosthesis for grasping, which does not belong to a typical
“garden variety” neuroprostheses that one can commonly find discussed in the literature.
In the literature, the neuroprostheses for grasping are used to replace and substitute function,
and patients are expected to depend on these devices their entire lives to reach and grasp objects.

This lecture will showcase a neuroprosthetic application, which is aimed at restoring
voluntary hand function after severe stroke and spinal cord injury, instead of making the users
depend on technology to perform reaching and grasping. In the lecture the results of two Phase II randomized control trial will be presented, which were pivotal for this technology to become a commercially viable product. The second part of the lecture will discuss 20+ years long journey from invention to commercialization, and  what were the challenges we had to face to develop MyndMove® product.

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February 27th
Generating High-Intensity, Ultrashort Optical Pulses
Presented by:
Dr. Donna Strickland

Professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Waterloo

With the invention of lasers, the intensity of a light wave was increased by orders of magnitude over what had been achieved with a light bulb or sunlight. This much higher intensity led to new phenomena being observed, such as violet light coming out when red light went into the material. After Gérard Mourou and I developed chirped pulse amplification, also known as CPA, the intensity again increased by more than a factor of 1,000 and it once again made new types of interactions possible between light and matter. We developed a laser that could deliver short pulses of light that knocked the electrons off their atoms. This new understanding of laser-matter interactions, led to the development of new machining techniques that are used in laser eye surgery or micromachining of glass used in cell phones.

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March 5th
“You Are Here: A Come From Away Story” - The Making of a Film
Presented by:
Moze Mossanen

Canadian independent writer, director andfilmmaker and producer

In 2016, during one of the most divisive and turbulent political campaigns in recent American history, a modest sized musical about a community in Newfoundland announced that it would open on Broadway.  On paper, a musical about what happened on a far-flung Canadian island on September 11, 2001, would hardly seem like a winning proposition.  But that’s exactly what happened - “Come From Away” became one of the most successful shows to open in New York in 2017.  Its message of kindness, compassion and generosity towards strangers was exactly what the world needed to hear during the corrosive political discourse that was taking place at that time.  It was also the inspiration behind making a successful feature documentary about the actual Newfoundlanders who inspired this theatrical landmark.  Moze Mossanen, the writer and director film, wanted to capture this extraordinary community and what actually happened there during the dramatic days following 9/11; the events of which led up to “Come From Away” and it’s electrifying opening on Broadway in March 2017.  The writer and director will also speak about the challenges faced when making the film as well as the documentary’s own remarkable journey when it was released in Canada and the United States. 

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