Ontario Brain Institute Delivers Significant Boost to Ontario’s Neurotech Sector

2019 ONtrepreneur program winners the recipients of Canada’s single largest award for early-stage brain technology entrepreneurs

KITCHENER-WATERLOO, ON – As part of its 2019 NeuroTech Ontario Showcase, the Ontario Brain Institute (OBI) today introduced the 2019 ONtrepreneurs – recipients of Canada's single largest award for early-stage brain technology entrepreneurs.

Established in 2011, the ONtrepreneurs program provides successful candidates residing and operating in Ontario with an investment of $50,000 as well as 12 months of training opportunities, one-on-one mentorship and communications support in order to help launch or grow their neurotechnology initiatives.

The successful 2019 ONtrepreneurs are: Israel Gasperin – Zentrela, Joshua Lobo – Stabilo Medical, Zachary McMahon – LUCID, Maryam Nabavi – Village Technologies, Michael Philips – Vena Medical, and Alexander Theodorou – Ocutherapy.

“At OBI we take a great deal of pride in helping to take the innovative work that happens in the confines of a lab, and translating it into real life – ultimately better supporting individuals with brain disorders as well as their families and caregivers ,” said Dr. Tom Mikkelsen, President and Scientific Director at OBI. “We do this by funding talented people with good ideas and helping their ideas take root and succeed.”

Ontario ranks in the top five globally for science productivity and is home to over 800 neuroscientists – one of the highest concentrations of professionals in the world. The ONtrepreneurs program has played a key role in further advancing the province’s standing as a leader in neurotechnology.

"We are very grateful for the support that the Ontario Brain Institute is going to provide us through the 2019 ONtrepreneur program,” said Israel Gasperin, one of the 2019 ONtrepreneurs and President of Zentrela, an initiative that is currently developing an EEG-based test for cannabis impairment. “The ONtrepreneur program will contribute to our technology development and commercialization plan, allowing us to further develop our product which will help employers and law enforcers to improve safety in the workplace and on the roads. At the same, we expect that we can help them save millions of dollars lost in legal fees to cope with false accusation claims caused by saliva test limitations."

More information on the individual ONtrepreneur award recipients can be found online http://braininstitute.ca/meet-obis-2019-ontrepreneurs

2019 ONtrepreneurs:

Israel Gasperin Zentrela: is developing an EEG-based test for cannabis impairment that will benefit employers to improve safety in the workplace but, at the same time, avoid loss of millions of dollars in legal fees due to potential false accusations of cannabis impairment originated by current saliva test limitations.

Joshua Lobo Stabilo Medical: is developing a smart vest that allows stroke patients to exercise safely and properly in the absence of a therapist, drastically improving the rate and level of stroke recovery.

Zachary McMahon LUCID: curates and creates therapeutic music using biometrics and AI for people looking to reduce stress and anxiety, increase focus, and unlock their full potential.

Maryam Nabavi Village Technologies: is developing an AI-powered speech recognition platform to monitor brain development in infants.

Michael Philips Vena Medical: is providing physicians with the world's smallest camera capable of going inside veins and arteries to help physicians treat stroke.

Alexander Theodorou Ocutherapy: connects the dots in healthcare using virtual reality to bring together patient and practitioner to inspire, motivate, and personalize your recovery.

Please note that all the 2019 ONtrepreneurs are available for interviews. For interview requests or more information, contact:

Allison Garber

Ontario Brain Institute

(902) 221-5254


Fatima Khan

Ontario Brain Institute

Senior Lead, Communications



About the Ontario Brain Institute

The Ontario Brain Institute is a provincially funded, not-for-profit organization that accelerates discovery and innovation, benefiting both patients and the economy. Our collaborative ‘team science’ approach promotes brain research, commercialization and care by connecting researchers, clinicians, industry, patients, and their advocates to improve the lives of those living with brain disorders. Welcome to Brain Central. Visit www.braininstitute.ca for more information. Follow us on Twitter (@OntarioBrain).