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Applied Research Project Showcase

Recent Projects

Wellesley Therapeutics Inc.

Non-organic Solvent Method of Extracting N-Acetyl Glucosamine from a Fermentation Broth

Funder: The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) through the Engage for Colleges program.

Wellesley Therapeutics Inc., is a Toronto-based pharmaceutical company, currently marketing two GlcNAc (GlcNAc) containing products under the trade name Ultimate Glucosamine®; and Villicote®. Wellesley's current purification process for GlcNAc requires the use of a multistep, organic solvent based, extraction and precipitation methodology. This method is costly, has negative effects on the environment and has safety concerns - expensive explosion proof processing is required. Wellesley is collaborating with Seneca's School of Biological Sciences and Applied Chemistry (BSAC) to adopt a new green chemistry approach to product recovery and purification. This approach will incorporate the physical solubility properties of GlcNAc to eliminate the need for organic solvent associated precipitation. Wellesley is engaged in the clinical development of GlcNAc for multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy and Parkinson's disease. Claims for the treatment of these indications will require Wellesley to file a new drug application, requiring a detailed description of physical and chemical manufacturing processes and controls for production. The experimental work carried out at Seneca will translate to inform a detailed description and rationale for the intended commercial production methods to meet the new drug application requirements.

 

Alteeve

Development of Alteeve ScanCoreAI Decision Engine

Funder: The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) through the Industrial Research Chairs for Colleges (IRCC) and the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) through the College Voucher for Technology Adoption (CVTA) program.

Alteeve is a Toronto-based developer of high-availability clusters for enterprise computing. Their Anvil! Platform, driven by their Intelligent Availability software, is designed to operate autonomously providing complete redundancy and fault-tolerance that can survive single hardware failure without interruption, achieving >99.9999% of historical uptime across all of its deployments. Alteeve has partnered with Seneca to develop an AI-based version of the Anvils decision engine, ScanCore. The current decision engine uses hardcoded heuristic algorithms to determine the best course of action in order to keep the system up and running. The downside of such approach is that it may not be able to effectively deal with scenarios when a sequence of, never seen before, rare events occurs. In order to provide a solution to this type of situations, Alteeve decided to engage Professor Chris Tyler and Dr. Allan Randall to collaborate on development of the ScanCoreAI. In this project the Seneca team will use Anvil's SimEngine, a simulation software developed by Professor Tyler's team in the previous Alteeve-Seneca collaboration. It will be used to simulate behaviour of the system under various conditions, to generate massive amounts of data. Subsequently this dataset will be used to develop Machine Learning algorithms for the ScanCoreAI. Once the project is completed, it will provide Alteeve with a robust improvement for their high-availability Anvil! Platform.

 

Ample Organics

AI/ Deep Learning to support marketing and sales information systems related to liquor

Funder: Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) through the College Voucher for Technology Adoption (CVTA) program.

Ample Organics is the leading cannabis software technology provider in Canada, dedicated to assisting licensed cannabis producers in their tracking of cannabis from seed-to-sale. In 2018, the company acquired Last Call Analytics, a retail data visualization platform designed to service the beverage alcohol industry. With this acquisition, Ample Organics is expanding to support liquor producers and distributors, as there is an opportunity to improve the sales of products by understanding their placement on store shelves. Ample Organics is currently collaborating with Seneca to develop a deep learning solution to support marketing and sales information systems regarding liquor. This applied research will utilize a computer vision system that will analyze a series of photos of liquor store shelves with a wide range of liquor bottles. The vision system will extract the count and identity of bottles on the shelves, to provide information on their shelf location and their neighbouring products, and to supplement the metadata in the photos of geolocation, time, and date. This is Seneca's second project with Ample Organics, which will engage Professor Mark Buchner from the School of Information and Computer Technology as Principal Investigator to lead a group of student Research Assistants to use their expertise to solve this challenge. It is expected that many pictures of liquor store shelves will be taken to generate an algorithm capable of choosing and separating, counting and identifying, the liquor/wine bottles on the shelves from each other. For Ample Organics, this business opportunity to support the liquor distribution industry represents a pivotal step to broaden their goals as a company.

 

Projects

 
Project Name Funder Details
Development of best-practices and outlook in risk-management/compliance frameworks for improving employee relocation outcome The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and OCE in a combined Engage/ VIP1 grant. The Canadian Employee Relocation Council (CERC) is Canada’s leading authority on employee relocation. Established in 1982, CERC is a membership organization whose goal is to provide leadership, services and assistance to members enabling them to effectively serve relocated families by addressing issues that impact workforce mobility both domestically and internationally. CERC is collaborating with Seneca researchers to develop global mobility, risk-control frameworks. The result will be a series of recommendations, best-practices, and information resources which CERC can provide to its members, enabling its member companies to develop internal, risk-control frameworks for moving employees between countries. Seneca will draw on the expertise of student Research Assistants in Seneca’s School of Leadership and Human Resources under the guidance of Professor Cal Barber to understand existing global mobility and risk-control frameworks. This information will then be used to develop resources around the wide variety of regulatory hurdles associated with global mobility, such as tax, immigration, data privacy, and country-specific employment regulations, and identify upcoming trends in these regulatory areas. CERC will utilize the results to assist its members in developing compliance-oriented, risk-control frameworks to reduce the complexity of employee relocation and avoid unnecessary penalties associated with non-compliance.
Development of an algorithm for cash flow optimization The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Toronto-based Pungle Inc., enables its customers to deliver real-time electronic, business payments. This applied research collaboration with Seneca will develop a cash-flow optimization service for Pungle users. This new service, which will be seamlessly integrated into the Pungle platform, will utilize user-specific transactional data to predict the optimal discounts required to ensure timely invoice payments. By integrating this value-added feature, Pungle will increase customer retention and provide a competitive advantage over other real-time payment businesses. Pungle will engage with Professor Ramy Taraboulsi, supported by two Research Assistants from Seneca's School of School of Accounting and Financial Services and two from our School of Information and Communications Technology. The developed software will enhance Pungle's ability to capture the Canadian marketplace, helping SMEs to improve their businesses and better control cash flows. The resulting growth of the company will lead to dozens of new software development and financial services jobs in the next three to five years.
Life insurance industry national compliance regulatory requirements and analysis of future direction for integration with compliance tracking platform The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) VigilantCS is a provider of intelligent, cloud-based, staff-conduct risk platforms for the financial securities industry. Their software solutions lower compliance-related costs by providing best practices, tracking current issues, and mitigating future challenges. Their product, the VCSOpen Staff Compliance Platform provides the industry with comprehensive functionality to manage the compliance needs of registered securities staff through a single, staff-facing portal. VigilantCS has identified the life insurance industry as their next target market, as compliance oversight provides significant opportunity to improve operational efficiency, lower costs, and reduce risk. VigilantCS is collaborating with Rohan Singh, Professor in the School of Accounting and Financial Services and student Research Assistants to research the life insurance industry regulatory environment, assess current and future needs and concern, create validated use-cases for a variety of users, and map regulatory information and risks to each case. The outputs from the project are the best practices and future outlook for regulations and compliance in the life insurance industry and will enable VigilantCS to access new markets for their VCSOpen product.
 
Project Name Funder Details
User experience (UX) and user interface (UI) design for complex legal search engine Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). Loom Analytics is a Toronto based legal-tech company. Loom has built a SaaS legal analytics system that provides a graphical and tabular representation of data embedded in court decisions. Loom’s system is a data-driven legal research assistant that finds, classifies, and sorts case law for you, making the process of case law research smarter, faster, and more robust. Using a combination of legal analysis and machine learning, Loom provides hard numbers on case law: win/loss rates, judge ruling histories, litigation trends over time. Through this project, Loom Analysis will collaborate with Sean Guadron and student research assistants from Seneca’s School Creative Arts and Animation (CAA) to simplify Loom’s complex legal search engine, while improving and maintaining its advanced features. Implementation of a new user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) design, based on client/user feedback, will make it more intuitive and user friendly, something demanded by its current and potential customers.
Project Name Funder Details
Development of a Turn-Key Solution Monitoring of Drinking Waters for Genotoxicity (Genetic Toxicity) The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) 

EBPI is a world leader in the development and application of bacterial based assays for the detection of toxicity, genotoxicity and mutagenicity (Biotoxicity.com) based out of Burlington Ontario. EBPI’s bacterial based genetic toxicity assays have been used to identify environmental concerns from the bottom of our oceans (Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill), land (soil and water studies), air (air particulate studies) and into outer space (mutagenicity testing on the International Space Station). EBPI kits and services are designed to measure “mixture effects” on biological response systems which current analytical techniques are unable to measure. EBPI currently sells their products and services globally to academic institutions, government regulators and private industry. The objective of this collaboration with Seneca is to design, build and test a functional prototype of a "turn-key" system to adjust pH prior to sample loading onto SPE filter systems allowing researchers and regulators a turn-key solution for measuring genetic toxicity effects of both drinking waters and waste-waters. Professor Kyle Valdock will lead the project, supported by a student Research Assistant (RA) from Seneca's School of Electronics and Mechanical Engineering Technology (SEMET). The RA will apply theoretical knowledge and skills, while developing hands on experience in the development and optimization of process control for water treatment. A complete system for high-flow water testing will allow for a better picture of complete water samples as the system will allow collection over a period of time (up to 48 hours) versus current "grab sample" techniques, which only provide a snapshot. If successful, the system resulting from this research project will allow municipalities an easy to implement solution to monitoring drinking water and will help to assist in EBPI’s Canadian exports help support Canada's reputation in the drinking water technology field and provide jobs in southern Ontario to manufacture systems and analyze concentrated drinking waters.

Eco-Friendly, Automatic Equine Water Trough System Seneca Applied Research Fund (ARF) Lenka Equestrian Centre (LEC) is a premier equestrian facility located in Campbellville, Ontario. LEC offers horseback riding lessons, coaching, boarding, training, and sales. A challenge faced by Lenka and other small-scale horse farms is that during the cold winters the drinking water provided to the horses in their troughs freezes quickly, preventing the animals from drinking. During some cold weather, the farm is required to replace the water in a large trough multiple times per day. Solutions such as floating heaters exist for preventing ice formation on the surface of the water, but these require electrical power available at the site of the water trough. Similar to other small-scale horse farms, LEC leases the land that the farm is located on, so providing plumbing or electricity at the paddock, which can often be hundreds of meters from the other buildings on the farm, is an unaffordable leasehold improvement. LEC is working in collaboration with Professor Agnieszka Stopka, part-time faculty at Seneca School of Electronics and Mechanical Engineering Technology (SEMET), to develop a working prototype of a standalone horse water trough that is powered by renewable energy and will prevent water from freezing in typical cold winter temperatures. This trough will utilize solar energy, insulation, and a circulation mechanism to ensure access to water year-round. While the farmers will still need to refill the trough, this prototype will remove the problem of water freezing, allowing the farm owners to operate their business and not focus on the delivery of water during the coldest weather. The design resulting from this project will be applicable not just to the many small-scale horse farms across Canada, but also to any similar-sized farms raising other animals as well.
 
Project Name Funder Details
WeShare Housing Preliminary Research Project Seneca Applied Research Fund (ARF) Neighbourlink North York was founded in 1994 in the Willowdale area of Toronto, to serve its residents. The primary motivation was the concern about the growing numbers of people, especially seniors, who were living in isolation and poverty. The NLNY mandate is to foster a support network that helps to build stronger communities and enrich the quality of life of its constituents. In order to achieve these goals, NeighbourLink North York offers many free, short-term, non-emergency services such as: at-home services, transportation, food security support, professional services and many more. One of the recent Neighbourlink initiatives is the WeShare Housing concept. WeShare Housing is a way to help home-owning seniors live in their homes longer by renting space to a single parent family for a reduced rate, in exchange for assistance with chores and companionship. The initiative seeks to bring seniors who need support to continue living in their homes, together with sole support mothers, who need an affordable place to live to provide companionship and practical support that is mutually beneficial. NeighbourLink is partnering with Professor Jane Haddad from Seneca’s Leadership and Human Resources program, to conduct a preliminary research into the feasibility and success factors of the WeShare Housing idea. The findings will be used to plan and execute the pilot project.
Mobile app for Lingo Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) system Centre for Aging and Brain Health Initiative at Baycrest Individuals with severe speech-language impairments due to: autism, global developmental delays, Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) or other neurodegenerative conditions, often need an Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) system to compensate for their challenges with communication. GTA-based Lingo Inc. has developed an AAC system designed to help non-verbal individuals communicate with others throughout their daily lives using a picture/written software system. The company has partnered with Professor Peter McIntyre from Seneca’s School of Information and Communication Technology, to develop a mobile app that will allow for quick word retrieval, ease of learning and progress tracking within the individual's circle of care. Once the app is developed it will be used for clinical testing of the AAC in which the Lingo team will collect data to demonstrate the clinical utility of the product.
Project Name Funder Details
Stabilization of Amplification Associated Enzymes & Reagents Associated with Point of Care Testing Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) Ottawa-based Evik Diagnostics provides complete design and development services for new diagnostic products, and continuously look to increase the products and services that they can offer. To this end, Evik has collaborated with Dr. Frank Merante and student research assistants from Seneca’s School of Biological Sciences and Applied Chemistry (BSAC) on further development of a custom excipient and excipient-blends to stabilize enzyme and reagents for rapid-point-of-source diagnostic testing. Current undertakings include research into the use of excipient stabilized nucleic acid thermostable amplification enzymes. This study greatly complements Evik’s primary business unit enabling the expansion of enzymes and associated reagents that can be provided as ready-to-use, room stable kit friendly products.
Helicobacter pylori Nucleic Acid Detection from Gastric Matrix – Clinical Diagnostics Primer Set Development and Optimization Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) Spartan Bioscience Inc. in Ottawa Ontario is a leading biotechnology company, which develops point-of-care medical device platform and associated molecular tests for DNA-based diagnostics including pharmacogenomics and infectious disease tests. Spartan is collaborating with Dr. Frank Merante and research assistants from Seneca’s School of Biological Science and Applied Chemistry to design an accurate, sensitive and fast method to detect the presence of Helicobacter pylori using state-of-the art bioinformatics derived design and testing using molecular tools. H. pylori is associated with gastrointestinal diseases, such as chronic active gastritis, peptic ulcer and often, most importantly gastric adenocarcinoma. Commonly, non-specific tests of low clinical specificity are utilized, such as the presence of urease activity in the gastric tract, or highly invasive testing using gastric mucosa biopsy. A rapid, accurate, non-invasive, immediately deployable molecular test enables clinically actionable results and treatment while the patient is at the physician’s office or testing facility.
The Investigation of the Effectiveness of RealAtoms Model Kits Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) RealAtoms, an Etobicoke-based company, has produced the first and only molecular model kit designed to accurately demonstrate chemical reactions. RealAtoms’ models use magnets, allowing users to seamlessly change the models’ structures and geometries without having to pull apart balls and sticks. This model mimics the way molecules behave in real life, preventing common misconceptions perpetuated by conventional molecular models. RealAtoms is collaborating with Dr. Lesley Rutledge and student researcher Vimanda Chow from Seneca’s School of Biological Science and Applied Chemistry to research the benefits the molecular model kits play in improving students’ understanding of chemical structures and reactions. The results of this study will measure the effectiveness of RealAtoms’ model kits against other commercially available kits; and will ultimately be used to make design improvements to the models, improve the instruction guide that teaches students how to use the product, and optimize RealAtoms’ marketing strategy.
Custom Cosmeceutical Formulation Exhibiting Anti-Aging and UV Protective Properties Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) Starlight MedSpa, a Vaughan, Ontario based company, is a medical spa specializing in permanent hair removal and fostering efficacious skincare. Starlight is collaborating with Dr. Frank Merante and student research assistants from Seneca’s School of Biological Science and Applied Chemistry to develop an efficacious custom cosmeceutical formulation, enabling Starlight to fulfill an unmeet need in their product pipeline and proprietary menu offering. The main properties of the product formulation are protection from damaging UV light, readily utilizable antioxidants, and potent anti-aging, skin repair components. While many cosmeceutical compositions provide one level of efficacy, the blended formulation resulting from this collaboration will provide a broad range of desirable effects and components in a single composition enabling Starlight to expand their menu offering and increase their marketplace competiveness.
Discovery of best stabilizing agents for lyophilized enzyme and antibody reagents in long-term room temperature storage conditions Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). Ottawa-based Evik Diagnostics manufactures lyophilized/freeze-dried reagents for a large US environmental testing company. They are now ramping up pilot manufacturing to support entry to other export markets, including Canada. Through this project, Evik will collaborate with Dr. Frank Merante and student research assistants from Seneca’s School of Biological Sciences and Applied Chemistry (BSAC) to develop of a point-of-use immunoassay employing reagents with an extended shelf life at room temperature that will complement the existing Evik product pipeline. The research focus will be on investigating novel ways to create prolonged stability through the introduction of excipients to the base reagents, and will concurrently provide the opportunity to enhance enzymatic activity and associated assay performance.
A non-invasive Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) molecular diagnostic procedure to detect Helicobacter Pylori Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Spartan Bioscience is a leading biotechnology company located in Ottawa, ON, which develops point-of-care medical device platforms for DNA diagnostics. Through this collaboration with Dr. Frank Merante from Seneca’s School of Biological Sciences and Applied Chemistry, Spartan will expand their product offering to include a non-invasive test for H. Pylori, the cause of 60% of all stomach cancers, and the third leading cause of cancer death in China. Spartan will sell this new diagnostic test into China, opening up a new international market for the company.
Development and optimization of downstream process for recovery of natural aldehydes from fermentation median The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Ardra Inc. is a biotechnology company that manufactures high-purity, non-toxic, natural ingredients, which are suitable for use in natural flavours, perfumery and cosmetics formulations. Ardra's products, produced using fermentation of natural sugars, offer significant cost and sustainability advantages over traditional plant-based extractions. Additionally, since the products do not rely on botanical raw material, their supply is stable and devoid of seasonal variations. One of the challenges with fermentation-based production of natural ingredients is their isolation from the fermentation broth, and following purification to meet industry standards. To solve this challenge, Ardra is collaborating with Professors Jamie Cote and Barkev Keoshkerian, from Seneca’s School of Biological Sciences and Applied Chemistry (SBSAC). Along with their research assistants from SBSAC, Professors Cote and Keoshkerian have been working closely with Ardra to understand the existing purification process, and design and optimize new purification processeses that will further reduce production cost, and also provide a higher-purity product.. This resulting process will be directly adopted by Ardra, thereby providing immediate benefit to the company.
Alternative reagent formulations enhancing room temperature stability for high sensitivity/specificity immunoassays The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) ChipCare is a Toronto-based company developing a highly versatile point-of-care (POC) diagnostics platform which will enable an unparalleled sample-to-action workflow in the clinic. The analyzer utilizes a patented approach for analyte detection and can perform multiple key assay formats including cell surface markers, proteins and nucleic acids. ChipCare is collaborating with Dr. Frank Merante and research assistants from Seneca’s School of Biological Science and Applied Chemistry to optimize the performance and extend the shelf-life of key components contained within single-use microfluidic cartridges. Successful completion of this project will enable ChipCare to distribute their diagnostic tests without the need for refrigeration during shipping or storage, enabling physicians to easily implement true test-and-treat options for their patients, significantly enhancing the overall quality of care. The platform and assays ChipCare is developing will improve access to affordable diagnostics, benefitting urban, rural, and remote communities.
Immunodiagnostics and Microfluidics Point–of–Care Testing Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) ChipCare Corporation is currently developing a versatile diagnostic platform, comprising a benchtop device with interchangeable cartridges capable of running molecular diagnostics, immunoassays, and cell quantification assays for testing at the point-of-care. ChipCare is collaborating in this second project with Seneca under the guidance of Dr. Frank Merante and Professor Jim Cooper and research assistants from Seneca’s School of Biological Science and Applied Chemistry. The goal of the collaboration is to identify and source high-performance antibody conjugates, optimize on-cartridge performance, and incorporate novel mechanisms of blood processing in order to enhance the capabilities of ChipCare’s platform technology.
Development of Taq Stabilization Excipients and Bst DNA Polymerase Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) Evik Diagnostics Corp. www.evikdiagnostics.com, specializing in providing solution to room stabilized enzyme and reagents, wishes to capitalize and penetrate the progressively growing market demand for isothermal associated and polymerase chain reaction based diagnostic reagents. Evik is collaborating for a third time with Dr. Frank Merante and research assistants from Seneca’s School of Biological Science and Applied Chemistry to continue to develop and expand custom excipient and excipient-blends, enabling the diversification of enzymes and associated reagents that can be provided as ready-to-use, room stable kit friendly products. The molecular and associated diagnostics industry is poised to be one of the strongest growing sectors in the Point-of-Care (POC) markets. The continued development of excipient stabilized enzymes, reagents and kits, will be integral to the success of this industry. The availability of room temperature stable components, which includes enzymes, oligonucleotides, co-factors and buffer components will enable Evik to continue to be at the forefront of the industry as a result of its collaboration with Seneca.
Validation of Bioinformatically Guided Supplement Design Paradigm & In vitro Efficacy Testing via a Cultured Keratinocyte Stem Cell Culture Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) Mitronite, a Toronto based company, is a health science and sports nutrition supplement supplier. Their business strategy is based on the development of scientifically validated health supplements utilizing an evidence fostered development processes. Mitronite is collaborating with Dr. Frank Merante and research assistants from Seneca’s School of Biological Science and Applied Chemistry to formulate, validate and expand their current product menu of mitochondria targeted athletic support supplements. Mitronite, a Health Canada approved formulation (NPN 80070757 ) represents the flagship product whose performance claims were validated by a combination of in vivo (athlete studies) and in vitro (cultured muscle cells) procedures assessing mitochondrial performance, athletic performance and post-exercise recovery. Menu expansion products include Mitronite-PLUS formulations and two novel amino acid formulations for skin health and muscle augmentation derived from a tripartite collaboration among Faculty, Industry and Seneca’s Post-Graduate Bioinformatics Independent Group Project students.
Formulation of cosmetics incorporating GlycolastinTM as the active ingredient Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) and The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). Sussex Research Laboratories Inc. is a specialty chemicals company in Ottawa, Ontario with expertise in synthesis and characterization of carbohydrate-based systems and stable isotope-labeled molecules. Sussex recently discovered that their proprietary glycopeptide GlycolastinTM has anti-aging and anti-wrinkle properties; this presents an opportunity to expand into the cosmetics market. Sussex is collaborating with Professor Sharon Robertson and research assistants from the Cosmetics Science Graduate Certificate program to develop cosmetic formulations of an eye cream, face cream, and facial serum incorporating GlycolastinTM. These new formulations will enable Sussex to enter the cosmetics market and, through initial licensing deals, the company will be able to fund the development of further cosmeceutical actives and become an established brand in the cosmetics marketplace.
Production of a Recombinant Improved Bacillus stearothermophilus DNA Polymerase for DASL Isothermal Amplification Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Custom Biologics, an established developer of bioanalytical assays, has in-licensed a patented, isothermal, nucleic acid amplification and detection technology from GeneBio Systems Inc. The technology, known as DASL RAPID, is a rapid, sensitive and specific molecular test platform requiring the use of DNA polymerase enzymes. Custom Biologics is collaborating with Dr. Frank Merante and research assistants from Seneca’s School of Biological Science and Applied Chemistry to develop, utilizing protein engineering and recombinant expression technology, a more efficient Bacillus stearothermophilus (Bst) DNA polymerase, to replace the expensive, inefficient, generic enzyme currently used in Custom Biologic's DASL RAPID tests. The result will be an optimized technology platform, which will increase test speed, sensitivity and cost profile.
Non-organic Solvent Method of Extracting N-Acetyl Glucosamine from a Fermentation Broth The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) through the Engage for Colleges program. Wellesley Therapeutics Inc., is a Toronto-based pharmaceutical company, currently marketing two GlcNAc (GlcNAc) containing products under the trade name Ultimate Glucosamine® and Villicote®. Wellesley’s current purification process for GlcNAc requires the use of a multistep, organic solvent based, extraction and precipitation methodology. This method is costly, has negative effects on the environment and has safety concerns - expensive explosion proof processing is required. Wellesley is collaborating with Seneca’s School of Biological Sciences and Applied Chemistry (BSAC) to adopt a new green chemistry approach to product recovery and purification. This approach will incorporate the physical solubility properties of GlcNAc to eliminate the need for organic solvent associated precipitation. Wellesley is engaged in the clinical development of GlcNAc for multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy and Parkinson’s disease. Claims for the treatment of these indications will require Wellesley to file a new drug application, requiring a detailed description of physical and chemical manufacturing processes and controls for production. The experimental work carried out at Seneca will translate to inform a detailed description and rationale for the intended commercial production methods to meet the new drug application requirements.
Cosmetics redesigned for eyes that will not exacerbate ocular surface disease Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) Quenchology Cosmetics Inc. is a Canadian based cosmetics company that redesigns cosmetics with ocular surface health at the forefront. Quenchology sources raw material and manufactures their own products in house. Quenchology is collaborating with Professor Ivana Knezevic and research assistants from Seneca’s School of Biological Science and Applied Chemistry, specifically in the Cosmetics Science Grad Certificate program, to develop a mascara and liquid eyeliner, in black colour, which will be the start of thoughtful line of beautifying cosmetics and skincare with ocular surface health as the primary goal. The proof of concept products developed in this project will be the first in a larger line of makeup and skin care products planned by Quenchology Cosmetics.
Development of an effective and ecofriendly antimicrobial fabric using herbal nanoparticles The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Giftgowns, a Toronto, Ontario based company, manufactures and sells comfortable, stylized hospital gowns for consumers to bring with them to the hospital or give as a gift to friends or loved ones staying in the hospital. Giftgowns is collaborating with Dr. Siyam Subair and Professor Barkev Keoshkerian and research assistants from Seneca's School of Biological Sciences and Applied Chemistry (BSAC) to develop an antimicrobial fabric treatment using nanotechnology to encapsulate naturally sourced herbal extracts, or more specifically, nanoencapuslated essential oils (EO). The resulting product will be an environmentally conscientious, antimicrobial hospital gown, suited to medical environments that will make Giftgowns a market leader. Current competitors to Giftgowns do not carry products with antimicrobial properties.
Rapid Quality Control Test for the Presence of Glucoamylase The Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) Selene Biosystems Inc. (Selene) specializes in the design and manufacture of rapid lateral flow assays targeting diverse fields such as industrial bakeries, crop quality control, and medical diagnostics. Selene is collaborating with Professor Frank Merante and research assistants from Seneca’s School of Biological Sciences and Applied Chemistry to conduct research on a contaminating yeast in the brewing process that releases a highly undesirable enzyme capable of further fermenting the beer following packaging. The presence of this post-packaging fermentation can cause bottle or can rupture and/or produce an undesirable aftertaste in the finished product. The early detection of the contaminating yeast, via the detection of a specifically produced enzyme called glucoamylase is highly desirable by the brewing industry as contaminated pitching stocks of brewing yeasts can be identified early before they are used for large scale beer fermentation. Also important is the testing of finished products to ensure the absence of the glucoamylase enzyme contaminant. This will result in tight quality control procedures and ensure safety of finished products. The results from this project will result in a new test product for Selene, which fits into their existing set of diagnostic assay product offerings.
Project Name Funder Details
TeamWorks TAVI Project FedDev Health Ecosphere. Founded by Dr. Sylvain Plante, an interventional cardiologist at Southlake Regional Health Centre (Newmarket, Ontario), Inideo Inc. offers a suite of cardiac specific patient information flow and electronic medical records applications. The software has a significant impact on healthcare by enabling time and costs savings through workflow efficiency. In order to expand their product offering, Inideo and Southlake partnered with Professor Asma Paracha and student research assistants from Seneca’s School of Information and Communications Technology to develop new modules to handle patient information flow related to a novel surgical procedure: transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI). The project requires the research team to assess the workflow needs of TAVI procedures, adapt existing databases and create a useful web-interface and reporting system.
Increasing Accuracy of Text Extraction for a Single Category (Website Privacy Policy) of Legal Documents Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) Clausehound Inc. supplies business law training tools and curriculum to educational organizations including colleges, universities and startup services organizations. Clausehound's automations in contract drafting makes negotiation easier, and Clausehound collects "deal points" into inventory, to benefit deal negotiators on their current and future negotiations. Clausehound’s products are currently in-market and are generating revenues; however, improving the accuracy at which information is retrieved from their internally-developed legal knowledge repository, and routed to users for review and drafting, is crucial for the growth of their customer base. Building on a previous applied research project with Seneca, Clausehound is collaborating with Prof. Tanvir Alam to develop machine learning algorithms that will maximize the accuracy of text extraction and comparison from a single category of legal documents (website privacy policies) where a significant amount of data is available to train the algorithms.
Personalized real-time location-based service recommendation Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) Wazzio, established in 2013, is a technology company that has been offering value-added services to IT resellers that augment their product portfolios. In 2017, Wazzio identified an underserved market with high growth potential, spurring the development of the Rylli app platform, connecting customers to service providers. Launched in 2018, Rylli targets two audiences: service providers with immediate availability and busy people who need to access various services instantly. At its core is a realization that, very often, people need access specific service(s) immediately and do not want to — or cannot afford to — spend a lot of time researching potential providers only to discover that the provider’s next availability is weeks away. Since the key concept behind the app is on-demand access to services, Rylli’s core driver is a real-time recommendation engine that will present consumers with a list of relevant service providers who have availability at the time of search. Wazzio will engage with Dr. Mariam Daoud, from Seneca’s School of ICT, to develop customized data mining algorithms for this engine to enhance their existing platform. Seneca’s team will research various techniques to reveal individual and group patterns and purchasing tendencies, which in combination with other information will be used as a basis for generating accurate recommendations, specific for each consumer. Receiving meaningful, accurate service suggestions will have a significant, positive impact on Rylli consumers’ experience and perception of the app, leading subsequently to higher customer satisfaction, customer retention, positive app reviews, more subscribers and ultimately revenue growth for Wazzio.
Utilizing Machine Learning Techniques to Understand Connectivity and Usage Patterns for Improved Online Contact Search Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) The Networking Effect (TNE) is an all-in-one e-tool that supports connectivity and the building of business relationships. It lets individuals and organizations develop, grow and manage their business network quickly and easily. More than just a database of business cards, TNE’s goal is to go beyond traditional services such as LinkedIn with a much stronger focus on business, and even personal, interests and goals. TNE is collaborating with Dr. Allan Randall from Seneca’s School of Information and Communication Technology, who will utilize machine learning techniques and principles to add intelligence to the search capability of the existing TNE platform. This intelligence will drive better connections, and significantly differentiate TNE from other products on the market.
Improving online learning accessibility Ontario Centres of Excellence. Blindside Networks provides the BigBlueButton platform, an open source web conferencing system for distance education. Blindside has partnered with Seneca since 2011, to enhance their BigBlueButton platform. Blindside is collaborating with Professor Fardad Soleimanloo and his students from Seneca’s School of Information and Communication Technologies to ensure the HTML5 client for BigBlueButton meets the accessibility needs for all students. For example, a deaf student requires live captioning capabilities; a blind student requires all text is available to a screen reader. HTML5 support for mobile browsers is still emerging and is not fully adhering to the standards defined in Web Accessibility Initiative Accessible Rich Internet Applications (WAI-ARIA). The Seneca team is using its deep expertise in web technologies to develop a WAI-ARIA compliant HTML5 client for BigBlueButton.
Development of Human Body Measurement workflow for 3D Scanning System This project is funded by the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) through the College Voucher for Technology Adoption (CVTA) program, and by NSERC CCI-IRCC [Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, The College and Community Innovation and the Industrial Research Chairs for Colleges] grant. Perfitt Inc. is a Canadian company that is developing a photogrammetry system for fashion applications. Building upon previous research collaboration with Seneca, Perfitt aims to quickly and unobtrusively obtain a 3D model of a human subject using multiple cameras and photogrammetry techniques. The resulting model is then analyzed to obtain measurements for bespoke clothing production and off-the-shelf clothing size recommendations. Taking body measurements for bespoke garments is a complex task that requires a lot of skill and experience. Being able to translate that skill into the controlling software is critical to the market success of the proposed system. To solve this challenge, Perfitt turned to Seneca to leverage the expertise of Professors Philip Sparks (School of Fashion), and Chris Tyler (School of Software Development and Data Science), along with student Research Assistants: Tia McQuaid (School of Fashion), and Josue Quilon Barros (School of Software Development and Data Science). A group of over 20 subjects with different body shapes and skin tones, were recruited with the purpose to perform 3D body scanning and to take detailed traditional, hand measurements. The data obtained through this process was then used to develop algorithms taking digital measurements off the 3D model, and to calibrate them for accuracy. The incorporation of the automatic human body measurement capabilities into the 3D scanning system, is a significant step for Perfitt in its efforts to build a comprehensive solution for the fashion industry.
Transition from Angular 1 to Angular 7 platform for an Innovative Enterprise Software Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) Bitnobi is a privacy protected, data-sharing platform that allows a data provider to set the rules of engagement for end-user data queries. This enterprise software acts as an interface between a data provider and end-users in order to provide a more efficient way of interacting with data sources without giving raw data or making copies. In collaboration with Seneca’s School of Information Communications Technology, under the supervision of Dr. Mark Shtern, two senior year research assistants will transition, Bitnobi’s current interface is powered by Angular 1 to Angular 7. This transition will make it easier for the Bitnobi development team to use different user interface objects depending on the user application. Deliverables include: (a) mapping software code that pertains to each user interface object; (b) transition of Bitnobi’s interface from Angular 1 to Angular 7; and (c) documentation of each new javascript module.
Data flow analytics to improve quality of seed-to-sale cannabis tracking The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Ample Organics is a world-leading cannabis technology provider. Today, their seed to sale tracking and reporting software is available on four continents and is used by seventy percent of Canada’s cannabis licence holders. This comprehensive solution enables licence holders to meet regulatory requirements, tracking data about every gram produced. With continually evolving regulations, Ample Organics has identified a need for improved data collection and management. Through this collaboration, Ample Organics will understand what data is necessary to support the production of cannabis products. Seneca will facilitate this by evaluating data flow in place at cannabis facilities and recommending an optimized data collection procedure to be considered for Ample Organics’ new software modules. The results of this project will enable Ample Organics to build an advanced analytics product supporting licence holders’ quality control and reporting capabilities. Improving data collection at cannabis facilities requires identifying the differences between the current state of data collection and what Ample Organics’ current products support. The Seneca team will expand on what data can be collected at cannabis facilities by understanding which data is important to collect. The project will result in formal data flow diagrams describing the current status of collected data, the creation of an optimized cannabis tracking data process flow to track all required variables needed for quality control, and building a software demonstration to visualize the data structure.
Medical Diagnostic Data Ingestion Optimization The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) TeleMED Diagnostic Management Inc., founded in 2000, is a Toronto-based medical data management company that designs, builds and implements customized, electronic solutions for managing and sharing electrocardiogram (ECG) and other medical test data for the medical diagnostics industry. TeleMED’s solutions utilize cloud technology and feature leading-edge functionality for privacy protection, customized report generation and quality assurance monitoring. TeleMED's technology solutions have been commercially available for more than fifteen years, with their major customers being Canadian pathology laboratory networks. TeleMED’s ViTELflo platform provides labs and clinicians with a vendor and network agnostic single-platform management of data that streamlines operations with up to a 40% increase in productivity. TeleMED is collaborating with Professor Chris Tyler, NSERC Industrial Research Chair for Colleges (IRCC), and student Research Assistants from Seneca’s School of Information and Communications Technology to develop a validated ingestion tool for accepting a new file format of cardiology tests that will allow TeleMED to expand the services it offers its customers. Through the proposed collaborative applied research project, Seneca will develop new technology with TeleMED that will accept and convert all DICOM reports, from any medical diagnostic equipment, to a format that can be read and integrated into TeleMED's existing ViTELflo cardiology data management system. This project will enable TeleMED to continue to grow its business by adapting their software platform to accommodate the emerging DICOM medical diagnostics industry standard data file type, while maintaining a system that provides an efficient way for clinicians and their patients to access medical data.
Advancing Video Categorization Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE), and SOSCCIP. ubble, a Toronto-based media tech company, builds solutions for trustworthy digital video distribution and curation. The need for automation of video curation is prevalent, as video is quickly becoming the world’s dominant form of media consumption. Using a combination of algorithms and human curators, Vubble searches the internet to locate video content of interest to its users. Vubble has experienced significant year-over-year growth since incorporation, with an expanding customer base in the education and media spaces. Vubble is collaborating with Dr. Vida Movahedi and student research assistants from Seneca’s School of Information and Communications Technology to develop a machine-learning algorithm that will automatically output highly probable categories for videos. With this algorithm implemented into the Vubble workflow, they will be able to better address customer demand, while increasing their productivity and competitiveness.
AI/ Deep Learning to support marketing and sales information systems related to liquor Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) through the College Voucher for Technology Adoption (CVTA) program. Ample Organics is the leading cannabis software technology provider in Canada, dedicated to assisting licensed cannabis producers in their tracking of cannabis from seed-to-sale. In 2018, the company acquired Last Call Analytics, a retail data visualization platform designed to service the beverage alcohol industry. With this acquisition, Ample Organics is expanding to support liquor producers and distributors, as there is an opportunity to improve the sales of products by understanding their placement on store shelves. Ample Organics is currently collaborating with Seneca to develop a deep learning solution to support marketing and sales information systems regarding liquor. This applied research will utilize a computer vision system that will analyze a series of photos of liquor store shelves with a wide range of liquor bottles. The vision system will extract the count and identity of bottles on the shelves, to provide information on their shelf location and their neighbouring products, and to supplement the metadata in the photos of geolocation, time, and date. This is Seneca’s second project with Ample Organics, which will engage Professor Mark Buchner from the School of Information and Computer Technology as Principal Investigator to lead a group of student Research Assistants to use their expertise to solve this challenge. It is expected that many pictures of liquor store shelves will be taken to generate an algorithm capable of choosing and separating, counting and identifying, the liquor/wine bottles on the shelves from each other. For Ample Organics, this business opportunity to support the liquor distribution industry represents a pivotal step to broaden their goals as a company.
Cardiology laboratory test data-transfer system and clinician-validated viewing platform The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Founded in 2000, TeleMED Diagnostic Management Inc. is an Ontario-based medical data management company that designs, builds, and implements customized, electronic solutions for managing and sharing ECG and other vital-sign test data. TeleMED’s solutions utilize cloud technology and feature leading-edge functionality for privacy protection, customized report generation and quality assurance monitoring. TeleMED’s current solution, ViTELflo, for managing cardiology tests, is used by 70 percent of Canadian pathology laboratory networks and decreases clinician time by 15 minutes per test through short loading times, streamlined mark up and analysis, and report generation. Following on our previous collaboration funded by NSERC, TeleMED is working with Professor Catherine Leung and student Research Assistants from Seneca’s School of Information and Communications Technology to expand the types of tests that are compatible with ViTELflo to include image-based diagnostics. The challenge is not simply to develop an image-viewer, but to create an image viewer with tools and manipulators, annotation capabilities, and reporting tools that support the workflow of the clinician. With this primary goal in mind, the Seneca team will be developing and applying methods to reduce loading and latency times for very large file sizes, and examine the potential for tablet support to provide clinicians more flexibility in where and when they review diagnostic tests. With the ability to quickly and seamlessly load image- and non-image-based diagnostics data, TeleMED will be able to expand its client services, attract new clients, and provide clinicians with better and faster access to medical diagnostics data.
Development of Alteeve ScanCoreAI Decision Engine The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) through the Industrial Research Chairs for Colleges (IRCC) and the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) through the College Voucher for Technology Adoption (CVTA) program. Alteeve is a Toronto-based developer of high-availability clusters for enterprise computing. Their Anvil! Platform, driven by their Intelligent Availability software, is designed to operate autonomously providing complete redundancy and fault-tolerance that can survive single hardware failure without interruption, achieving >99.9999% of historical uptime across all of its deployments. Alteeve has partnered with Seneca to develop an AI-based version of the Anvil’s decision engine, ScanCore. The current decision engine uses hardcoded heuristic algorithms to determine the best course of action in order to keep the system up and running. The downside of such approach is that it may not be able to effectively deal with scenarios when a sequence of, never seen before, rare events occurs. In order to provide a solution to this type of situations, Alteeve decided to engage Professor Chris Tyler and Dr. Allan Randall to collaborate on development of the ScanCoreAI. In this project the Seneca team will use Anvil’s SimEngine, a simulation software developed by Professor Tyler’s team in the previous Alteeve-Seneca collaboration. It will be used to simulate behaviour of the system under various conditions, to generate massive amounts of data. Subsequently this dataset will be used to develop Machine Learning algorithms for the ScanCoreAI. Once the project is completed, it will provide Alteeve with a robust improvement for their high-availability Anvil! Platform.
Method of implementation of internet-of-things compatible blockchain for supply-chain application The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Agile Blockchain Corporation is Toronto-based company that provides management solutions to food and manufacturing supply chains to generate a connected marketplace in a globalized world. Their supply chain process will enable the consumers to track product information, such as its origins and journey. Users will get access to vital information, which will facilitate to the consumers to be able verify certifications and product labels that are displayed on retailer shelves. Agile Blockchain Corp. approached Seneca to understand, develop, and optimize the novel blockchain architecture to create a proof-of-concept implementation. Currently, Agile is working with Professor Tanvir Alam and two student Research Assistants of Seneca's School of Information Technology Administration & Security to develop a transparent supply chain solution and asset management software platform, with the purpose to optimize process and workflow to any segment of the supply chain. The advantage of Agile's solution is that it is built on blockchain technology to enable distributed ledger immutability and non-repudiation of transaction and tracking data. This new solution will allow Agile to get a new product into the market, as well as facilitate the commercialization process in Canada's supply chains for a high-data volume solution, bringing a high impact to the multi-billion-dollar blockchain technology market.

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