University of Calgary

Class Notes

Submitted by alumni on Sun, 11/06/2016 - 11:11.

Class Notes

Connect with fellow grads and discover who’s doing what, where.
by Ellis Choe

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Daniel Heng, BSc’00, MD’02, led a study that found men with metastatic testicular cancer who are disease-free two years after diagnosis and treatment have a 98 per cent cure rate. His research team collected data from 1,000 patients over a 12-year period. The findings are impacting medical guidelines around the world.

Lindsay McLaren, BSc’00, is a PhD student in the Cumming School of Medicine and O’Brien Institute for Public Health who led a study that showed tooth decay worsened after fluoride was removed from Calgary’s water supply. McLaren’s research compared the baby teeth of Grade 2 students in Calgary with those of their peers in Edmonton where water is still fluoridated.

Tony Truong, BSc’00, MD,’02, an assistant professor in the oncology and paediatrics departments at the Cumming School of Medicine and a member of the Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute, led a study showing nine out of 10 children reacted extremely well to stem cell transplants. The research is published in the January edition of the Journal Bone Marrow Transplantation.

Amanda Melin, BSc’03, MA’06, PhD’11, an assistant professor of biological anthropology at UCalgary, has debunked the myth that zebra stripes offer camouflaging protection against predators. Her findings were published on January 22, 2016, in the journal PLOS ONE.

Katrina Olson-Mottahed, BFA’04, launched the country’s first Canadian International Fashion Film Festival in Calgary last July. Olson-Mottahed wanted to present “a new way of seeing fashion” by featuring short-film productions of fashion at the Glenbow Museum during the two-day celebration.

William Mark Giles, MA’05, PhD’12, was a finalist in the First Novel Award for his book, Seep.

Narda Simpson, BEd’05, has grown her company, Oyaco, to be one of the largest baby product distributors in Canada. Founded in 2001, her high-quality infant, toddler and maternity products can be found at 600 independent retailers across the country, including Toys R Us, Chapters and Costco.

Ricardo Miranda, BA’06, MLA for Calgary-Cross, was sworn in in February 2016 as Alberta’s Tourism and Culture minister. The former refugee from Nicaragua is the first openly gay cabinet minister in the province’s history.

Roda Siad, BA’09, and her sister, Asha, daughters of former Somali refugees, wrote and directed a documentary, 19 Days, for the National Film Board of Canada. It follows refugee families from Burundi, Sudan and Syria as they experience their first 19 days in Canada. The film was streamed on World Refugee Day on June 20, 2016.

Shane Sinclair, PhD’09, assistant professor, Cancer Care Research Professorship, and Graham McCaffrey, PhD’12, associate dean of the Faculty of Nursing, spearheaded an interdisciplinary symposium called “Compassion Under Contemporary Conditions,” with a keynote address from Canadian author Margaret Atwood, on May 29, 2016.

Smart Insoles
By Deb Cummings

Earlier in the year, when CEO and co-founder of Orpyx Medical Technologies Dr. Breanne Everett, MD’09, MBA’13, got a call from the Governor General’s office, she assumed it was about her brother, Shawn, who had just won a Juno Award.

But the 32-year-old, who left a medical residency in plastic and reconstructive surgery at UCalgary to pursue an MBA, was wrong. The call was for her, informing the co-founder of a revolutionary sensor-based shoe insole aimed at improving blood flow for diabetics that she’d snagged one of six Governor General’s Innovation Awards.

“I was speechless,” says the 2014 Arch Awards Graduate of the Last Decade, over a breakfast burrito back in her hometown, Calgary. “In fact, the whole week that I spent with the other winners was surreal — like being in Alice in Wonderland.”

With three degrees behind you and a couple of years left to finish another in reconstructive surgery, do you wish you had altered your career path?

I am very happy with where I am today but if I could do it again I think I would have chosen engineering as my undergrad degree. My understanding of our business would be deeper and the way that I approach the world might be a little bit different if I had that background and not biochemistry.

You got married when you were working on your MBA in 2012, had your first son in 2014 and second son a year later, plus you launched a company in that period which makes you superhuman in our books. How do you manage?

With a lot of support. It’s all about balancing and managing the pressure to do more in every way — work more, be at home more. It’s hard.

Now that you’re a parent do you ever wonder how your parents raised such high- achievers — two physicians and an award-winning musician?

I do. They were remarkable in how they treated all three of us very differently. I was likely easy to raise because I was mainstream, wanted to do well in school and knew I wanted to go into medicine. My brother, however, was not strong academically and was a drummer growing up. My parents never discouraged him — if anything, they encouraged him to the point of being sort of ridiculous. We shared a wall and his drumset was on the other side of, basically, my bed. He would drum on a school night until midnight, while I would be trying to sleep. They always said they had to encourage him to do what he loved so there were no noise rules. That shows you the kind of parents there were. Shawn (her brother) attributes his recent win to how our parents raised us. It’s hard for parents to support risk-takers — I hope I can emulate that some day. U