Straddling the frontiers of engineering, biology and business management allows Professor Hanan Anis to shed new light on the human condition - literally.
Her research in photonics, the science of light, is accelerating the conception and commercialization of devices to improve medical imaging, diagnostics and treatment of conditions such as multiple sclerosis, heart disease and spinal cord injuries.
"These devices are designed to help medical professionals work better, faster and cheaper, with significant health benefits for Canadians," says Professor Anis, who received a 2008 Ontario Early Researcher Award for her work on high-resolution imaging that allows doctors to examine the behaviour of human tissue at the cellular level.
Anis, who joined the School of Information Technology and Engineering (SITE) following an impressive private sector career that included a stint as co-founder and chief technology officer of an optical networking company that raised more than $100 million in venture capital, says her priority is to help students take research from the laboratory to the marketplace.
"Students often graduate with a gap between how they see fundamental research and how they work in the marketplace. By sharing my knowledge and experience, I'm hoping to close that gap," says Anis, who teaches creativity and innovation and product development in addition to photonics related courses. "I stress the importance of taking an original idea and transforming it into something that has social or economic value for Canadians."
Professor Anis' applied research and teaching approach has helped SITE students to win numerous product commercialization awards.