2020 Speaker Bios


Dr. Dave Williams

Record-breaking Astronaut and President & CEO of Leap Biosystems Inc.

With a passion for healthcare and risk management, prior to entering the Canadian Space Agency’s program, Dr. Dave Williams worked as an emergency room doctor and later as director of emergency services at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto. Formerly the director for the McMaster Centre for Medical Robotics, where he led a team dedicated to developing innovative technologies to assist the development of local and remote patient care. In July 2011 Williams became President and Chief Executive Officer of Southlake Regional Health Centre. In June 2012 Williams was inducted into the Canadian Aviation Hall of Fame.

Williams is one of the NASA space program’s most accomplished astronauts, setting records in spacewalking. The veteran of two space shuttle missions has logged more than 687 hours in space, including three spacewalks, the highest number of spacewalks ever performed in a single mission. His work with NASA also continued on the ground when the space agency appointed him as director of the Space and Life Sciences Directorate, making Williams the first non-American to hold a senior management position.

Williams was most recently named President and CEO of Leap Biosystems Inc, a Halifax-based digital health company.


David Skok

Founder and Editor-in Chief of The Logic

David Skok is the founder and editor-in-chief of the The Logic, a subscription news outlet that provides in-depth reporting and analysis on the innovation economy in Canada and around the world. Before founding The Logic, David was the associate editor and head of editorial strategy at the Toronto Star. Previously, David served as the managing editor and vice-president of digital for the Boston Globe, where he led the 145-year-old organization’s newsroom and digital transformation. Prior to that, David was the director of digital for Global News, where he launched globalnews.ca, a national Canadian news site. David is a leading thinker on digital transformation in media and, alongside Harvard Business School professor Clayton M. Christensen, co-published “Breaking News,” a report that applies the lessons of disruptive innovation to the media industry. David is on the advisory board of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University, and has served as a juror for the Pulitzer Prizes in journalism. 


Jeff Karp

Professor of Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School

Dr. Jeff Karp has published over 125 peer-reviewed papers, with >18,000 citations, and has given over 300 invited lectures. He has over 100 issued or pending patents. Several technologies developed in his lab have led to multiple products currently in development or on the market and for the launch of six companies that have raised over $300 million in funding. His lab has been funded by he NIH, NFL, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, in addition to many companies and foundations.

Karp has received over 50 awards and honors. Boston Magazine recently recognized Karp as one of 11 Boston Doctors Making Medical Breakthroughs. His work has been selected by Popular Mechanic's as one of the Top 20 New Biotech Breakthroughs that Will Change Medicine. He gave a TEDMED talk on bioinspired medical innovation, and is a member of the their Editorial Advisory Board. He was a commencement speaker at the University of Toronto and gave a TEDx talk on Radical Simplicity. 

In addition he was selected as the Outstanding Faculty Undergraduate Mentor among all faculty at MIT and received the HST McMahon Mentoring award for being the top mentor of Harvard-MIT students. 

Topic: Tools for Accelerated Medical Innovation 


Gail Garland

President and CEO of the Ontario Bioscience Innovation Organization

Gail Garland is the founder and CEO of OBIO®, a not-for-profit, membership-based organization championing the development of an integrated health innovation economy for Ontario. Gail established OBIO in partnership with dozens of like-minded industry CEOs to advance the goal of making Ontario into a world-leading health innovation sector where health science companies will flourish, as well as a global leader in providing health technology products and services to the international marketplace.

Gail serves on the Board of Governors Carleton University; the Biotechnology Advisory Committee at Humber College; the Canadian Life Sciences Advisory Counsel for Springboard Enterprises; and the Advisory Board for the Centre for Bioengineering and Biotechnology, University of Waterloo.  Gail is the Industry Chair of the OBIO MPP Health Sciences Caucus and serves on the Conference Board of Canada’s Council for Value-Based Healthcare Canada. 

Gail holds a Chartered Director (CDir) designation in governance (McMaster), an MBA from the Rotman School of Management (University of Toronto), and a BSc. (Carleton University).  Gail is a recipient of the Arbor Award for Exceptional Volunteer Service to the University of Toronto and in 2017 she was named one of Carleton University’s seventy-five best graduates in celebration of the school’s 75th anniversary.