Richard Tyc and Mark Torchia Receive Governor General's Award

May 24, 2016
Author: Alexandra Paul

TWO local medical inventors were among six Canadians honoured Thursday at Rideau Hall in Ottawa as the inaugural winners of the Governor General’s Innovation Awards.

Dr. Mark Torchia and Richard Tyc started off buying chunks of meat in a Winnipeg supermarket to test an idea for a gizmo in their lab — now used during brain surgery in 35 medical centres across North America.

University of Manitoba alumni Torchia and Tyc were awarded for developing the NeuroBlate system.

NeuroBlate is a laser probe system that allows neurosurgeons to treat brain tumours and brain lesions in a minimally invasive technique that cuts down on post-operative complications and pares health-care costs.

"I’m delighted to present the first six Governor General’s Innovation Awards for groundbreaking work in a variety of spheres... the recipients of these awards are demonstrating the power of creativity and collaboration to build a smarter, more caring Canada and a better world," Gov. Gen. David Johnson said in a statement.

The ceremony was followed by a panel discussion on the challenges facing innovators as well as the dual importance of unlocking the entrepreneurial potential in Canada and pursuing a culture of inquiry.

Other winners were Ontario’s indigenous rights activist Christi Belcourt and Edmonton’s inventor Robert Burrell. His anti-bacterial, anti inflammatory dressing for wounds revolutionized treatment of burns. Jeff Dahn and his team pioneered groundbreaking technique in analytic chemistry. Calgary’s J. Breanne Everett co-founded a company for shoe insoles for diabetics. Quebec’s Kinova, a system of robotic arms, is designed to make industrial workplaces safer.
 

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NeuroBlate is a laser probe system that allows neurosurgeons to treat brain tumours and brain lesions in a minimally invasive technique that cuts down on post-operative complications and pares health-care costs