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U of Alberta hosts third annual Falling Walls lab


This fall, for the third year in a row, the University of Alberta is hosting the Falling Walls lab. The competition gives researchers, innovators and entrepreneurs at U of A three minutes to present on an original idea or research. As stated on its website, it’s “a little TED Talks and a little Dragons’ Den.”

A jury made up of academics, media, government and industry leaders selects three finalists who will go on to the international Falling Walls lab and conference in Berlin on Nov. 8. There, they will compete among 100 finalists from institutions worldwide.

“In 2014, one of our finalists won second place in Berlin. We then had another second-place finish in 2015,” says Mara Simmonds, communications associate with the office of the vice-president, research at U of A. Ms. Simmonds is also U of A’s lead organizer for the event.

“It is a humbling experience,” says Lian Willetts, a U of A postdoc who won second place in Berlin in 2015. “You’re presenting with some of the top minds from around the world.” Dr. Willetts’ research is focused on developing a non-invasive blood test to determine if certain patients with prostate cancer have an aggressive form of the disease.

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